ANSI (United States) and CSA (Canada) standards have, for almost four decades, provided best practices for safe, reliable access to work at height and have delivered a consistent benchmark for safe machine design in North America.
Standards set a safety level for all participants in the market. Good standards also bring global markets closer together, driving commonality and stronger market competition.
Why are the standards changing?
ANSI and CSA both require periodic updates to all standards. The updating process includes a review of any ISO standards that apply to the products being addressed. Benefits from incorporating ISO concepts in the new ANSI/CSA standards include: North American aerial lift manufacturers will be more closely aligned with global markets such as Europe, Australia and China.
These changes will allow aerial owners to more easily trade new and used equipment in many countries due to increased worldwide commonality of aerials.
What is changing?
- equipment terminology;
- equipment design standards;
- safe use and planning;
- risk assessment planning;
- training (operators, supervisors & occupants); and
- maintenance and repair personnel training.
Aerial Work Platforms (AWPs) will now become known as Mobile Elevating Work Platforms, or MEWPs. The word “mobile” is important because it means that the equipment can be driven, either under its own power or by manual effort; it is not stationary.
In previous iterations of the standards, AWPs were classified by product types, such as booms, scissors and so on. In the new standards, MEWP classifications are made up of a combination of two key distinguishing descriptions:
- a MEWP Group; and
- an associated MEWP Type.
A MEWP Group is determined by the platform location in reference to the equipment’s tipping line, which is either at the wheels or the outriggers.
A Group A machine has a design that does not allow the main platform to extend beyond the tipping line. In other words, the platform does not go outside of the drive chassis envelope. A perfect example of a Group A would be a scissor lift.
Conversely, a Group B machine has a design that allows the platform to extend beyond the tipping line. A great example of a Group B machine would be an articulating or telescopic boom.
A MEWP Type is in reference to the equipment’s ability to travel:
- Type 1 – traveling is allowed only with the MEWP in its stowed position;
- Type 2 – traveling with the work platform in the elevated position is controlled from
- a point on the chassis; and
- Type 3 – traveling with the work platform in the elevated travel position is controlled from a point on the work platform.
Type 2 MEWPS are not as common as the others. An example of a Group A, Type 1 MEWP would be a manually-propelled lift where the platform never extends beyond the tipping line, and the machine is designed to only be moved with the platform in the stowed position. With Group B, Type 1 MEWPs, the platform is designed to extend beyond the tipping line, and the machine is designed to only be moved with the platform in the stowed position.
An example of a Group A, Type 3 MEWP would be electric or rough terrain scissor lifts. The main platform never extends beyond the tipping line, and machine travel is controlled from the platform controls. Articulated and telescopic booms are examples of a Group B, Type 3 MEWP. The platform is designed to extend the tipping line, and machine travel is controlled from the platform controls.
Equipment Design Standards
In addition to the terminology and language changes in the new ANSI A92 and CSA B354 standards, the standards also include several big changes to the equipment itself:
- Platform Load Sense (aka Overload System or Load Sense System). All MEWPs will be required to continuously check the weight in the platform and disable certain functions if the load is above the platform load limit.
- Dynamic Terrain Sensing. Drive and certain boom functions must be disabled when out of their slope limit and functions restricted only to those that safely return the machine to terrain that is within limits.
- Indoor-only Machines. Allows for the development of smaller, lighter-weight MEWPs bearing an “indoor only” rating because these MEWPs cannot be used in conditions where they might be subjected to any wind.
In addition to the changes highlighted above, there will be many other alterations including:
- toeguards on work platform entrances;
- prohibited use of chain gates and flexible gates; and
- reduced lift and lower speeds on some models.
Safe Use and Planning
The user must develop a Safe Use Program specific to MEWPS which must include, but not be limited to:
- performing a site risk assessment;
- selection, provision and use of a suitable MEWP and associated equipment;
- an assessment that the support surface is adequate to support the weight of the MEWP;
- MEWP maintenance including inspections and repairs as required;
- inform the operator of local site requirements and warn and provide the means to protect against identified hazards;
- have a trained and qualified supervisor to monitor the performance or the work of the operator;
- prevention of unauthorized use of the MEWP; and
- safety of persons not involved in the operation of the MEWP.
Risk Assessment and Rescue Planning
The risks associated with the task specific to MEWP operations shall be identified. These might be associated with the location where the work is to be carried out, the nature of the MEWP or the personnel, materials and equipment to be carried:
- identify control measures;
- identify safe work procedures;
- rescue from height; and
- communicate the results.
The user must develop a written rescue plan that will be carried out in the case of machine breakdown, platform entanglement or fall from platform. The plan shall be put in writing and become part of the company’s training manual.
All occupants must receive training that explains procedures to follow if they fall and await rescue or witness another worker’s fall. This plan must limit the time that a properly restrained worker hangs suspended in the air. Rescue plans can include the following:
- self-rescue by the person involved;
- assisted rescue by others in the work area; and
- technical rescue by emergency services.
Training for Operators, Supervisors and Occupants
To prepare for these standards changes, it is important for users (most commonly the employer) to understand several significant changes.
Supervisor Training (ANSI only)
The user must ensure that all personnel that directly supervise MEWP operators are trained in the following areas:
- proper selection of the correct MEWP for the work to be performed;
- rules, regulations and standards that apply to MEWPs, including the provisions for safe use as defined in ANSI A92.22 Training and Familiarization, and the work being performed;
- potential hazards associated with use of MEWPs and the means to protect against identified hazards;
- knowledge that the manufacturer’s operating manual(s) are an integral part of the equipment and need to be stored properly in the weather resistant compartment on the MEWP.
The MEWP operator must ensure that all occupants in the platform have a basic level of knowledge to work safely on the MEWP:
- the requirement to use fall protection and the location of fall protection anchors;
- factors including how their actions could affect stability;
- safe use of MEWP accessories they are assigned to use;
- site-specific work procedures the occupants must follow related to the operation of the MEWP;
- hazards related to the task at hand and their avoidance;
- manufacturer’s warnings and instructions;
- at least one of the occupants must be provided with the knowledge to operate the controls in an emergency where the operator cannot.
Maintenance and Repair Personnel Training
Users must ensure that maintenance and repair personnel are trained by a qualified person to inspect and maintain the MEWP in accordance with the manufacturer’s recommendations, as well as ANSI and CSA standards.
In the case where a MEWP is being rented, arrangements must be made by the owner to identify the entity that will be responsible for the inspections and maintenance activities described in the standard:
- frequent Inspections, when the MEWP is put into service or has been out of service for three months; and
- annual Inspections, performed no later than 13 months after the previous annual inspection.
The industry will be facing additional changes. Consider purchasing a copy of the standards in order to achieve a full understanding of the requirements. Do not to underestimate the impact the introduction of the new ANSI/CSA standards will have and start preparing now for a smoother transition.