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5 Key Changes to the ANSI Standards in the Last 15 Years

Blog Posts - Oct 22

5 Key Changes to the ANSI Standards in the Last 15 Years

Jennifer Stiansen
Director of Marketing
JLG Industries

With all of the hype in the last five years about the updates to the ANSI standards in the U.S., it’s easy to forget that this wasn’t the first time that the aerial access industry underwent significant changes. And, it won’t be the last.

The North American industry continues to implement transformational changes to bring them more in line with international (ISO) standards.
5 Key Changes to ANSI Standards at a Glance

Because these changes didn’t happen overnight, in a recent Access Lift & Handlers’ article Tony Groat with IPAF (International Powered Access Federation) describes how these standards have evolved over the years and reflects on how far the industry has come.

A look back at the previous ANSI requirements

In 2006, Groat says that the ANSI/SAIA A92 standards, which referred to these products as aerial work platforms (AWP), were written by product type: A92.3 vertical lift, A92.5 boom supported, A92.6 self-propelled (scissor) lifts and A92.8 vehicle-mounted bridge inspection and maintenance devices. Each standard had its own design, safe use and training requirements. 

At the time, Groat says in the article, there is an understanding that the basic principles are common for all aerial lifts, so having harmonized language was a goal. For example, the term familiarization (which first appeared in the A92.6-1999 standard) was defined as “providing information regarding the control functions and safety devices for the aerial platform to a qualified person or operator who controls the movement of the platform.” 

He goes on to say that this replaced prior language for that same requirement, known previously as “training upon delivery.” When the other standards came due for renewal, each adopted the same language. He mentions that this is an important issue to be aware of, as the term was often misinterpreted as operator training — even though this was referred to in standards requirements as “general training.” 

You can read more about the previous ANSI A92 requirements in Access Lift & Handlers’ article “ANSI Standards – 15 Years in the Making” by clicking here.


Understanding today’s ANSI standards

More than 15 years later, today’s ANSI standards are quite a bit different, and everyone’s affected from rental companies and equipment owners to job site supervisors, machine operators and service technicians.

These standards that govern the access equipment industry, which went into effect in June 2020, reflect five key changes from the previous version.

1) Terminology has changed. For example, AWPs are now known as mobile elevating work platforms or MEWPs. For an overview of the terms you need to know, click here.

2) Instead of these machines being categorized into four product-specific standards, there are now design, safe-use and training standards that apply to all categories of these machines. For example, the machine design section in the updated standards now addresses the design, calculations, safety requirements and testing methods of these machines. This section now spells out requirements for new features that are incorporated into MEWP design, influencing the machine’s operation and/or functionality. To learn more, click here

3) There is now a single standard for the safe use of all MEWPs, rather than individual ones for each to harmonize criteria and expectations for operating these machines. This updated section specifies proper application, inspection, training, maintenance, repair and safe operation for this equipment. One criterion highlighted in the updated standards is the need to perform site risk assessments for compliance. To read how these assessments can be done in five steps, click here.

4) Training requirements in the updated standards provide detailed guidance on what operators, occupants and job site supervisors need to do to be compliant. To learn more, click here. Additional guidance is available here.

5) These changes bring the U.S. standards more in line with international (ISO) standards, enabling access OEMs like JLG to operate globally more effectively and efficiently. For additional details on JLG’s compliance with the new standards, click here.

Moving forward with the updated ANSI standards

Whenever there are updates to the ANSI standards, aerial equipment manufacturers, like JLG, play a major role in helping the industry be compliant with these new standards. That means that as an organization, our focus hasn’t been only on the equipment modifications outlined in the revised standards, but we also took the initiative to educate our customers and the industry about the changes — and, we continue to do so today.

The biggest challenge in moving forward with the updated standards is helping the industry to realize that these standards continue to influence machine designs, as well as training and safe use requirements — these were not a one-and-done implementation. 

As the industry moves forward with the updated ANSI standards, we are finding that many people — and companies — still do not fully understand the training requirements or each individual’s responsibilities for MEWPs (Mobile Elevating Work Platforms). So, the next step in being compliant with the standards is to focus on training.

JLG offers a full suite of ANSI-compliant training programs, from supervisor training to operator and equipment service training. These programs are open and available to everyone in the industry. To learn more, click here.

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ANSI Safety