Upon release of a story stating that the Washington State Department of Labor and Industries was requiring the use of harnesses on scissor lifts, Aerial Work Platform Training (AWPT), an organization promoting the safe and effective use of powered access equipment, sought clarification of the new requirement.

After speaking with Dan K. McMurdie, compliance operations manager from the State of Washington’s Division of Occupational Safety & Health, AWPT’s Tony Groat learned that there was a misunderstanding of the rules.

“The Division of Occupational Safety and Health has not changed the requirements for fall protection while using scissor lifts. The requirement is still standard guardrails on all open sides. Full-body harness and lanyard is only required when working from a boom-elevated platform or rotating aerial device,” McMurdie said.

The misunderstanding of the rule apparently stemmed from the wording, “Make sure all persons in the platform wear a full-body harness with lanyard attached.” This section, however, pertains only to “Aerial Lifts,” which are “an aerial device mounted on a vehicle such as a truck, trailer, or all-terrain vehicle.”

According to AWPT, scissor lifts are not considered aerial lifts. They fall into the classification of “Elevating Work Platforms.”

AWPT notes that boom lifts users should wear a full-body harness, with an adjustable lanyard set as short as is possible. Users of scissor lifts and other vertical platforms need not normally wear harnesses. AWPT stresses that the use of any platform, however, should be preceded by a job specific risk analysis and take into consideration the manufacturer’s instructions.     EC