18 Tips on Safe Way to Operate a Boom Lift

Tips on Safe Way to Operate a Boom Lift

What should you not do on a boom lift

Safe way to operate a boom lift is frequently based on a common-sense approach and includes a set of standard procedures in all professional height access enterprises concerned about worker and client safety.

Alpha Platforms is an IPAF-Certified height access organization that is also an IPAF Certification and Training Center. Every Alpha Platforms boom lift operator is also certified by the boom lift manufacturers and have decades of experience with a safe track record on manlifts.

Alpha Platforms clients enjoy our all-inclusive height access service and not being responsible for equipment maintenance and safety. In addition to unparalleled built-in safety controls of our German-engineered aerial platforms, our operators conduct daily safety inspections.

We’ve taken all of our safety experience and knowledge and curated a practical list of procedures that can help your height access team to adhere to safe ways to operate a boom lift:


  1. Use only well-maintained height access equipment.
  2. Maintain constant and clear communication with the boom lift operator.
  3. Never use the boom assembly to enter or leave the platform.
  4. Complete a pre-lift boom inspection.
  5. Wear appropriate PPE clothing and equipment.
  6. Maintain your balance at all times.
  7. Do not use scaffolding on ladders in the aerial lift platform.
  8. Harnesses can save lives.
  9. Do not lean on guard rails or attempt to leave the basket.
  10. Be extra careful during raising or lowering of the platform.
  11. Avoid windy conditions and heavy rains.
  12. Stay at or under the weight capacity.
  13. Include everything you will be lifting into the declared weight calculation.
  14. Do not climb or sit on the outer edges of an elevated platform.
  15. Maintain an appropriate distance from power lines.
  16. Avoid crushing and collision hazards.
  17. Make sure all objects and equipment on the platform are securely tethered.
  18. Ensure the base and surroundings are clear.

1. Use only well-maintained height access equipment

When arriving at the job, especially when renting or using equipment you have not worked with before or just rented, inspect it visually.

If the boom lift seems to be malfunctioning or is slightly damaged, avoid using it and don’t hesitate to inform the rental company or the operator about your suspicions. Check that the safety devices are present and in good condition and clean (harness anchor points, steps for access, guard rails).

2. Maintain constant and clear communication with the boom lift operator

When working at heights, the workers (client laborers such as window cleaners, painters, technicians, etc.) and the lift operator must become a well-coordinated team to perform the job safely and effectively.

Make sure to pre-establish an effective and clear communication system through a combination of hand signals and/or two-way walkie-talkies. This ensures you and your co-workers understand what’s happening at all times and reduces any confusion, resulting in fewer injuries and accidents.

3. Never use the boom assembly to enter or leave the platform

Use extreme caution when entering or leaving the platform and only ride in the basket.

Be sure that the boom is fully lowered. It is necessary to telescope out to position the platform closer to the ground for entry/exit. Face the machine, maintain “three-point contact” with the machine, using two hands and one foot or two feet and one hand during entry and exit.

4. Complete a pre-lift boom inspection

Always ask the operator to test the aerial lift before starting the operation.

Make sure it’s in working condition. Before deploying a lift, the operator must thoroughly inspect the boom. Typically, this is done before each work shift to ensure the equipment is safe to operate. Undetected issues increase the risk of accidents. The operator should go through a series of maintenance checkpoints to make sure the machine is in good working order, including tire and brake inspection, an engine check, and an examination of the surrounding area for potential hazards.

5. Use appropriate PPE clothing and equipment

A crucial step to safely operating a boom lift is for all operators to wear correct and properly sized PPE clothing.

Personal protective equipment is protective and high visual clothing such as hard hats, goggles, and steel-toe and rubber-soled shoes and gloves. This type of clothing helps protect operators and height workers from injury and unknown hazards.

6. Maintain your balance at all times

Keep both feet firmly positioned on the platform floor at all times.

Special shoes with non-slip, rubber soles will help you to feel more stable for the task at hand. During cold winter months, a puddled floor will turn into ice.

Alpha Platforms boom lifts are equipped with floor heating technology to prevent ice from forming, thereby reducing chances of accidental slippage.

7. Don’t use scaffolding on ladders in the aerial lift platform

Adding scaffolding to the platform or bucket can greatly increase your risk of falling.

Never attempt this even if the scaffolding falls under weight capacity limits.

Rent taller lifts: Alpha Platforms offers rental lifts up to 300 feet in height and up to 135 feet in side reach. This also means that you should not use ladders or anything else for extra height.

8. Harnesses can save lives

A simple but vital safety measure is wearing a harness and ensuring the lanyard is fully secured to the bucket (even the slightest bump from another piece of equipment or object can throw an operator off-balance and put them at risk of falling).

During operation, workers on the platform must wear a full-body harness with a lanyard attached to an authorized lanyard anchor point, even when it’s not at its maximum height. Attach only one lanyard per lanyard anchor point.

9. Do not lean on guard rails or attempt to leave the basket

Even if you’re wearing a harness, you can still fall out of the platform by leaning or hanging over the guard rails. If you cannot reach something, adjust the lift’s position and height accordingly.

Once at height, the operator must never attempt to leave the basket. The door must remain properly closed so that the basket can always ensure built-in safety measures.

10. Be extra careful during raising or lowering of the platform

When the boom lift is raising or lowering the platform, hold onto the railing for extra safety.

The guard rail is designed to keep you inside the platform, but in the event of strong winds or lift malfunction, wearing a harness can save your life.

