Safety is important with any machine, but when the workstation is elevated above the ground, safety becomes even more crucial. How can a rental business ensure a safe rental for its customers?
Training is always critical. Both your rental employees and your customers need to be trained on the proper operation of any aerial equipment.
"In my opinion, everyone involved in the operation of this type of equipment should have some formal operator safety training," says Tony Deatherage with Snorkel USA. "This is important because, one, a trained operator is more aware of the dangers involved in the operation of the machine and less likely to get into a situation where they might get hurt or cause collateral damage; and two, at any time anyone in the organization (sales, service, front counter or parts personnel) may be asked a question about how to operate that piece of equipment. If someone is asked, they need to be able to give an informed answer, not guess and possibly put that operator in danger."
What's your responsibility?
When it comes to any type of elevated work platform training, keep in mind the revised ANSI standard that defines rental business requirements for scissor lift training. The standard - ANSI/SIA A92.6-2006 Self Propelled Elevating Work Platforms - states "the dealer (rental business) must offer 'appropriate training' to facilitate owners, users and operators to comply with the requirements set forth in this standard."
Eric Ludwig, product manager with Genie Industries, says it's the responsibility of the user to accept that offer or to provide training by some other means.
The dealer is also responsible upon delivery to provide, by means of a qualified person, "familiarization upon delivery" to "a person designated by the receiving entity to accept the aerial platform."
Basically this means that, when renting to a customer, the rental business is only responsible for familiarizing the renter with the machine. It's up to the renter to ensure the operator of that machine is properly trained.
Keep in mind, familiarization is specific to a machine, while training is general to all like machines.
According to Deatherage, in addition to making sure a renter has been familiarized to the equipment at the time of delivery, rental businesses should also:
- Make sure the designated person, qualified person or operator knows where the operators' manual is located.
- Make sure all manuals on the machine are specified by the manufacturer.
- Review all operator controls - upper and lower - with a designated person, qualified person or operator.
- Review all safety devices specific to the model being delivered.
Rental employee training
So, as a rental business, you only have to ensure that you have familiarized the customer with the scissor lift. But do your rental employees need to be trained?
When a rental business employee is directed to load, unload, inspect or demonstrate a machine, then the rental business needs to ensure that its employee has been trained and familiarized with the equipment.
"Anyone within a rental company's organization who may be expected to operate aerial platforms as part of their employment duties (truck driver, mechanic, etc.) must be trained and appropriately familiarized with the proper operation of the equipment they will be using," says Brad Boehler, director of product safety with Skyjack. "The [rental business] has a moral and regulatory duty to ensure that its employees have received proper training."
All the manufacturers of aerial equipment sourced for this article offer some type of training, including operator training and train-the-trainer courses.
Training typically covers regulations, equipment and operational practices. "Classes cover student understanding of the applicable ANSI standards and OSHA regulations to help ensure compliance with respective responsibilities," says Todd Truax, director of training with JLG Industries Inc. "In addition, knowledge of the equipment and understanding of the potential hazards involved with operation [are also taught.]"