AWPT stickers could help prevent more accidents

By Maria Hadlow12 January 2010

AWPT's new North American member development director, Tony Groat: “Rather than create multiple trai

AWPT's new North American member development director, Tony Groat: “Rather than create multiple training programs, why not standardize on one?”

The launch of warning stickers by the AWPT (American Work Platform Training) subsidiary of IPAF (the International Powered Access Federation) is timely in the light of a US roofing contractor being cited for lack of training which led to a fatal accident.

OSHA (The US Department of Labour's Occupational Safety and Health Administration) has cited Reliable Roofing & Sheet Metal LLC of Framingham, Massachusetts, for five alleged serious violations of safety standards in connection with an aerial lift accident which took place in Boston on 7 February last year. A Reliable Roofing employee was injured and an employee of another roofing contractor was killed.

The two employees were in the elevated basket of a Grove model A125J aerial lift, inspecting a rooftop at 10 West St., when the lift tipped over as it was being lowered. OSHA's inspection found that the lift was unstable due to its being improperly lowered with its upper boom extended; the protective sensors and limit switches that would have stopped its operation when it became unstable were not working properly. The Reliable Roofing employee operating the lift had not been adequately trained in its operation and had not inspected it and fully tested its controls before operating it.

Brenda Gordon, OSHA's area director for Boston and south eastern Massachusetts, said; "Adequate training and proper inspection and operating procedures would have identified these defects, stopped this lift from being operated in this condition and prevented this accident and the death and injury that resulted."

OSHA also cited Reliable Roofing for not providing fall protection training for the lift operator and lack of hardhats for its employees working beneath the lift. OSHA issues serious citations when death or serious physical harm is likely to result from hazards about which the employer knew or should have known.

The AWPT free stickers, when placed on an AWP (aerial work platform) or MCWP (mast climbing work platform), ask the operator if they have been properly trained in the operation of the equipment. AWPs and MCWPs are not suitable for use by untrained personnel and operator training is required by both OSHA and ANSI Standards prior to equipment use. These stickers will help remind operators that they must first be trained before operating the equipment. AWPT is at pains to distinguish between training and familiarisation.

“People need to understand the difference between ‘familiarisation’ and ‘training’. Proper operator training will help eliminate the risk associated with unsafe use of the equipment and avoid the hazards associated with their use. AWPT offers Technical Guidance Note F1 that defines the requirements for familiarisation and operator training.”

In addition to the “Are you trained…” stickers, AWPT also has FREE stickers available that remind operators to “Click it! Wear a full body harness with a short lanyard in boom type platforms”. These stickers are part of a world-wide effort by IPAF to promote the wearing of harnesses to eliminate the unnecessary fatal accidents that happen when occupants were catapulted out of boom platforms because they were not wearing the proper safety equipment.

Many rental companies and equipment manufacturers are now placing these stickers on all of their boom-type platforms. In addition to the “Click it!” stickers, AWPT also offers Technical Guidance Note H1 that explains the ANSI requirements for personal fall protection in boom-supported work platforms.

All of the above materials are available free from AWPT and can be ordered by contacting Tony Groat at Tel: +1 518 280 2486; E-mail: tony.groat@awpt.org, or they can be viewed and downloaded from the AWPT web site at www.awpt.org.

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