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Aerial Lifts - Electrocution



Every Monday by
Grain Journal
Editor Kendall Trump
Aerial lifts (extendable boom and articulating boom platforms) have replaced ladders and scaffolding in many situations.

These lifts allow workers to access hard to reach areas. Many workers have been electrocuted while using aerial lifts.

This is usually due to contact with overhead power lines.

Fatalities can occur when a worker's body comes into contact with overhead power lines or power lines coming into contact with lift booms, platforms, or buckets.

To prevent electrocutions, take the following safety precautions:

  • Treat all overhead power lines and communication cables as if they are energized.
  • Ensure that the power utility or power line workers de-energize power lines when in close vicinity to the work.
  • Stay at least ten feet (3 meters) away from overhead power lines (<50 KV).
  • Do not operate aerial lifts when there is a threat of lightning.
  • Workers on the ground must not operate the ground controls when an aerial lift is in contact with a live electrical source until the electrical source is de-energized.

Source: Joe Mlynek is president of Progressive Safety Services LLC, Gates Mills, OH;; and content creation expert for Safety Made Simple, Inc., Olathe, KS;


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