Boom lift equipment operators face a myriad of safety issues both overhead and on the ground, as well as the challenge of conducting their work high in the air on somewhat small operating platforms. As a result, both equipment and personal safety challenges are elevated. Here are 8 basic safety tips for using boom lifts.
CLEAR BASE AND CIRCUMFERENCE
Make sure that the base and the entire circumference of the boom lift are clear of any person while the boom lift is in use. The circumference of the lift is often significant, and tools can easily fall from the platform and seriously hurt anyone who may be standing below. Keeping the entire area clear minimizes the risk of anyone being hit below by objects that may fall.
HIRE WELL-TRAINED OPERATORS
Hire employees who are properly trained to operate boom lifts and who maintain relevant safety certifications and knowledge. They can help keep yourself and your other employees safe while the boom lift is in use. Test them with assignments that demonstrate their operational knowledge of the lift.
ALWAYS WEAR HARNESS
Wearing a harness ensures the lanyard is fully secured to the bucket. While it may seem unlikely that an operator will fall out of the platform, even the slightest bump from another piece of equipment or object can throw an operator off-balance and put them at risk of falling.
KEEP UNDERWEIGHT LIMIT
Each boom lift has a specific weight capacity. It is important to identify and adhere to these restrictions. Going over this limit could potentially make the lift top-heavy and cause it to tip over. Check the operator’s weight on the lift as well as all tools and materials on the platform to ensure that the combined weight isn’t more than the recommended capacity.
DO NOT SIT ON EDGES
Climbing or sitting on the platform’s edge significantly increases one’s chances of falling off the platform and can result in serious injury. If something isn’t accessible, communicate with the boom lift operator to help get to a safe position in the platform where you can easily reach what is needed.
AVOID LIFTING UNDER WINDY CONDITIONS’
When a boom lift is extended very high, the wind can pose a substantial safety concern. If the wind is strong enough, it can knock a boom lift over completely. One should avoid using boom lifts in extremely windy conditions or in other adverse weather to avoid the risk of a boom lift potentially falling over.
TRY OPERATING ON A GROUND LEVEL
Ensuring the boom lift is being operated on even ground, and a stable base will help keep the operator and surrounding workers safe.
MOVE THE LIFT CORRECTLY
Moving a lift while extended creates risks for injury and should only be done when necessary and only if the manufacturer’s manual specifically condones it. Otherwise, one should lower the boom lift completely, move it and then extend where needed.