Mobile Elevating Work Platform Safety Program

Policy Approval Authority President
Responsible Division Division of Administration and Finance
Responsible University Office Environmental Health and Safety
Responsible Officer(s) Director of Environmental Health and Safety
Contact Person Scott Mooberry,
Primary Audience Faculty
Status Active
Effective Adoption Date 07-20-2015
Last Review Date 02-04-2021
Policy Category/Categories Athletics
Campus Safety / Security
Ethics & Conduct
Facilities / Real Estate
Finance / Risk Management
Human Resources / Employment
Information Technology


The purpose of the Mobile Elevating Work Platform Program (“Program”) is to establish procedures for the safe operation of mobile elevating work platforms used on NIU property as well as to ensure compliance with applicable safety standards.

Applicable Regulations and Standards

  • NIU Health and Safety Policy
  • Facilities Management and Campus Services EH&S Policy
  • 56 IL Admin Code Part 350 Health and Safety Code
  • OSHA 29 CFR 66 (Powered Platforms for Building Maintenance)
  • OSHA 29 CFR 67 (Vehicle Mounted Elevating and Rotating Work Platforms)
  • OSHA 29 CFR 68 (Man-lifts)
  • OSHA 29 CFR 20 (General Safety & Health Provisions)
  • OSHA 29 CFR 21 (Safety Training and Education)
  • OSHA 29 CFR 451 (General Requirements)
  • OSHA 29 CFR 453 (Aerial Lifts)
  • ANSI A92-2018 (Mobile Elevating Work Platforms)
  • ANSI 20-2020 (Design, Calculations, Safety Requirements and Test Methods for Mobile Elevating Work Platforms)
  • ANSI 22-2020 (Safe Use of Mobile Elevating Work Platforms)
  • ANSI 24-2018 (Training Requirements for Use, Operation, Inspection, Testing and Maintenance of Mobile Elevating Work Platforms)
  • ANSI/ISEA 121-2018 (Dropped Object Prevention Solutions)


This program applies to all powered or manually operated personnel lifting equipment operated by NIU personnel or contractors on campus property. These machines, known as mobile elevating work platforms (MEWPs) are categorized as follows:


  • Group A – A MEWP that moves vertically but within tipping lines, such as a scissor lift.
  • Group B – A MEWP that can move beyond the tipping lines (wheels or outriggers), such as a boomlift.


  • Type 1 – Machine can only be driven with the platform in the stored position.
  • Type 2 – Machine can be driven elevated but is controlled from the chassis.
  • Type 3 – Machine can be driven elevated and is controlled from the work platform.


Environmental Health and Safety Department (EH&S)

  • Perform an annual review and update of the Program as needed.
  • Coordinate and schedule training.
  • Provide guidance and technical support as needed.
  • Audit affected departments periodically for compliance.

Department Supervisors/Foremen

  • Read and comply with this Program.
  • Participate in MEWP supervisor safety training.
  • Ensure MEWPs assigned to the department are properly inspected, tested and maintained in accordance with manufacturer requirements and applicable safety regulations.
  • Maintain records of lift inspection, testing, maintenance and repairs.
  • Ensure operators receive appropriate training as needed.
  • Ensure operators and occupants of boom and/or bucket truck MEWPs are trained in fall protection and use appropriate fall protection equipment.
  • Assign or arrange for a trained operator to be on the ground monitoring the work and available to lower the work platform in the event of an emergency where the operator cannot.
  • Maintain records of operator This includes a record of makes & models of MEWPs on which the operator was trained.
  • Ensure operators are provided with specific familiarization for each model of MEWP assigned.
  • Ensure operators complete the Aerial Lift Pre Operation Inspection Checklist before operating the (See Appendix A or EH&S website for form.)
  • For battery-powered MEWPs, ensure appropriate personal protective equipment (PPE), emergency safety shower and fire extinguisher equipment located adjacent to the battery charging station are properly maintained.
  • Observe the operation of MEWPs and correct unsafe behaviors and practices of operators.
  • Verify with rental company that MEWP has been inspected, tested and maintained and is safe for use before renting.


  • Read and comply with this Program.
  • Receive operator safety training.
  • Receive fall protection training if operating boom and/or bucket trucks.
  • Read operating manual and safety procedures of the MEWP to be used.
  • Understand the safe operation of the MEWP assigned for use.
  • Complete the Aerial Lift Pre-Operation Inspection Checklist (See Appendix A or form in EH&S website) before operating any MEWP.
  • Train fellow occupants of the work platform on how to operate the controls of the MEWP in an emergency where the operator cannot.
  • Train fellow occupants on how to work safely on work platform.
  • Tag MEWPs that do not pass daily inspection (as Unsafe, Contributing to Unsafe Conditions or In Need of Repair) using the “Out of Service” form provided in Appendix Report any deficiencies or need for repairs to the supervisor.
  • Do not use equipment that has failed inspection or has an “Out of Service” tag affixed to it for any reason until it has been repaired and returned to service.
  • Observe the operation of MEWPs by others and report unsafe practices, problems or malfunctions to the supervisor.
  • If using a battery-powered MEWP, charge battery at its designated charging station after operating lift. Don proper PPE (safety glasses, face shield, long sleeves, chemical apron, chemical gloves) when inspecting the cells or adding electrolyte or water to the battery.


