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Safe Operation of an Aerial Lift - MOSH

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An aerial lift is any vehicle-mounted device used to elevate personnel, including extendable boom platforms, articulating (jointed) boom platforms, vertical towers, and any combination of above. Many workers are injured or killed on aerial lifts each year. The major causes of fatalities are falls, electrocutions, and collapses or tip overs. Recently, two Maryland workers in one incident were ejected from an aerial lift platform falling to their death. These tragic accidents are preventable. This Bulletin provides safety tips on operating aerial lifts.

  • Ensure that workers who operate aerial lifts are properly trained in the safe use of the equipment.
  • Maintain and operate elevating work platforms in accordance with the manufacturer's instructions.
  • Never override hydraulic, mechanical, or electrical safety devices.
  • Never move the equipment with workers in an elevated platform unless this is permitted by the manufacturer.
  • Do not allow workers to position themselves between overhead hazards, such as joists and beams, and the rails of the basket. Movement of the lift could crush the worker(s).
  • Maintain a minimum clearance of at least 10 feet, or 3 meters, away from the nearest overhead lines.
  • Always treat power lines, wires and other conductors as energized, even if they are down or appear to be insulated.
  • Use a body harness or restraining belt with a lanyard attached to the boom or basket to prevent the worker(s) from being ejected or pulled from the basket.
  • Set the brakes, and use wheel chocks when on an incline.
  • Use outriggers, if provided.
  • Do not exceed the load limits of the equipment.
  • Allow for the combined weight of the worker, tools, and materials.

Maryland Occupational Safety and Health (MOSH) has kicked off a worker safety awareness campaign to gain greater voluntary compliance to prevent injuries and death caused by falls from aerial lifts. The MOSH Training and Education Outreach Unit offers free seminars, publications, and speakers at locations across the State to provide Maryland employers and employees with information about MOSH safety and health requirements.

For Assistance Contact Us

CONSULTATION SERVICES call 410-527-4472 for workplace surveys, hazard evaluations and suggestions on hazard elimination.

MOSH OUTREACH call 410-527-2091

Region 1 (Eastern Shore, Anne Arundel, Calvert, Charles, St. Mary's) 410-819-5860
Region 3 (Baltimore, Harford, Cecil) 410-527-4426
Region 4 (Garrett, Allegany, Washington, Frederick) 301-791-4699
Region 5 (Carroll, Howard, Montgomery, Prince George's) 410-527-2091

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