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Safety Near Misses


Safety Awareness
2. Aerial Lift - Collapsible Handrails

On one of our jobsites we had a near miss while using an aerial platform scissors lift. The near miss involved the guardrails on the platform of the lift. When the worker had the lift raised and in position to perform his work, the worker who had his harness on and was properly tied off to the lift, went to step on the guardrails on the platform, and the guardrail gave way beneath him once he attempted to put his weight on the rail. There were no pin stops on the collapsible guardrails on the platform of the lift. The worker notified his supervisor and the lift was immediately taken out of service, the lift rental company was called, and the lift was replaced. Our workers found one pin on the floor and could not find any other pins.

The lift company had the lift inspected. The conclusion of their investigation is that when the lift left the rental company it had been inspected and the pins for the collapsible railings were in place. While on site it is suspected that someone removed the pins to collapse the railings, to move the lift into an area that would limit access if railing were in the up position. These pins were not properly reinstalled on the lift.

Many railings on man lifts are collapsible for maneuverability and getting below fixed objects and/or to get to another work area with height restrictions. We need to be aware of replacing these pin stops after the lift is in position to do the work and then again when moving out of the area. The lift involved in this near miss was a Genie GS4626, which is 3' - 9" wide with a working height of 32'. We need to pay attention to all lifts with collapsible railings.

I would like to commend the worker who was properly tied off and wearing his harness. Thank goodness no one was injured. I am glad that he was willing to share his near miss with everyone. This information will help prevent a serious injury or worse in the future.

When using an aerial lift, plan your work ahead of time and make sure you have the proper equipment to do the job properly. Personnel shall maintain a firm footing on the platform floor while working thereon. Climbing by occupants on the midrail or toprail of the aerial platform is prohibited. The use of planks, ladders, or any other devices on the platform for achieving additional height or reach is prohibited. All of this information is in the operations manual for the lift. We should be inspecting our lifts daily prior to use. This would include checking the pin stops on collapsible guardrails and extensions platforms before raising the lift into position, during your inspection.

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MCA Detroit
14801 West 8 Mile Road
Detroit, Michigan 48235
voice: (313) 341-7661
fax: (313) 341-1007