11.3 - Aerial Lifts and Platforms

Last updated on April 21, 2023

POLICY: It is the policy of Spoon River College to outline the safe operating procedures of aerial platforms or a combination of such devices when used to elevate associates to job-sites or for the purpose of maintenance activities above ground and to prevent serious accidents from occurring while they operate these devices. These devices are commonly called:


This policy applies to all Spoon River College employees operating aerial lifts.


Aerial Platform:  A mobile or manually propelled device or vehicle-mounted device that has an adjustable position platform, supported from ground level by a structure or vehicle.

Authorized Personnel:  Individuals certified to operate an aerial platform and assigned to perform a specific type of duty or duties at a specific location or locations at a work site.

Chassis:  The integral part of the aerial platform that provides mobility and support for the elevating assembly.

Competent Person:  An individual who, because of training and experience, is capable of identifying hazardous or dangerous conditions in powered platform installations and of training associates to identify such conditions.

Configuration:  All positions in which an aerial platform or any part thereof can be placed within its intended operating limits.

Elevating Assembly:  The mechanisms used to position the platform relative to the aerial platform chassis.

Familiarization:  Providing information regarding the control functions and safety devices for the aerial platform(s) to a qualified person or operator who controls the movement of the aerial platform(s) being delivered.

General Training:  Instruction to enable the trainee to become a qualified person regarding the task to be performed, including knowledge regarding potential hazards.

Guardrail System:  A vertical barrier intended to prevent associates from falling to lower levels.

Hazardous Location:  Any location that contains, or has the potential to contain, an explosive or flammable atmosphere as defined in ANSI/NFPA 505.

Instability:  the quality or state of being unstable, likely to tip over.

Interlock:  A control or mechanism that, under specific conditions, automatically allows or prevents the operation of another control or mechanism.

Modification/Modified:  to make a change(s), temporary or permanent, to an aerial platform that affects the operation, stability, safety factors, rated load or safety of the aerial platform in any way.

Operator:  A qualified person who controls the movement of the aerial platform.

Outriggers:  Devices that increase the stability of the aerial platform and that are capable of lifting and leveling the aerial platform.

Platform:  the portion of the aerial platform intended to be occupied by individuals with their necessary tools and materials.  Platform Height - The vertical distance measured from the floor of the platform to the surface upon which the machine is supported.

Qualified Person:  An individual who by reason of knowledge, experience, and training is certified and familiar with the operation to be performed and the hazards involved. Rated

Work Load:  the designed carrying capacity of the aerial platform as specified by the manufacturer.

Stability:  The quality, state of being stable, firmly anchored, not likely to tip over.

Stabilizers:  Devices that increase the stability of the aerial platform but are not capable of lifting or leveling the aerial platform.


