May 2013 IVES Update Newsletter

We'll be covering: Aerial lift familiarization requirements. What’s Wrong With This? answer and new photo. Forklift driver falls into sinkhole of soy sauce. An Ask Bob question on unloading trailers. WorkSafeBC issues fine in excavator incident. Beware of so-called OSHA endorsements.

Here’s a quick breakdown of the topics we’ll cover in this month:

  • Aerial lift familiarization requirements
  • What’s Wrong With This? answer and new photo
  • Forklift driver falls into sinkhole of soy sauce
  • An Ask Bob question on unloading trailers
  • A few links to other interesting articles
  • WorkSafeBC issues fine in excavator incident
  • Beware of so-called OSHA endorsements
  • Upcoming trade shows

Familiarization Breeds Competence

The requirements around the familiarization of aerial lift operators listed in applicable ANSI and CSA standards are very clear but often overlooked, misunderstood or ignored. This is unfortunate, as allowing operators to use aerial lifts with which they are unfamiliar is a practice that can lead to tragic results.

Part of the problem stems from a lack of knowledge. Owners, users and/or operators of aerial lifts are often simply unaware of what is required of them with respect to the safe use and operation of the equipment. Let’s turn ignorance into enlightenment by taking a step by step approach at exactly what’s required. In the interest of brevity, we will focus on the requirements relative to aerial boomlifts and scissor lifts.

The usual place to start when searching for safety rules is with regionally mandated occupational safety and health (OSH) regulations. However, when it comes to the topic of familiarizing aerial lift operators, there really are no specific regulatory requirements that address it.

That being said, many OSH regulations reference at least two other sources where much more detailed information may be found, including industry standards and the instructions of the manufacturer.

Throughout the United States and most of Canada, the most widely referenced and accepted standards relative to the design, construction and use of aerial lifts are the ANSI (American National Standards Institute) A92 series of standards. The specific standards as they relate to booms and scissors (respectively) are named as follows:

  • ANSI/SIA A92.5 – Boom-supported Elevating Work Platforms (Aerial Boomlifts)
  • ANSI/SIA A92.6 – Self-propelled Elevating Work Platforms (Scissor Lifts)

Before we investigate what these two standards contain about the familiarization of operators, we have to consider that familiarization follows general training. That means that before aerial lift operators are eligible to receive familiarization, they must have already received general training. General training should cover topics such as but not limited to:

  1. The purpose and use of manuals
  2. That operating manuals are an integral part of the aerial platform and must be stored properly in the weather-resistant compartment when not in use
  3. A pre-start inspection
  4. Responsibilities associated with problems or malfunctions affecting the operation of the aerial platform
  5. Factors affecting stability
  6. The purpose of placards and decals
  7. Workplace inspection
  8. Safety rules and regulations
  9. Authorization to operate
  10. Operator warnings and instructions
  11. Actual operation of the aerial platform under the direction of a qualified person. The trainee shall operate the aerial platform for a sufficient period of time to demonstrate proficiency in the actual operation of the aerial platform.

As you can see, general training covers information considered to be fundamental to all makes and models of boom and scissor lifts. However, ANSI and CSA requirements also call for operators to be familiarized with the actual aerial lift they are assigned to operate. The content of familiarization breaks down as follows:

  1. The location of the weather resistant compartment (for manual(s) storage)
  2. The purpose and function of all controls
  3. Safety devices and operating characteristics specific to the aerial platform.

Although these items appear very nondescript, consider for a moment the amount of detail that could be entailed in covering items 2 and 3 in the following scenario.

An operator receives general and specific training on an electric-powered, slab-type unit with an articulated boom capable of 45 feet of platform height. The operator uses the unit to paint the interior walls of a structure that is under construction. When the job is completed, the operator is then assigned to paint the exterior walls using an engine powered, rough terrain (RT) unit with a telescopic boom capable of 120 feet of platform height. The general training this operator has already received covers the basic operation of both units. However, some specific items that would need to be covered during familiarization of the RT unit might be:

  • Extendable axles
  • Envelope management system
  • Emergency/manual operating controls
  • Safety interlock systems

There could be other items, but the point here is that this operator is going to need to become familiar with these items and be able to demonstrate the ability to use them properly. As with any type of training, ascertaining competence is a very important function of the familiarization process.

Some have argued that familiarization is not training. While a valid case could be made in support of the fact that because the degree of difficulty involved when operators transition between two units that are similar in design and operating controls/characteristics is negligible, the amount of familiarization needed is also negligible. So much so that operators could possibly familiarize themselves just by consulting the manufacturer’s operating manual and locating on the unit anything with which they are unfamiliar.

