Changes are coming to aerial lifts — now to be called Mobile Elevating Work Platforms (MEWPs) — and the American National Standards Institute (ANSI) standards that dictate their design and usage. ANSI A92, developed by a standards committee after almost two years of work, addresses the design of new aerial lift equipment as well as the type of training operators, supervisors and maintenance personnel must receive.
"The ANSI A92 is also bringing us closer to a global standard; there were things in the current European standards that weren’t part of the present code," said Jennifer Stiansen, Director of Marketing for JLG Industries Inc., a manufacturer of aerial lifts. Canada adopted its new standard, CSA B354, in 2017.
One big change made in ANSI A92 is the way aerial lifts are classified. All will be referred to as Mobile Elevating Work Platforms (MEWPs), and there will be two classes:
Each group is further broken down into:
"ANSI and CSA are trying to get their standards more global, so they are beginning to use the same terminology that has been used abroad," explained Lee Braden, Manager of Safety Training at United Academy, the training branch of Elite Construction Equipment.
ANSI A92 will set new training requirements. For example, the people who maintain the MEWPs will have to receive training on the new features, like the tilt and load sensors. Supervisors on the ground who are in charge of the lift crews will also have to receive specific training, which wasn’t previously required.
"In addition, if you as an operator have somebody who is going up in the boom lift with you, it’s now your responsibility to explain to that individual the basics of what they should do if something happens to you — how they can get you both back down," said Braden. There must also be a dedicated person on site who knows how to operate the equipment from the ground if the occupants in the platform are unable to lower themselves.
ANSI A92 also requires a site- and equipment-specific rescue plan. “"Although that’s always been needed, until this revision it has not been spelled out in ANSI. So folks are going to have to be thinking about and creating a documented rescue plan in case an operator is elevated in a 60-foot boom lift and it no longer functions. What do they do? How would they be rescued?" said Braden.
Another new requirement: Operators must familiarize themselves with the operation of each MEWP. In the past, an operator familiar with one type of lift would need to receive instruction from a qualified person on another lift’’s operation before operating it. Under ANSI A92, operators will be responsible for reading the operator’s manual, walking around the equipment and familiarizing themselves with it.
All of these changes will require companies to update their training for anyone who operates, supervises or maintains MEWPs. Elite Construction Equipment is well on its way to completing the necessary changes.
"Not too long ago we completed an upgrade of our blended learning program, and while we were making the modifications we inserted the upcoming ANSI changes, so we are ahead of the curve and able to train our employees and customers on the upcoming changes," said Braden. (Elite Construction Equipment’s blended learning program allows operators seeking lift certifications to take classes online at their own pace and then have the practical evaluation conducted at one of Elite Construction Equipment’s branches or at their job location.)