Aerial Lift Safety

Aerial lifts have replaced ladders and scaffolding on many job sites. Aerial lifts are vehicle-mounted devices that allow workers to perform work above the ground. Construction workers involved in aerial lift accidents could face falls, broken bones and death. Approximately 26 construction workers die each year from using aerial lifts.

Before operating an aerial lift:

  • First and foremost, only authorized and competently trained personnel should operate aerial lifts.
  • Operators should be trained on the model of the aerial lift they will be using.
  • Inspect the job site to look for obstacles you will have to maneuver around, such as:
  • Soft, unstable, or uneven, ground
  • Other equipment or workers
  • Overhead power lines
  • Pedestrians and vehicles
  • Inspect your fall arrest equipment before use. Fall arrest equipment must be a full body harness with appropriate sized lanyard. A body belt with appropriate sized lanyard must only be used as part of a fall restraint system.
  • The size of the lanyard should not allow the worker to come in contact with a lower surface.
  • Attach to the anchor point as soon as you enter the work basket.

Operating an aerial lift:


  • Keep your entire body inside the basket when maneuvering it near other structures.
  • Avoid hazards including pinch points and trapping your body between the lift and solid objects.
  • Always use 100% tie off procedures while working in the basket.
  • Always move the basket to another position rather than over reaching the handrails.
  • Keep the lift clear of electrical lines. Avoid obstructions; getting caught, hooked, or snared could cause the lift to tip over as it is moved or raised.
  • Always use the lift on sound stable surfaces and assure the breaks are set before elevating.
  • Assure a stable ground for outriggers when applicable.
  • A ssure the lift wheels are chocked when on an incline.
  • Always follow manufacturer’s restrictions and recommendations. This is especially important regarding wind speeds.
  • Wind Restrictions: 25 MPH = Swingstage, 30 MPH = Manlifts, 35 MPH = Lift Platform


  • Stand on the handrails to reach the work area.
  • Overload the lift. This can cause it to topple over.
  • Many lifts are rated ONLY for two (2) employees and 50lbs of material, tools and equipment.
  • Do not exceed the lift load rating by pulling up grout lines, concrete pump lines or other heavy weighted lines.
  • Work directly under the basket or close to the equipment - it could move at any time.
  • Move the lift while it is in an extended position (unless designed to do so by the manufacturer).
  • Work closer than 10 feet of any power lines.
  • Put a lateral load on the lift.
  • Use a ladder or step stools to extend the reach of the basket.
  • Attach the lanyard to a guard rail. Use an anchorage point only.
  • Operate any aerial lift if any of these components are defective until it is repaired by a qualified person.
  • Remove defective aerial lifts from service (tag out) until repairs are made.

Review Questions:

1. Only authorized and competently trained personnel should operate aerial lifts.

a) True

b) False 

2. The following inspections should be performed daily:

Site, Equipment, and Personal Protection Equipment (PPE)

a) True

b) False 

3. Which of the following affect the rated load?

a) Wind speed

b) Attachments added to basket

c) Getting basket caught on an obstruction

d) All of the above 

4. You can work closer than 10 feet to power lines.

a) True

b) False