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New NIOSH Website on Aerial Lift Safety Includes Lift Simulator

Release Date: March 22, 2016

Although aerial lifts are used frequently at construction, warehousing, and other job sites, they can pose potentially fatal hazards to workers. Aerial devices include boom-supported aerial platforms, such as cherry pickers or bucket trucks, aerial ladders, and vertical towers. The major causes of injuries and fatalities are falls, electrocutions, and collapses or tip-overs. In order to address proper safeguarding, which can reduce or eliminate injuries, the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) has established an aerial lifts resource webpage, which can be accessed at The website includes references to material developed by NIOSH and the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA).

One unique feature of the website includes an aerial lift simulator developed by NIOSH. The NIOSH Aerial Lift Hazard Recognition Simulator is designed to help potential aerial lift operators acclimate to aerial lift operation and to identify the common occupational hazards that can be present during use, such as depressions (potholes), crushing hazards, tip-over hazards, etc. The user selects the type of aerial lift scenario they wish to use (the boom lift simulator is under construction and only the scissor lift is available at this time). Once the Aerial Lift Hazard Recognition Simulator has been launched, the user is instructed to position the lift in the appropriate area while avoiding the hazards present. The user maneuvers the lift by operating the keyboard/mouse controls and follows the green arrows with the goal of aligning the platform of the driven lift with the transparent lift platforms visible at various locations in the simulated work area. A notification is given when each target area has been reached successfully. The user finishes the simulator scenario by parking the lift at the final location.

The training provided by the simulator is not a substitute for formalized training or accreditation. NIOSH emphasizes that the simulation is only intended to increase familiarity with the selected aerial lift.

Other resources accessible on the NIOSH aerial lift webpage include:

The NIOSH site should help to prevent accidents, such as one that occurred in August 2015 involving a tip-over of an aerial lift that killed the operator. OSHA inspectors found the lift was positioned on ground that was not level, a condition that conflicted with both industry safety standards and the lift operator manual. In addition, the operatorís fall protection lanyard was not attached to the basket or boom. Inspectors determined his employer had not trained him to recognize this hazard, as required by OSHA standards.

As noted on the NIOSH site, operators of any aerial work platform should be trained and familiar with the equipment before using it. During operation, it is essential for operators to remain aware of site work hazards and changing conditions that may affect safe operation of the aerial work platform.

COPYRIGHT ©2016, ISO Services, Inc.

The information contained in this publication was obtained from sources believed to be reliable. ISO Services, Inc., its companies and employees make no guarantee of results and assume no liability in connection with either the information herein contained or the safety suggestions herein made. Moreover, it cannot be assumed that every acceptable safety procedure is contained herein or that abnormal or unusual circumstances may not warrant or require further or additional procedure.

COPYRIGHT ©2016, ISO Services, Inc.