An aerial lift is a vehicle-mounted aerial device used to elevate personnel to job sites above ground. They include the following types:
- Extensible boom platforms
- Aerial ladders
- Articulating boom platforms
- Vertical towers
- A combination of any of the above
Note: Aerial lifts do not include scissor lifts, which are regarded as a type of scaffold.
An aerial device is any vehicle-mounted device, telescoping or articulating or both, which is used to position personnel.
What are the hazards associated with aerial lifts?
The primary hazards associated with the use of these devices are falls to a lower elevation due to lack of fall protection or tip-overs, resulting in serious injury or death, and electrocution due to contact with energized power lines.
What can I do to protect myself?
Some, but not all, of the precautions workers must follow when operating or working from an aerial lift include:
Never operate an aerial lift unless you have been trained.
Use a body harness or restraining belt with a lanyard attached to the boom or basket when working from an aerial lift.
When working from an aerial lift, be sure to maintain both feet on the floor of the basket and never climb over or work from the edge of the basket or platform.
Ensure that proper clearance is maintained from all overhead hazards.
Observe and maintain proper distance from any overhead or nearby power lines.
Before work begins, set outriggers on pads or a level surface.
Do not exceed the load capacity limits of the aerial lift.
What resources are available to assist employers?
Training and Outreach Services
This fall protection safety and health presentation can be downloaded and customized to fit the training needs of an individual employer.
In addition, the education, training and technical assistance bureau provides free online safety and health training and outreach services (i.e., speaker's bureau requests, safety booths) upon request.
In addition, the NCDOL Library offers free safety and health videos (including streaming video service) and related research assistance on consensus standards (i.e., ANSI, NFPA, NEC).
Safety and Health Programs
Employers are required to perform a workplace hazard analysis to determine what personal protective equipment is necessary to protect employees from continued exposure to identified hazards. This can be done using and adapting this example job hazard analysis program,
A-Z Safety and Health Topics
The consultative services bureau provides free and confidential onsite consultation regarding worksite safety and health hazards.
Which standards apply?
OSH has adopted the following standards which are applicable to aerial lifts in North Carolina. Note: Please also check the standards information and activity webpage to see if there has been any recent or upcoming regulatory activity on this topic.
Additional standards associated with the use of aerial lifts include:
29 CFR 1910.268 - telecommunications - paragraph (q)(2)
29 CFR 1910.333 - electrical, selection and use of work practices - paragraph (c)(3)(iii)[A]
Other Applicable Standards
The Which OSHA Standards Apply webpage can help identify other standards that may be applicable to your worksite.
Where can I learn more?
NCDOL Investigates Overhead Power Lines provides insight about the conduct of investigations of fatalities involving contact with overhead power lines.
NCDOL Investigates Tree Trimming/Logging discusses investigations of fatalities involving logging and tree trimming operations.
Standards Notice: SN 44 - Upper and Lower Controls on Vehicle-mounted Elevating and Rotating Work Platforms discusses the circumstances under which upper and lower controls are required for multipurpose equipment, such as digger derricks, aerial devices and other combination devices.
Industry Guide 48 - OSHA Construction Industry Standards Requiring Programs, Inspections, Procedures, Records and/or Training provides requirements for standards related to aerial lifts in construction
Industry Guide 49 - OSHA General Industry Standards Requiring Programs, Inspections, Procedures, Records and/or Training provides requirements for standards related to aerial lifts in general industry.
If you would like to receive interpretive guidance on this or any other OSH standard or topic, you can submit your questions using the Ask OSH web form, by e-mail to email@example.com or by calling 919-707-7876.