Everyone in the aerial lift industry (or any industry working with heavy machinery) is intimately familiar with the American National Standards Institute (or ANSI). ANSI, which is a non-profit, supports voluntary standards and conformity systems in the United States to increase the competitiveness of domestic businesses. Ultimately, the organization created ANSI certifications for various fields to ensure standardization across industries. As a result of their success, ANSI developed the global standards in quality and safety around the world.
“Whether at home or abroad, ANSI is committed to enhancing the global competitiveness of U.S. business and quality of life by providing a framework for fair standards development and quality conformity assessment systems, and safeguarding their integrity. Encompassing practically every industry, the Institute represents the diverse interests of more than 270,000 companies and organizations, and 30 million professionals worldwide.”
ANSI Certification and Standards for Aerial Lifts
As the worldwide leader in providing guidelines and frameworks to develop fair standards and safety systems, ANSI frequently works with OSHA within the US to formalize standards. The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) is part of the US Department of Labor and enforces workplace safety standards. Due to OSHA efforts and workplace inspections, the country has seen a reduction in injury rates and business costs associated with injury-related costs.
For example, OSHA published aerial lift standards with the Federal Registry (which is open to public comment). In the following regulatory update, OSHA seeks public comment on a new aerial lift standard related to seeking written certification for any modifications that ensure the equipment meets existing ANSI and OSHA standards.
“OSHA solicits public comments concerning its proposal to extend OMB approval of the information collection requirement contained in the Aerial Lifts Standard. The only information collection requirement in the Aerial Lifts Standard is a certification provision, paragraph (a)(2). This provision requires an employer who modifies an aerial lift for a use not intended by the lift manufacturer (“field modified aerial lift”) to obtain from that manufacturer, or an equivalent entity (such as a nationally-recognized laboratory), a written certificate stating that: The modification conforms to the applicable provisions of ANSI A92.2-1969 and OSHA's Aerial Lifts Standard; and the modified aerial lift is at least as safe as it was before modification.”
ANSI 92.2 Standards
Initially proposed in 2016, ANSI officially introduced new A92.2 standards in December 2019. Technically, the new standards fall under the following categories:
- A92.20-2018: Design, Calculations, Safety Requirements, and Test Methods for MEWPs
- A92.22-2018: Safe Use of MEWPs
- A92.24-2018: Training Requirements for the Use, Operation, Inspection, Testing, and Maintenance of MEWPs
Under the new ANSI standards, changes were made to how frequently inspections must be carried out, what needs to be inspected and how companies must be stored. Additionally, the A92.2 clarifies annual inspections must be performed by a qualified person and be conducted no more than 13 months after the previous inspection. Finally, the new aerial lift standards update fall protection guidelines, which ensure any operator wears protective gear that:
- prohibits them from falling more than 6 feet.
- prevents them from experiencing more than 1,800 pounds of arresting force.
- restricts them from contacting any lower surface.
As a result of the A92 standards, operators must remain up-to-date in industry changes and workplace inspections to ensure they meet current ANSI certifications.
OSHA Aerial Lift Standards
Due to the dangerous nature of using aerial lifts, there are plenty of safety measures that responsible operators follow. Additionally, as part of these aerial lift safety measures, OSHA oversees numerous safety standards. OSHA also provides a fact sheet to help industry professionals understand use cases that fall under the aerial lift standards and adhere to workplace safety regulations. For example, OSHA defines aerial lifts as any vehicle-mounted device utilized to raise person, which includes:
- Extendable boom platforms.
- Aerial ladders.
- Articulating (jointed) boom platforms.
- Vertical towers.
- Any combination of the above.
Aerial lifts have replaced ladders and scaffolding on many job sites due to their mobility and flexibility. They may be made of metal, fiberglass reinforced plastic, or other materials. They may be powered or manually operated, and are considered to be aerial lifts whether or not they can rotate around a primarily vertical axis.
Finally, to help mitigate workplace safety issues, proper training remains a huge component of meeting OSHA standards (and ANSI certification). As a result, proper training includes clearly explaining the dangers behind electrical issues and falling object hazards, along with the necessary procedures for dealing with those concerns. For example, training must cover how to recognize and avoid unsafe conditions. Additionally, required training provides instructions for correct operation of aerial lifts and ensuring equipment meets the manufacturer’s requirement, along with knowing when and how to perform inspections. And, to pass the training, operators must demonstrate the skills and knowledge needed to operate an aerial lift before operating it on the job.
For more on meeting and adhering to ANSI standards, the organization shares information on the certification process.