11. Avoid windy conditions and heavy rains

Consider not using a boom lift during unfavorable weather conditions, such as strong winds and heavy rains. Also, some production situations may necessitate the need for sharp reactions, which can result in a fall or other injuries.

When a boom lift is extended very high, the wind can pose a substantial safety concern. If the wind is strong enough, it can completely knock over a boom lift. Each lift has a wind speed threshold, so reviewing the user manual is critical for an operator to understand the specific lift restrictions and identify strategies for using the lift in challenging weather.

Alpha Platforms’ boom lifts have built-in wind monitors and safe working envelopes that prohibit unsafe operation.

12. Stay at or under the weight capacity

All boom lifts have their own weight capacity. Adhering to the limit ensures the operator and working crew are safe. One potential lift hazard is lifting something too heavy, resulting in the boom tipping over.

Therefore, it’s best to stay under the weight capacity at all times. Increased boom lift height decreases machine stability, which further decreases with more added weight than it can handle. Ensure all power and tool cables are clear from snags and any extra weight does not surpass the recommended load capacity.

13. Include everything you will be lifting into the declared weight calculation

Never use heavy machinery other than for purposes for which it’s designed.

Alpha Platforms’ boom lifts have built-in weight checks and will not allow the boom lift to operate with unsafe or above-limit loads. The manufacturer also built in a safety procedure in case of an accidental excess load, which saves lives and eliminates damage to equipment and surroundings.

Note that an aerial lift’s weight limitations also include the workers, tools, and other attachments in the bucket - this includes everything you lift and add to the basket and everything you take down to the ground. Calculating the weight correctly ensures operating within the weight limit to avoid an emergency or accident.

14. Don’t climb or sit on the outer edges of an elevated platform

When on the platform of a boom lift, it’s tempting to climb on the platform’s edge to reach something instead of moving the entire boom lift to reach it.

However, that’s more dangerous than you may realize. Climbing or sitting on the edge of the platform significantly increases one’s chances of falling off and can result in serious injury. If something isn’t accessible, communicate with the boom lift operator who will position the platform where you can easily and safely reach what’s needed.

15. Maintain an appropriate distance from power lines

Electrocution is among the top three causes of injury or death during boom lift operation.

This shouldn’t be surprising given the heights at which boom lifts are often used. It’s likely you’ll be level with power lines at some point while operating a boom lift, so it’s important to maintain a safe distance away from them.

Maintain a distance of at least 10 feet (3 meters) between the power lines and the lift at all times. Power lines should also always be treated as though they are live wires, even if they appear insulated or you’ve been told they are down. It’s better to be overly cautious and safe.

16. Avoid crushing and collision hazards

Always pay attention to the area around you. The path of travel is not always safe due to obstacles, debris, holes, etc. Pay close attention to overhead hazards. Approved headgear must be worn by all operating personnel. Check the work area for clearances overhead, on sides, and underneath the platform when lifting or lowering the platform.

Fortunately, Alpha Platforms manlifts eliminate the need to drive while elevated, minimizing the risks of damage or accident. Our large work envelope helps clients reach up to 135 feet of side reach and up to 300 feet high from a single parking spot. During operation, keep all body parts inside the platform railing.

17. Make sure all objects and equipment on the platform are securely tethered

Always ensure that power tools are properly stowed and never left hanging by their cord from the platform work area. Supplies or tools that extend outside the platform are typically prohibited by commercial rental companies.

Unlike traditional equipment rental companies, Alpha Platforms provides a PowerList system and a Cage Winch to lift tools, parts, and glass up to 660 lbs. at no additional charge to our clients. They are most often used by telecom companies to hoist cell tower antennas; glass companies to replace glass panels; signage companies to install building signs; painters at heights; or electricians.

Learn more about cage attachments and their features ->

18. Ensure the base and surroundings are clear

Always make sure that the base and the surroundings of the boom lift are clear of any personnel while the boom lift is in use.

The ground footprint of the working lift is often significant and tools can easily fall from the platform and seriously hurt anyone who may be standing below. Even small objects, like a cellphone falling from 300 feet, become deadly. Keeping the entire area clear minimizes the risk of anyone being hit below by falling debris.

When our boom lifts are parked in the public domain, the Alpha Platforms traffic management team ensures no one is in the danger zone. The chances of injury and damage decrease when proper precautions are followed every time a boom lift is used.

How Alpha Platforms Ensures a Safe Way to Operate a Boom Lift

In any industry, when planning to work at height, it’s important to take all precautions and find a matching aerial work platform with basic capabilities suitable for your tasks. Alpha Platforms offers an unsurpassed fleet of aerial work platforms (AWPs) delivering superb height access solutions to each client request, regardless of the conditions and task complexity.

Safety is the most essential aspect at every worksite. Each time an operator uses a boom, they inspect its mechanics before the client's arrival through job completion.

Learn more about how Alpha Platforms ensures safe boom lift operation ->

Alpha Platforms is the pioneer in operated boom lift rentals and height access service in the 150-300-ft range. Our precise German-made lifts have become the favorite height access method for those who try them once, as they combine unmatched productivity, safety, and reach.

Read more about Alpha Platforms Boom Lift Operators

Find out why Alpha Platforms is your best choice for height access solutions

See how Alpha Platforms reduces owner liability to zero


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We hope you enjoy reading this blog post. Talk to us about your height access challenges now
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