  1. Operating Aerial Platforms:
    1. Spoon River College ensures that the necessary training is acquired by all individuals performing maintenance or inspections on, working on or operating aerial platforms/lifts or any combination of such devices;
    2. The Director of Facilities must ensure that pre-start, frequent and annual inspections are performed;
    3. All individuals who operate aerial platforms/lifts are provided general training on the class of equipment to be used and certified to perform the duties assigned;
    4. Individuals shall not operate any aerial platform/lift without having been properly trained on the details of this procedure and the operating manual of the specific model aerial platform/lift.
  2. Safety Requirements:
    1. Only authorized individuals shall operate an aerial platform/lift, extensible boom platform, aerial ladders, articulating boom platforms, vertical towers, ladder trucks, tower trucks, or any combination of such devices;
    2. All operators and workers who are to perform work from any aerial lift shall be trained on this procedure and on the operating manual of the specific device which is to be operated or work performed from;
    3. Individuals who are scheduled to perform routine maintenance, inspections, or to repair any aerial lift shall have received training or possess appropriate knowledge on this procedure and on the operating manual of the specific device PRIOR to performing any work on that device;NOTE: Operating and maintenance manuals should be obtained from the manufacturer of the aerial platform.
    4. A copy of the operating manual, maintenance manual, and the log of inspections shall be kept on each aerial platform in the Maintenance Office. These documents are considered an integral part of the aerial platform and are vital to communicate necessary safety information to users and operators;
    5. No aerial platform shall be modified or altered without the modifications or alterations being approved and certified in writing by the manufacture. Records of all approved modifications and alterations, including written authorization from the manufacturer for the modification or alteration, shall be kept with the aerial platform as part of the operating and maintenance manual. The altering or disabling of interlocks or other safety devices is prohibited;
    6. All manufacturers’ safety bulletins shall be complied with as received from the manufacturer or dealer. Copies of these bulletins shall be kept with the aerial platform as part of the operating and maintenance manuals.
  3. Inspections:
    1. Frequent and annual inspections must be performed by a trained individual;
    2. Frequent inspections shall be made every three months or 150 hours of operating time (whichever comes first);
    3. An inspection shall be made prior to use if the aerial platform has been out of service for a period longer than six months;
    4. These frequent inspections shall be made by a person qualified (trained) as a mechanic on the specific make and model of the aerial platform;NOTE: The frequent inspection can be a part of a service contract on the aerial platform and/or can be performed by a manufacturer's representative.
    5. The frequent inspection shall include all items specified by the manufacturer for a frequent inspection and shall include, but not be limited to the following:
      1. All functions and their control for speed(s), smoothness, and limits of motion;
      2. Emergency lowering mechanism;
      3. All chain and cable mechanisms for adjustment and worn or damaged parts;
      4. All emergency and safety devices;
      5. Lubrication of all moving parts, inspection of filter element(s), hydraulic oil, engine oil, and coolant, as specified by the manufacturer;
      6. Visual inspection of structural components and other critical components, such as fasteners, pins, shafts, and locking devices;
      7. Placards, warnings, and control markings;
      8. Items specified by the manufacturer;
      9. Correction of all malfunctions and problems identified and further inspection, if necessary, shall be performed before the aerial platform is returned to service;
      10. Written documentation of all inspections shall be kept in the Maintenance Office.
    6. A person qualified on the specific make and model of the aerial platform shall make annual inspections. The inspection shall include all items specified by the manufacturer for an annual inspection.NOTE: The annual inspection can be a part of a service contract on the aerial platform and/or can be performed by a manufacturer's representative.
    7. Aerial platforms that are not in proper operating condition shall be removed from service until repaired. A warning tag stating "DO NOT USE" shall be attached to the control panel of the aerial platform.
    8. Written records of all inspections shall include the deficiencies found, corrective action taken, the date of the inspection and the date of the corrective action along with the name of the person(s) performing the inspection and the corrective action. Written records shall be kept in the Maintenance Office.
    9. Pre-Start Inspection: Before use the user shall visually inspect the aerial platform and conduct a functional test including but not limited to the following:
      1. Operating and emergency controls;
      2. Safety devices;
      3. Personal protective devices including fall protection;
      4. Air, hydraulic, and fuel system leaks;
      5. Cables and wiring harness;
      6. Loose and missing parts;
      7. Tires and wheels;
      8. Placards, warnings, and control markings;
      9. Outriggers, stabilizers, and other structures;
