Boom lifts (also referred to as cherry pickers) are versatile pieces of equipment used in numerous industries including construction, maintenance, utility services and warehousing. Proper operation requires specific skills and training – this article examines its value as well as who needs certification and training as well as any potential hazards involved with operating one safely and effectively.
Boom Lift Basics
Boom lifts consist of a wheeled base, hydraulic arm and basket at the top. Workers standing in the basket use controls to move and position the arm for various tasks at an elevated position. Boom lifts are very versatile tools that can be utilized for many applications – these could include:
- Construction site tasks
- Building maintenance and repairs
- Painting projects
- Utility work
- Emergency services (such as firefighting)
- Filming and photography
To operate safely with a boom lift, workers must receive training and obtain certification.
Importance of Boom Lift Certification
Taking the boom lift certification course is key for both operator safety and workplace safety. OSHA mandates all aerial lift operators be certified before operating this equipment, to ensure workers possess the knowledge and skills to use the lift safely and reduce accidents on job sites.
Employers must ensure that boom lift operator certification requirements are fulfilled; otherwise, failure to do so could incur fines and penalties for the employer.
Who Needs Boom Lift Certification and Training?
Workers wishing to operate boom lift equipment or other aerial lifts must obtain appropriate certification.
As well as meeting OSHA requirements, certification can also help an individual boost their career opportunities and earnings potential.
Types of Training for Aerial Lifts
There are various types of aerial lift training programs available, such as boom lift, scissor lift and telehandler training programs. Each of these aims to equip workers with the knowledge and abilities required for safely operating such equipment effectively and safely. Topics typically covered during aerial lift training programs include:
- Equipment operation and controls
- Safety procedures and hazard recognition
- Load capacity and weight distribution
- Inspections and maintenance
- Emergency procedures
Training programs may be offered by equipment manufacturers, independent training providers or employers themselves. Many programs now feature online training and certification that are more convenient for workers.
Aerial Lift Certification Process
To become aerial lift certified, workers must undergo a training program that meets OSHA standards. This typically entails classroom instruction, hands-on practice sessions and a final assessment test designed to demonstrate the knowledge and abilities of workers. On completion of such a program, workers receive their Certified Operator card, which serves as proof of their certification status.
Certifications typically last three years and then must be renewed through retraining and recertification, to keep up-to-date with safety guidelines and best practices.
Hazards Associated with Boom Lift Operation
Boom lift operation involves several potential hazards that operators must be mindful of and trained to recognize, including:
Falls are the primary risk when operating a boom lift. Workers must move cautiously while in the basket and use its arm at a slow and steady pace to help minimize falls. To help protect themselves further, workers should always wear a safety harness attached to the basket while using railings around it as additional support.
Boom lift operators must remain aware of its stability as well as possible contributors that could increase its risks, such as wind gusts or uneven terrain that could increase its likelihood of tipping over. When either arm exceeds a safe angle or too much weight is added to its basket, tipping may occur and operators must be wary.
Operators of boom lifts must be mindful of both their surroundings and exercise caution when operating them to prevent accidents from occurring. When moving the lift, both its base and arm must move, increasing the risk of colliding with equipment or structures on either the ground or air. They should remain aware of what’s around them when operating the boom lift to avoid accidents from occurring.
Boom lifts are frequently employed for aerial electrical work, posing an increased risk of electric shock for workers near power lines or other sources of electricity. To mitigate these dangers, workers must take appropriate safety precautions while working near electrical sources – this should include using non-conductive basket materials to lower electrical accidents.
Benefits of Boom Lift Training and Certification
Boom lift operator training provides numerous advantages to both workers and employers.
Trained and certified operators are more likely to abide by safety procedures and avoid accidents on the job site, decreasing risk and injuries on site.
Compliance with OSHA requirements
Employers that ensure all workers are certified can avoid fines and penalties for noncompliance with OSHA regulations.
Enhanced career prospects
Boom lift certification could open the doors to more job opportunities and higher earnings potential.
Certified operators can more efficiently operate boom lifts on job sites, leading to greater productivity on the job site.
Boom lift certification training is an essential component of running an aerial work platform safely. Employers must ensure their employees receive adequate instruction to comply with OSHA regulations and maintain a safer work environment by investing in proper training for employees who plan on operating one or more aerial lifts. With proper instruction comes reduced accident risk, increased productivity, and overall improvements that lead to safer workplace conditions for everyone involved.