Protect boatyard and shipyard workers using aerial lifts

Aerial lifts are often used in boatyards and shipyards, especially in work areas where constructing support platforms or scaffolding is impractical. Boom-supported personnel platforms and bucket trucks can be dangerous and workers risk falls, ejections, tip-overs, and boom failure.

The Occupational Health and Safety Administration (OSHA) has established measures to help safeguard workers against dangers in boatyards and shipyards, they include providing adequately maintained equipment, training and supervision, fall protection, and immediate response to any worker that has fallen.

Workplace guidelines can help employees avoid accidents and injuries, and may help boost on-the-job productivity. There are many work practices companies can use to keep workers safe, including:

• Showing workers how to always tie-off
• Providing body harnesses with lanyards attached to adequate anchorage points for workers who face fall protection hazards
• Never moving lifts when workers are elevated
• Training lift operators to control equipment safely
• Maintaining and using equipment following the manufacturer's instructions
• Marking equipment controls properly
• Never overriding safety devices, this may cause accidental movement of the basket or lift, which could result in accidents or injuries
• Being aware of the list, trim, and lash down points when a lift is on a barge
• Placing stops to prevent driving off when a lift is near open edges and capable of movement
• Knowing the swing radius of the aerial left to avoid hitting nearby structures
• Keeping workers out of the space between structures and the lift when the lift is elevated

Recognize tip-over dangers to reduce these risks:

• Set the brakes
• Check tire pressure
• Extend outriggers
• Ensure lift is level on its front, back, and sides
• Never operate the lift in high winds or under power lines
• Properly use wheel chocks

In addition to fall protection, a personal flotation device (PFD) may provide added protection for shipyard workers performing tasks near or over water.

Handling an aerial lift safely takes time and training. Workers will need to learn how to avoid catching the basket on an object or line, and that lifting, moving, or pushing an object with an aerial lift can result in collapse, ejection, or tip-over. Also help lift operators understand an aerial lift's total load capacity includes the combined weight of a worker, tools, and materials, and if the lift capacity is reduced when the lift is not level, the tire pressure is low, or the outriggers are not completely extended, a tip-over can occur.

Provide workers with fall protection and safety tutorials to ensure that employees safely complete boatyard or shipyard tasks. Regular evaluations also help companies examine work environments for possible hazards. Maintain safe work conditions and reduce hazards for employees using aerial lifts, with the proper training and safety supplies.

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