As an aerial equipment operator, it’s critical to be ready for the upcoming changes to the ANSI A92 standards that set aerial work platform safety protocols nationwide. Following a public comment period, the standards are undergoing final revisions before publication later this year.
The new name, Mobile Elevating Work Platforms (MEWP), signifies mobility as the distinguisher, rather than the product type. In addition to the new name, come new classifications. Your MEWPs will be defined in one of two ways:
1. By type, based on mobility:
- Type 1- static units only travel in the stowed position
- Type 2- mobile units travel when elevated, with controls on chassis
- Type 3- mobile units travel when elevated, with controls on the platform
2. By group:
- Vertical MEWPs cannot extend the main platform beyond the machine’s tipping line. - Examples include mast or scissor lifts.
- Boom MEWPs can extend the main platform beyond the machine’s tipping line. These units require the use of PPE.
These standards will make safety improvements to the features manufacturers are required to provide—including load and tilt sensing, speed limiters, and toe guards. The biggest change to pay attention to, however, is the safety and training procedures. End users will be required to create a Safe Use Program around each MEWP. Among other things, the program must include:
- A site risk assessment, to include a rescue plan for work at height and plans for safe operation in certain weather conditions.
- MEWP maintenance programs that require new attention to inspections and necessary repairs. It will now be mandated that the last inspection date be posted on the equipment.
- Training of a supervisor who monitors the work of the MEWP operator. While this is knowledge that supervisors should have had previously, the updated standard formalizes this requirement.
- Provisions for managing the safety of anyone not involved in MEWP’s operation.
While the standards remain under review, and aren’t expected to go into effect until mid-2018, any early preparation can help companies save time and money. By starting to update your safety protocols and, potentially, your equipment, you’ll be better prepared to protect your workers in accordance with tomorrow’s OSHA inspection process.