Aerial Work Platforms Instructions

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It wasn’t too long ago that ladders and scaffolds were the only way to work at height. These days, aerial work platforms (AWPs) are the equipment of choice for most jobs above ground. When used by a trained and certified operator, AWPs are sturdy safe, and allow workers to be more efficient on the job. As one of the most mobile equipment, AWPs provide access to spaces that ladders or scaffolds can’t reach. With proper training, anyone can learn to operate these incredible machines.


Aerial Work Platforms include man lifts and scissor lifts. Many workers can’t imagine working without these two pieces of equipment. If used correctly, this equipment provides quick and safe access to work areas that could only be reached from scaffolding or a crane’s manbasket. These lifts, collectively called Aerial Work Platforms, are essential tools. But as with any device, there are right and wrong ways to use them safely.


What is an Aerial Work Platform?


Many people ask us: what is an aerial work platform, anyway? Also known as man lifts, push-around, and mobile elevated work platforms (MEWPs), AWPs are mobile platforms that can lift workers to great heights. More secure than ladders, AWPs come in handy when taking care of overhead maintenance work, cleaning, and painting. These versatile machines are helpful in warehouses, construction sites, and reta

il settings. Of course, it’s important to remember that all operators must be trained and certified before using AWPs. Failure to

obtain your aerial work platform certification could result in expensive OSHA fines and penalties.

What should you pay attention to when operating aerial work platforms?

Before starting an aerial work platform, choosing a suitable model for the job is essential. Certain types of lifts – rough terrain scissor lifts – are designed to work on uneven surfaces. A diesel engine usually powers these. They also come with four-wheel drive and reinforced tire treads. This allows them to go where other types of aerial lifts can’t. It also provides better traction when working on rough terrain.


Some telescoping and articulating boom lifts can be used on uneven ground. However, the risk is more significant than with a rough terrain scissor lift. In most cases, telescoping boom lifts are preferred over articulating lifts.


Regardless of the lift type you choose, use these best practices to work safely:


Only raise or extend the platform if the lift is on a firm surface.

Use extra care when operating the lift near drop-offs. Only aerial lift-certified operators should use boom lifts on slanted ground.

Do not exceed the lift manufacturer’s maximum slope rating.

Do not operate on uneven ground in winds greater than 28 mph.

Allow at least 30 feet between the boom and any live power lines.

Make sure the tires are designed for rough terrain and are correctly inflated.

Most importantly, ensure all operators are trained and certified to work on the specific type of aerial lift used on a sloping work site.


Guardrails, midrails, and toeboards must be in place. The toe board can be omitted at the door.

The platform must have a mechanical parking brake to hold the unit on any slope it can climb securely. The brake should be tested periodically.

Never use the lift’s rails, planks across the rails, or a ladder to gain additional height.

Unique hazards for man lifts: Manlifts can move in more than a single direction, increasing the risk of mishaps, so it’s important to remember the following:


A full-body harness must be worn and adequately attached to the basket whenever working out of a man lift. A sudden jolt has thrown people from man lifts before they could react.

Always maintain a safe distance from debris piles, drop-offs, floor openings, etc.

Never drive the man lift when it is elevated above the limit the manufacturer considers safe. Each piece of equipment will state the maximum extension while being driven.

Used correctly, aerial work platforms can be priceless, time-saving assets. Operate them without regard to their limitations; this same equipment will put you and those around you at undue risk.


Avoiding Aerial Work Platform Tip-overs

The most common cause of aerial work platform tip-overs is when the boom or the bucket cable breaks. But there are plenty of other reasons to watch out for. If the bucket falls, the lift can get out of balance and fall over. Working in bad weather, such as high winds or poor visibility, can also result in a tip-over. Less weight on the lift can make it less stable.


One hazard that often needs to be addressed is working on uneven ground. Aerial work platforms require stability to operate safely. When working on a slope, that stability can be compromised. Scissor lifts are less prone to this danger because they only go straight up. Boom lifts can move vertically and horizontally, which makes them less stable than scissor lifts. Place a boom lift on uneven ground, and tip-over risk increases.



There’s no denying the utility of aerial work platforms. When it comes to lifting workers to great heights, no other machine can compare. Of course, using this technology as safely as possible is essential. 

If you're aware of AWP problems or have questions about engine replacement components, DISELMART has the answers you're looking for – and the products, too! 



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