How to Reduce Boom Lift Accidents
No matter what industry you work in—construction, utilities, oil and gas, or telecommunications to name a few—a boom lift helps you scale to challenging heights easily. But there’s no denying that consistently being lifted to those heights each day can pose some risks. While boom lift safety is better than it’s ever been thanks to innovative technologies and strict advanced training, injuries and deaths still occur. In fact, OSHA reports that more than 30 workers were killed in boom lift accidents from 2017 through the first half of 2018 from falls, lift tip-overs, and electric shock (non while working from a Bronto).
Many of these accidents could have been prevented with the correct safety measures in place. Here are a few safety tips that can help keep you and your workers safe from the risk of boom lift accidents.
Take Precautions when Operating
Even when workers are fully trained on how to maneuver a specific boom lift, there’s still a checklist of best practices to follow during each use that will greatly reduce the risk of accidents:
- Never exceed maximum weight capacity. Going over the limits of the weight capacity runs the risk of rendering the Bronto inoperable only allowing the operator to decent with no articulation. Ensure that the combined weight of the worker, tools, and materials in the platform never exceeds the maximum capacity. In most cases this weight capacity is 1200lbs.
- Colliding with objects or structures. This is not only an expensive mistake causing equipment downtime for repair, but it can render the boom lift inoperable stranding the worker in the air. Many boom lifts have visual and audible alarms built into the operating system in the basket or bucket
- Don’t operate the boom lift in bad weather or high winds. Inclement weather can pose a huge risk for workers on a boom lift, potentially causing them to lose balance and fall out of the basket. Each boom lift has a limit of how much wind it can withstand, so it’s critical to know how much wind your specific boom lift can handle and be on the ground before it strikes.
Give Lift Operators Advanced Training
Even if you or your workers have had years of experience working with heavy-duty construction site machinery, or self propelled aerials it doesn’t mean you’re automatically qualified to safely operate a boom lift. There’s also the fact that no two boom lifts are the same. That’s why it’s crucial to have a complete mastery—including rigorous training on safety and how to handle potential emergency situations—for the specific make and model of the boom lift your site will be using.
New training is essential anytime a new boom lift model is rented or purchased. In general, make sure all operators are trained and certified according to OSHA standards, and always retrain workers when certifications expire, or after an accident.
Keep the Area Near the Base of the Boom Lift Clear
It’s not just the workers in the basket who run the risk of injury. Accidents and even deaths can occur for workers standing below the boom lift, especially if a stray tool or material fall from the basket to the ground below. To greatly reduce risk to workers on the ground, make sure that when the boom lift is being operated, a wide zone beneath the lift is sectioned off to prevent personnel from inadvertently walking through this zone.
Wear Your Harness
Accidental falls are a common injury for boom lift operators. Whether it’s a strong wind or another object or structure a worker to lose their balance, it doesn’t take much to cause an accidental fall that can be fatal. That’s why it’s essential to always wear a safety harness and tie-off to the boom lift throughout the duration of the work, until both feet are back on the ground. Workers should also refrain from tying off to nearby structures, always remaining squarely in the bucket or basket to reduce the risk of an accident.
Here at Kardie Equipment, safety is the cornerstone of our business. That’s why we carry Bronto Skylifts, the safest lifts on the market today. These man lifts have passed elite safety standards and are time-tested over 50years in rigorous conditions to ensure your safety and protection—even in winds up to 31 mph! Each aerial work platform we rent, lease, sell, or maintain holds the highest safety ratings in the industry.
Need to rent, lease, or buy an AWP for your worksite? Contact us for more information—we’ll make sure that you and your workers safely scale to heights every time, for complete peace of mind on the worksite.