How to Avoid an Aerial Lift Tip Over
Have you ever wondered, “Can a scissor lift tip over?” The answer is yes. In fact, one of the most common types of aerial lift accidents is man lift tip-overs. Tip overs are also the second leading cause of injury and death from working on aerial lifts. Boom lift tip-overs can be avoided, but only when all workers are properly trained and certified.
What Causes Man Lift Tip Overs
The first step in avoiding aerial lift tip-overs is knowing what causes them. Scissor and boom lift tip-overs can occur for many reasons:
- Untrained workers driving or operating the lift
- Setting up the lift on uneven or soft terrain
- Raising the work platform on a slope
- Using the wrong kind of lift for the job
- Moving the lift with the work platform in the air
- High wind and bad weather conditions
- Exceeding load weight limits for the lift
- Using the lift near drop-offs
- Excessive pushing or pulling of the platform while it is in the air
Man lift tip-overs happen more often when the work platform is raised above 15 feet. The higher a platform is raised, the more unstable the lift structure becomes. This can increase the wobbling caused by the movements of workers.
Adding weight to the platform also increases the chances of a scissor lift tip-over. The extra weight acts as a force on the end of a lever. Extending the scissor lift increases the force, making the lift less stable.
Whether you’re the employer or an aerial lift worker, learning the causes of aerial lift tip-overs can help prevent them. It also helps create a safe and compliant job site for all.
Avoiding Boom Lift Tip Overs Due to Excess Weight
To prevent boom lift tip-overs, avoid going over the max weight limit of the lift. This can be found in the operating manual for the lift. The max load capacity includes the weight of the workers, tools, and equipment used for the job.
Max load limits will vary by the type lift. The employer must ensure all workers can read and understand the load chart. Workers should never use visual signs of tipping as indicators of the lift capacity.
Setup Tips to Avoid Scissor Lift Tip Overs
Unsafe lift setup is a major cause of man lift tip-overs. To improve safety, start by giving the lift a full inspection before setting it up. Look for missing parts, structural problems, or other issues that could cause a tip over. During the setup:
- Inspect the job site for hazards before starting work
- Do not place the lift on unstable or soft terrain
- Do not place the lift under overhead obstacles or near power lines
- Check the weather forecast for high winds or heavy rains
- Make sure equipment loaded onto the platform does not exceed max weight limits
- Don’t use the lift to support other scaffolding
When stabilizing the lift, set outriggers on pads or a level surface. Do not exceed the lift’s max slope rating – usually 5% or less. Always use wheel chocks and brakes when setting up on a slope. Other setup safety tips include:
- Workers should know which type of stabilizers to use with the lift
- Never move or adjust the stabilizers with a raised platform
- Load the weight on the platform in a manner that maintains a stable center of gravity
Operational, Moving, and Loading Safety Tips
Unsafe work practices are another leading cause of man lift tip-overs. Workers should not:
- Carry objects that are larger than the lift platform
- Drive with the lift raised (unless the lift is designed for this purpose)
- Operate lower controls unless the workers on the platform allow it
- Never exceed horizontal or vertical reach limits
- Never override safety devices
- Never operate the lift in poor weather, including high winds
When traveling, workers should be on the lookout for debris and potholes, overhead wires and cables. They should not exceed the lift’s speed limits. They should also avoid horizontal work tasks that put too much strain on the lift. This can cause the platform to become unstable and lead to a boom lift tip over.
The Need for Fall Protection Gear
Even when lift workers do everything by the book, man lift tip overs can still happen. That’s why lift workers should always wear fall protection gear. OSHA requires aerial lift workers to wear full-body harnesses attached to lanyards. The lanyards should be connected to the boom or basket. This can help prevent workers from being ejected from the bucket during an aerial lift tip over. Fall arrest gear helps minimize injuries by stopping a fall before workers hit the ground.
Every job site should have written rules for when and how to use fall protection gear. The gear should be checked before every job. Once in the air, workers should never sit, stand, or climb on the guardrails.
Get Fast, Affordable Man Lift Tip Over Safety Training with CMO
Our programs are OSHA-compliant. They teach safety guidelines – including boom lift tip over safety – for all types of aerial lifts. They can be taken anywhere you can connect to the Internet. And workers can print their certification cards as soon as they complete the course. Keep your workers safe from boom and scissor lift tip overs with safety training from CMO.