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Access 101

You Ask, We Answered: Questions About Working at Height

Expert Q&A - May 22

You Ask, We Answered: Questions About Working at Height

JLG Industries, Inc.
World-leading access equipment manufacturer
McConnellsburg, PA

Access equipment goes by many different names around the world. Depending on where you are, you may also know them as aerial lifts, aerial devices, aerial work platforms (AWP), cherry pickers, elevating work platforms (EWP), manlifts, mobile elevating work platforms (MEWP) or personnel lifts, to name a few. 

Whatever you choose to call them, this type of equipment is purpose-built to accomplish the same task: To elevate and move personnel, tools and material into position to complete work at height. 

Working at Height FAQs
To help you better prepare for using an aerial lift, below are answers to some of the most frequently asked questions we get asked about working at height…

What does it mean to work at height?
There is no specific height or measurement that classifies “working at height,” but in general, it is referred to as working in a place that requires precautions to prevent falling, such as from a step, a ladder, a roof’s edge, an opening on the floor, a hole in the ground and a loading dock — even if its inside or underground.

To reduce the risk of falling when working at height, fall protection is required by OSHA, and at JLG, we receive many inquiries each year regarding the proper use of fall protection equipment for our mobile elevating work platforms (MEWPs), formerly known as aerial work platforms (AWPs). For guidance on fall protection equipment for JLG MEWPs, click here.

Is work at height different than work in confined spaces?
Many work-at-height job sites include areas that are considered "confined spaces" because they are areas not designed for people to work constantly in — but, they are accessible and large enough for workers to enter and exit in a limited/restricted space to perform specific tasks. Some examples of confined spaces include, but are not limited to, crawl spaces, ceiling tiles, roof joists and ductwork. For specific guidance on work in confined spaces, click here.

What’s the difference between industry standards from ANSI and regulations from OSHA? 
Regulations are laws — mandatory rules that must be followed to be in compliance. 
In comparison, industry standards are voluntary guidelines that define and set best practices for the safe use of equipment in the market. They are not mandated by law unless they are incorporated, or adopted by, governing bodies into the regulations, which then make them requirements.

ANSI (American National Standards Institute) is a private organization that creates standards (voluntary), while OSHA (Occupational Safety & Health Administration) is a regulatory government body that governs occupational law (mandatory). To learn more about the difference between these organizations, click here

What is the difference between platform height and working height on MEWP specs?
A MEWP’s platform height is the maximum vertical distance the machine’s platform is capable of reaching, measured from ground level to the platform floor, while its working height is the platform height plus 6-ft (1.8-m) to account for an operator’s overhead reach. 

Knowing the most common terms used across the aerial equipment market is important to safely, and productively, working with this type of equipment. For a list of common terms associated with MEWPs, click here.

Learning the lingo of the aerial equipment market can be tough because of all the abbreviations and acronyms, especially if you are new to the access industry. For a quick reference guide to help you learn the most common terminology, abbreviations and acronyms used in the access industry, click here

What is the difference between articulating booms and straight boom?
Articulated (also known as articulating, knuckle) and Straight (also referred to as telescopic, telescoping) boom lifts each have their own unique attributes that make them better suited for different types of work. For example, a telescopic boom lets you reach farther, with more capacity, while articulating boom lifts are ideal for jobs that require operators to get “up and over” objects. For more information to help you know which one to choose, click here.

How can I prolong the life from my MEWPs batteries?
Batteries are a high-cost driver of owning/operating MEWPs. Batteries that are not properly maintained will degrade over time and require premature replacement. Therefore, inspecting and maintaining batteries is critical to ensure they are adequately charged and water levels are sufficient. For 5 tips for increasing the life of your MEWP’s battery, click here.

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