      10. Guardrail system;
      11. Items specified by the manufacturer.
  4. Maintenance: A preventive maintenance program shall be established for each aerial platform in use in accordance with the manufacturer's recommendations.
    1. Replacement Parts: When parts or components are replaced, they shall be identical or equivalent to the original aerial platform parts or components;
    2. Maintenance safety precautions: Before adjustments and/or repairs are started on an aerial platform, the following precautions shall be taken as applicable:
      1. The platform shall be lowered to the full down position, if possible, or otherwise secured by blocking and cribbing to prevent dropping;
      2. All controls shall be in the "off" position and all operating features secured from inadvertent motion by brakes, blocks, or other means;
      3. The equipment shall be stopped, de-energized and "Locked Out" to prevent inadvertent starting;
      4. Hydraulic oil pressure shall be relieved from all hydraulic circuits before loosening or removing hydraulic components;
      5. Safety props or latches shall be installed where applicable as described by the manufacturer;
      6. Any additional precautions specified by the manufacturer shall be followed.
  5. Before operation: Before authorizing an individual to operate an aerial platform:
    1. Ensure that everyone who will be working on the aerial platform has been properly trained on this procedure, the operating manual of the particular type of aerial platform to be used, and that this training has been properly documented;
    2. Determine that the manufacturer, within the scope of the intended applications, defines the purpose for which the aerial platform is to be used;
    3. Provide approved fall protection devices and other safety gear for all individuals who will be working on the platform (if applicable).
    4. Check the area in which the aerial platform is to be used for possible hazards such as, but not limited to:
      1. Drop-offs or holes;
      2. Bumps or floor obstructions;
      3. Debris;
      4. Overhead obstructions and high voltage conductors;
      5. Hazardous locations;
      6. Inadequate surface and support to withstand all load forces imposed by the aerial platform in all operating configurations;
      7. Wind and weather conditions (if outside);
      8. Other possible unsafe conditions;
      9. Presence of unauthorized persons.
  6. During Operation: The aerial platform shall be operated in accordance with the following:
    1. The operator must ensure the following before each elevation of the platform:
      1. That the aerial platform is operated on a surface within the limits specified by the manufacturer;
      2. That the outriggers, stabilizers, extendable axles, or other stabilizing methods are used as required by the manufacturer;
      3. That guardrails are installed and access gates or openings are closed per manufacturer's instructions;
      4. That the load and its distribution on the platform and any platform extension are in accordance with the manufacturers rated capacity for that specific configuration;
      5. That there is adequate clearance from overhead obstructions;
      6. That the minimum safe approach distances (MSAD) to energized power lines and parts are maintained;
      7. That all safety precautions defined in this procedure and the Operating and Maintenance Manual for the particular model of aerial platform being used are followed during the operation of the aerial platform;
      8. That all individuals maintain a firm footing, with both feet, on the platform floor while working thereon. The use of planks, ladders, or any other device on the aerial platform for achieving additional height or reach is prohibited;
      9. Special precautions shall be taken when other moving equipment or vehicles are present to comply with local ordinances or safety standards established for the workplace. Warnings such as but not limited to: flags, roped off areas, flashing lights, and barricades shall be used.
    2. Reporting problems or malfunctions: The operator shall immediately report any problems or malfunctions that become evident during operation of the aerial platform to the Director of Facilities. Any problems or malfunctions that affect the safety or operation of the aerial platform shall be repaired prior to use of the aerial platform.
    3. Entanglement:  Care shall be taken to prevent rope, electric cords, hoses, etc., from becoming entangled in the aerial platform.
    4. Capacity limitation: Aerial platform rated capacities shall not be exceeded when loads are transferred to the platform at any height.
    5. Work area: The operator shall ensure that the area surrounding the aerial platform is clear of personnel and equipment before lowering the platform.
    6. Battery charging: Batteries shall be charged in a well-ventilated area free of flame, sparks, or other hazards that may cause fire or explosion.
    7. Platform positioning: The aerial platform shall not be positioned against another object to steady the platform.
    8. Mis-use as a crane: The aerial platform shall not be used as a crane.
    9. Operating area: The aerial platform shall not be operated from a position on trucks, trailers, railway cars, floating vessels, scaffolds, or similar equipment, unless the application is approved in writing by the manufacturer.
    10. Travel conditions: Under all travel conditions, the operator shall limit travel speed according to conditions of ground surface, congestion, visibility, slope, locations of personnel, and other factors causing hazards of collision or injury to personnel.