However, considering the scenario above in which an operator is assigned to operate two units that are significantly different, one could conclude that, in this case, some training and even evaluation of the operator would be prudent, if not required.

In summary, operators of aerial boomlifts and scissor lifts must receive general training covering the basic principles and safe operational procedures common to all makes and models. Before operating a specific unit, operators must be familiarized with it by reviewing/receiving information that addresses operational/safety systems and procedures unique to the make and model. The amount of familiarization needed as operators move from unit to unit is dependent on the degree of difference between the new unit and the ones they have operated in the past which may require additional training and evaluation in some cases. In any case, operators must be able to demonstrate the knowledge and operational competence required to operate any aerial lift they are assigned to operate.

Rob Vetter
Director of Training
IVES Training Group

What’s Wrong With This?

I stumbled across this on a recent winery tour. Can you see what’s wrong with this?

Answer to Last Month’s WWWT?

Last month we showed you a photo of a forklift operator traveling unsafely. The operator incorrectly has the mast tilted forwards instead of back, which would make for a very unsecured load. Remember, always tilt your mast back so that the load is braced against the back rest.

Forklift Driver OK After Falling Into Sinkhole Of Soy Sauce

A worker in an East Rutherford, N.J., warehouse fell into a massive sinkhole that opened below the factory floor on Monday. The estimated 40-foot-wide sinkhole filled with cooking oil and soy sauce sucked up employee, as well as the forklift he had been driving at the time. Luckily for him, rescuers believe that the machinery he was using actually protected him in the fall and prevented him from being crushed to death by debris or drowning. [The forklift operator] was able to escape the sinkhole on his own and was taken to a local hospital for a back injury. Authorities are still searching for the cause of the collapse, but one thing is certain: Praise be the forklift!


Ask Bob

Q: I was curious what the current regulation is regarding entering a truck or trailer on a forklift. Since mobile equipment operators must have training specific to the operations site, only certified operators can use the mobile equipment. My question is, who is responsible for unloading a truck at a loading bay? The employees the product is being delivered to or the driver delivering the product?

A: Unless the driver who deliver the goods to your location has been qualified and tested (evaluated) at YOUR location then they are unable to unload at your property. Therefore, it would be your employee’s responsibility to unload. There is no law that says the driver is not able to undertake this training, but in most cases, that is probably impractical.

Interesting News Articles

  • OSHA frequently asked questions… more
  • OSHA intends to extend crane certification compliance date… more
  • Genie unveils world’s tallest self-propelled boomlift… more
  • OSHA investigates fatal construction accident… more


In Summerland, BC, Canada, this firm’s worker was seriously injured while operating an excavator that had been loaded onto a flat deck truck. The worker was using the excavator to lift some equipment off the truck’s deck. He was not wearing a seatbelt. The load destabilized the excavator, causing it to fall sideways off the deck. The worker fell out of the excavator’s cab, and the excavator then landed on his foot, causing crushing injuries.

The firm failed to adequately instruct the worker in the safe operation of the excavator and failed to ensure that he followed the excavator’s operating instructions. The firm also failed to provide the worker with safe written procedures for loading and unloading mobile equipment, and failed to adequately supervise him. These were both repeated violations. Further, the firm did not have an occupational health and safety program in place. This was also a repeated violation. WorkSafeBC issued a $16,169.98 penalty to the firm on January 16, 2013.

[Source: WorkSafe Magazine]

Upcoming Events

We will be exhibiting at the following trade shows and conferences:

  • June 24-27. ASSE 2013 Annual Conference & Exposition
  • August 26-29. 29th Annual National VPPPA Conference
  • September 10-13. Georgia Safety Conference
  • September 29-October 4. NSC 2013 Congress & Expo

Beware Of ‘So-Called’ OSHA Endorsements

“OSHA does not approve or certify training programs, personal protective equipment, or any other products and/or services. OSHA has set up several OSHA Education Centers around the country and they are rigorously tested and licensed and can refer to themselves as ‘OSHA approved.’ The Education Centers cannot approve or certify on behalf of OSHA.

If someone is selling a product and asserts it is OSHA certified or compliant, a healthy dose of skepticism is in order. Some companies will say that they believe their product is in compliance with OSHA regulations. This is their statement of their belief about their product and should not be construed as an approval or endorsement by OSHA.”

– Jeff Carter, Indiana Department of Labor, Deputy Commissioner.

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