In December 2018 new ANSI aerial and scissor lift standards were released. These new best-practice standards were set to take effect on December 10th of 2019. At the 2019 ASC A92 Aerial Work Platforms Annual Meeting in October 2019 the A92 Main Committee voted to delay the implementation of the new ANSI A92 suite of standards. The new effective date is March 1, 2020.
The reason for the change was due to appeals concerning requirements that the Manual of Responsibilities be placed on every Mobile Elevating Work Platform (MEWP) and that modifications or additions to a MEWP could only be made with the permission of the manufacturer. The decision by the ANSI Board of Standards Review regarding the appeals, resulted in some revisions of the language which violated the ANSI Commercial Terms Policy.
The delay in implementation and enforcement of the new standards should not cause companies to halt changes from being made now in order to be in compliance come March 1st. The new standards were devised to increase the safety of all entities involved with the use of MEWPS. If you have not already started to implement policies, rules and procedures to comply with the new standards, this delay is your opportunity to get on track and be ready. You should start now to familiarize yourself with the major changes and requirements of the new standards with the goal of achieving compliance as quickly as possible. In additional to changes in training requirements, equipment design, and job site safety rules, new terminology and classifications regarding aerial and scissor lifts are taking effect. We will discuss a few of the requirements below.
Terminology and Classification
Aerial Work Platforms have been renamed and are now called Mobile Elevating Work Platforms or MEWPs. Along with the new terminology for lifts is a new classification system. Previously, Aerial Work Platforms were classified by product type like scissor lifts, boom lifts, etc. MEWPs will now be classified into “groups” and sub-divided into three “types.”
Group classification is determined by whether the lift stays within the tipping lines or moves beyond the tipping lines. “Group A” MEWPs move vertically but stay within the chassis or tipping lines. Scissor lifts are an example of this group. “Group B” MEWPs can move beyond the machine’s chassis or tipping lines (wheels or outriggers). Group B generally refers to boom lifts.
MEWP Type is determined by whether the lift can travel when stowed or elevated and the location of the controls which allow such travel.
- Type 1 MEWPs can only travel with the platform in a stowed position.
- Type 2 MEWPs can travel elevated and is controlled from the chassis.
- Type 3 MEWPs can travel elevated and is controlled from the platform.
(Note: Type 2 and type 3 MEWPs can be combined.)
Additional safety design features are now required on all new MEWPs. New safety features include load and tilt sensing, stability test for pneumatic tires, wind force requirements for outdoor use, toe-boards on all platform areas, non-flexible entrance gates, taller platform railings, and sustained involuntary operation controls. Operators must be familiarized with the MEWPs being used and trained on the new safety features prior to operating. Existing equipment is not required to be retrofitted to meet the new design requirements. Therefore, it is important for all employees to know the differences between the company’s various MEWPs and are properly trained on both as needed.
A Safe Use Plan must be established for each specific MEWP. The plan should include worksite risk assessment to identify hazards, evaluate risk, create control measures, and communicate results with all affected employees. Other areas which must be covered include but is not limited to the following:
- Selection and use of the appropriate MEWP;
- An assessment of the support surface;
- Familiarization of the specific MEWP to be used;
- Monitoring of the work performance of the operator by a trained and qualified supervisor; and
- Requirements for documentation of records.
Manuals and Safety-Related Bulletins
Operation manuals provided by the manufacturer must be stored in a weather-proof compartment on the MEWP. Employers must ensure operators read and understand the manual or has it explained to them. MEWPs must be registered with the manufacturer to ensure safety-related bulletins are received.
Different inspections must be performed to ensure the safety of all involved with the use of MEWPs. Inspections are the key to identifying and correcting any malfunctions and/or problems associated with the MEWP before the MEWP is put into operation. The three inspections are Frequent Inspections, Annual Inspections, and Pre-Start Inspections. A qualified person must perform the frequent and annual inspections while the MEWP operator is the one to perform the pre-start inspections. The MEWP should not be put into service until all malfunctions and/or problems found during the inspections have been corrected.
- A frequent inspection must be performed prior to placing a MEWP into service or if the MEWP has been out of service longer than three months.
- The annual inspection must be performed at least once every 12 months. It must include all items checked on the frequent inspection and any additional items specified by the manufacturer.
- Pre-start inspections must be performed every day or at the beginning of each shift.
A written rescue plan must be created and incorporated into the company’s training procedures which addresses falls from the platform. Rescue planning is necessary to ensure the safe and timely rescue of workers from heights in the event of a MEWP breakdown, platform entanglement or a fall from the platform. The plan should limit the time anyone on the work platform, known as an occupant, is suspended after an arrested fall. The rescue plan can include the following:
- Self-rescue – by person involved
- Assisted rescue – by others at the work site
- Technical rescue – by emergency services
Qualifications and Training
MEWP-specific training must be provided to operators and their supervisors by a qualified person and must be presented in a both a language and vocabulary the trainee can understand.
- Operators – Can only operate MEWPs on which they have been trained, familiarized, and authorized to operate. Operators must be physically and mentally capable of operating the MEWP safely.
- Occupant – MEWP operators must provide instructions and/or make sure all occupants have a basic level of knowledge to work safely on the MEWP. At least one occupant must be taught how to operate the MEWP controls in case of an emergency where the operator becomes incapacitated. This does not give the occupant the authority to operate the MEWP except in an emergency.
- Familiarization – Employers must ensure the trained operator is familiarized with the specific MEWP to be used before authorizing the operator to use it. Familiarization includes:
- Location of the manufacturer’s operation manuals and confirmation they are present;
- Purpose and function of all controls, features and devices; and
- Limitations and operating characteristics.
Implementation of the new standards might seem a little overwhelming when you consider the entirety of them. But compliance will not be so difficult once you begin to make the necessary changes. Keep the health and safety of your employees the focus as you incorporate the new standards into your work policies and procedures.