    11. Unauthorized use: Means shall be used to protect against use by unauthorized person(s).
    12. Shutdown of the aerial platform: The operator shall cease operation of the aerial platform in case of any suspected malfunctions, any hazard, or potentially unsafe condition that may be encountered. The aerial platform and/or the work area shall then be inspected and any malfunction or problem shall be corrected before further operation of the platform.
  7. Training:
    1. All individuals who perform the functions of operators or maintenance on any aerial platform equipment shall have received both general training and familiarization for the type of unit being operated;
    2. General training covers topics applicable to most aerial work platform equipment. This training will provide the individual with the requisite knowledge and skills necessary for performing inspections, the universal applications; limitations and operation of aerial work platform equipment, including recognition and avoidance of hazards associated with their use;
    3. General training will be performed by a competent person as determined by the term “competent person” in the definitions section;
    4. General training will include but is not limited to the following:
      1. Regulations and standards associated with aerial work platform equipment;
      2. General equipment components;
      3. The proper selection of the aerial work platform equipment for the job at hand;
      4. Safe use of the equipment;
      5. Factors affecting stability;
      6. Operator warnings and instructions;
      7. The purpose and use of manuals;
      8. Recognition and avoidance of hazards;
      9. The need to perform workplace inspections;
      10. Personal protective equipment;
      11. Pre-start inspections;
      12. The application and understanding of typical options that are likely associated with larger machines such as:
        • Outriggers and stabilizers
        • Extendable axles
        • Envelope management systems
        • Load-moment devices
        • Dual capacity
      13. The actual operation of the aerial work platform equipment “under the direction of a qualified person;”
      14. The need of the trainee to operate the aerial platform(s) for a sufficient period of time to demonstrate proficiency in the actual operation and of all functions of the aerial platform.
    5. For each model the employee is to operate, inspect or maintain, the employee will receive familiarization for that unit;
    6. Familiarization will include as a minimum the following:
      1. The location of the weather resistant compartment for storing the operator’s manual;
      2. The purpose and function of all controls;
      3. Safety devices and operating characteristics specific to that aerial platform unit.
    7. Familiarization can be performed by a competent person;
    8. The trainee will be required to read or be instructed on and understand the manufacturer’s operating instructions, maintenance manual and safety rules;
    9. In addition, individuals shall be instructed in performing frequent inspections and pre-start inspections of all aerial platforms;
    10. Upon completion of both general training and familiarization, the operator trainee shall operate the aerial platform in an area free of obstructions under the direction of the qualified person for a time sufficient to determine that the trainee displays proficiency in knowledge and actual operation of the aerial platform;
    11. The trainer, in consultation with the supervisor (competent person), unless they are the same, shall agree that this individual is suited for aerial platform operation;
    12. Only properly trained and authorized individuals shall be permitted to operate any aerial platform;
    13. Only properly trained individuals shall be permitted to perform inspections and required maintenance of aerial platforms;
    14. Additional familiarization shall be conducted whenever a new model aerial platform is acquired or rented by the College;
    15. Additional general training will be required when an individual demonstrates less than proficiency in the operation or maintenance of aerial platforms.
  8. Records retention:
    1. The Director of Facilities shall ensure that for each individual who operates; performs inspections; and/or repairs on aerial work platform equipment, there is a written record for that individual which verifies that the employee has received general training.
    2. The Director of Facilities shall ensure there is a record of familiarization for every unit that each employee has received instruction.
    3. The Director of Facilities shall maintain a copy of all training and familiarization records.
    4. The following records shall be maintained for a minimum of five (5) years by the Director of Facilities:
      1. Written records of the frequent and annual inspections on each aerial platform owned or rented by the College. These records shall include the date of the inspection, model and serial number of the aerial platform, name and affiliation of the person performing the inspection, any deficiencies found, and the corrective action recommended;
      2. Written records of all repairs accomplished on each aerial platform owned or rented by the College, including the date of the repair, a description of the work accomplished, the work order number, model and serial number of the aerial platform, and the identification of the person(s) performing the work;
      3. Written records of inspections, repairs, modifications, alterations, and statements of manufacturer's approval for any modifications and alterations shall be maintained for five (5) years after sale or other disposition of the aerial platform.