New ANSI standards are going into effect March 1, 2020, for aerial work platforms. It is important to note that these standards are not OSHA requirements unless they would be adopted by OSHA, which is unlikely in the near future. It is also important to note that they only apply to new machines built after mid-2018; older machines do not need to be retrofitted. However, we are aware of general contractors giving their subcontractors notice that their employees need to be trained on these new standards. The new standards set guidelines for aerial work, platform design, safe use, and training, and the below provides a general overview of the new requirements.

General changes: under the new standards aerial work platforms (“AWPs”) will be called mobile elevating work platforms (“MEWPs”). They will be classified into Group A and Group B.

  • Group A will be MEWPs with platforms that move vertically but stay inside the tipping lines.
  • Group B will be all other MEWPs where the platform extends past the machine’s chassis.

Within these two groups, there will be three types.

  • Type 1 can only be driven in the stowed position.
  • Type 2 can be driven elevated but is controlled from the chassis.
  • Type 3 can be driven elevated but is controlled from the work platform.

Training: operators, occupants, and supervisors are all required to complete training. Occupant training must consist of:

  • how to use fall protection and the location of fall protection anchors;
  • how their actions could affect stability;
  • how to safely use MEWP accessories they are assigned to use;
  • how to adhere to the safety plan and avoid site-specific hazards; and
  • how to complete emergency procedures in line with manufacturer’s warnings and safety information.

Supervisor training must consist of:

  • proper MEWP selection;
  • rules, regulations, and standards that apply to MEWPs, including operation, safe use and training;
  • potential hazards associated with the use of MEWPs and how to protect against them;
  • where manufacturer’s operation manuals should be stored and how they should be used.

Design: Some of the highlights of the new design guidelines include:

  • Load sensing for overloads;
  • wind force requirements;
  • foam-filled tires requirements;
  • tilt sensor alarms;
  • new entrance gates with toe-boards as opposed to chains;
  • raised railing height requirements;
  • machine markings regarding the last inspection date.

Safe use: The safe use requirements apply to application, inspection, training, maintenance, repair and safe operation of MEWPs.

The safe use program requires inspection at defined frequencies and requires a Site Risk Assessment with very specific criteria:

  • 1 - Define the Work
  • 2 - Select a MEWP
  • 3 – Evaluate Risks
  • 4 - Identify the Controls
  • 5 - Communication

Part of identifying controls include organizing the work to minimize exposure to hazards and rescue planning. Rescue planning may include training on self-rescue, assisted rescue, or technical rescue. For smaller employers operating one MEWP, rescue planning could prove challenging depending on the work involved. The Site Risk Assessment is intended to address these issues prior to the start of work.

The above information highlights some of the new ANSI standard requirements for those employers using MEWPs. These new standards will require training for both supervisors and employees if they will be using new machines starting in March 2020 and if the ANSI standards are written as contractor requirements.