New Online Simulator Helps Avoid Common Aerial Lift Mistakes

scissors liftWorkers using aerial lifts face unique dangers: Not only do they often work at elevated heights, but there’s also the risk of pinching injuries from the mechanical features of forklifts fitted with lift platforms, scissors lifts, cherry pickers, bucket trucks, aerial ladders, and other common industrial lift equipment.

Now the Centers for Disease Control and the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health have teamed up to create an online simulator that companies can use to train workers on the proper and safe use of lift equipment.

The simulator helps identify the most common occupational hazards associated with lifts, including potholes, crushing hazards, tip-over risks, and more.

Similar to a Video Game

The Hazard Recognition Simulator walks workers through the procedures and safety features of the most common lift equipment. The free simulator — which can be downloaded from CDC’s web page — allows users to select virtually operate a scissors lift through a series of obstacles while following directions.

A boom lift simulator currently is being developed and is expected to be added to the simulator soon, according to the news release.

Like a video game, users operate the virtual lift using their keyboard and mouse controls, following green arrows through the video course with the objective of aligning the platform of the driven lift with the transparent lift platforms that can be found in various locations in the simulated work area.

Players — or rather users — are notified when each target area has been successfully reached. And the game is over when the lift is parked at its final location.

Aimed at Millennials?

The simulator is only the latest in a series of training tools designed to appeal to younger people entering the workforce who may have grown up playing video games.

Designers of the simulator cautioned that it is not intended to be used as a substitute for formal lift operation training or accreditation. Rather, it is simply supposed to raise awareness about the safe operation of lift equipment.

Free Safety Videos

Concurrent with the simulator, the NIOSH also released a series of videos that show how aerial lifts are tested against federal safety standards, as well as the manufacturer’s recommendations for the lift used.

Aerial lifts expose workers to many potential dangers, including falls, according to the CDC.

“Because they are mobile, (lifts are used as elevating equipment and are considered to be a restricted work space,” the agency said in a news release announcing the simulator. “In addition, there are various hazards that workers are exposed to because the platform can be used in a variety of conditions, some of them not approved.”

In recent years, there have been multiple instances of workers being killed or injured using lift equipment, mostly from falls. Proper safety procedures can eliminate or reduce these risks.


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