  • Receive training on how to work safely on the work platform to be used.
  • Receive training on how to operate the MEWP’s controls in an emergency where the operator cannot.
  • Receive training on what to do if they fall and await rescue or witness another worker’s fall.
  • Receive site specific instructions to follow related to operation of the MEWP.
  • Receive information on the hazards related to the task and how to avoid them.
  • Receive instruction regarding manufacturer’s instructions and warnings.


Contractors are expected to provide their own MEWPs when working on NIU property. The NIU project manager and/or the department coordinating the contractor work must provide written approval to the contractor in the event there is a need to deviate from this practice. Contractor employees are allowed to use MEWPs owned by NIU as long as the lift is operated by an NIU trained operator. The contractor is expected to provide all appropriate MEWP and fall protection training as well as personal fall arrest equipment for contractor employees. Such training documentation is to be provided to the NIU project manager or department coordinating the contractor work prior to the work.

Maintenance and Repair of MEWPs

Only third-party qualified service technicians certified by the manufacturer on the particular makes and models of MEWPs shall service, maintain and repair this equipment. This is to be done in accordance with applicable OSHA and ANSI Standards and manufacturer’s requirements. Modifying lifts is prohibited unless performed in accordance with applicable requirements outlined in ANSI standards and OSHA regulations.

Inspection of MEWPs

Annual Safety Inspections

MEWPs shall be inspected annually by a third-party qualified service technician certified by the manufacturer to work on that make and model. When a lift passes inspection, the technician shall affix a label noting the date of the inspection and place it in a conspicuous location on the MEWP. A record of the inspection shall be kept on file by the department owning the equipment.

Inspection Prior to Use

Before using a MEWP the operator shall inspect the lift for damage and defects which may affect the safe operation of the lift. Inspections must include, but not limited to, the following:

  • Bent or broken structural members
  • Cracked welds
  • Hydraulic, pneumatic or fuel leaks
  • Damaged controls, cables and wiring harness
  • Loose wires
  • Poor condition of tires or wheels
  • Absence or damage to outriggers, stabilizers and other structures
  • Absence of a guardrail system
  • Low electrolyte levels in accessible batteries
  • Slippery conditions on the work platform
  • Other items specified by the manufacturer.

The MEWP Pre-Operation Inspection Checklist form is found in Appendix A and also on the EH&S website under Forms. Operators are required to complete a copy of the form prior to using a lift. Operators must review the operating instructions and safety procedures before using the lift. (If the manual is absent inform the supervisor so a replacement manual can be ordered.)

Any defect or deficiency shall be reported to the supervisor and the head of the department owning the lift. The lift must be tagged ‘out of service’ (See Appendix B for sign) and kept out of service until the lift is evaluated and appropriate repairs have been made. The department owning the lift shall keep a record of repairs and safety inspections for each lift in its inventory.


Operator Training

Prior to using a lift, operators must receive training which includes both classroom instruction and a ‘hands-on” exercise. Training shall consist of the following:

  • Proper selection of MEWP for the work.
  • Rules, regulations and standards regarding MEWPs.
  • Potential hazards associated with the use of MEWPs and means to protect against hazards.
  • Importance of maintaining the operating manual and storing it properly in a weather resistant compartment on the equipment.
  • Factors on how their actions could affect stability.
  • Hazards related to the site and task and how to avoid such hazards.
  • Manufacturer’s instructions and warnings.
  • Performing a workplace risk assessment including rescue planning.
  • “Hands-on” training on the types of MEWPs they will be operating.
  • An operator may be sent for remedial training if:
    • The operator is observed using a lift unsafely.
    • The operator is involved in an accident or near miss.
    • The operator’s evaluation indicates a need for additional training and/or practice.

    Operator training records shall be maintained in the operator’s department. Records shall include:

    • Name of individual trained
    • Subject of training (operator or train-the-trainer)
    • Date of training
    • Name of trainer
    • List of the makes and models on which the operator has received familiarization.

    Occupant Training

    Operators are required to train fellow occupants of a work platform prior to starting work in a MEWP. This training is to consist of:

    • Instruction on how to operate the MEWP’s controls in an emergency where the operator cannot.
    • Instruction on how to work safely on the work platform.
    • The use of fall protection, including what to do if the occupant falls and awaits rescue or witnesses another worker’s fall.

    Supervisor Training

    Supervisors are to receive the same classroom MEWP safety training as operators, but not the hands-on portion of the class. Training includes but is not limited to:

    • The proper selection of MEWP for the work,
    • Rules, regulations and standards regarding MEWPs,
    • Potential hazards associated with the use of MEWPs,
    • Means to protect against such hazards,
    • The importance of maintaining the operating manual and storing it properly in a weather resistant compartment on the equipment,
    • The evaluation of work sites for safety hazards, and
    • Rescue plans.

    Safe Work Practices

    Pre-Lift Operation

    • Inspect the lift from the ground. Test operations. (Use the Mobile Elevating Work Platform Pre- Operation Inspection Checklist. See Appendix A.)
    • Inspect work area and route to work area.
      • Group A, Type 1 (single man lifts, push-around stock picker) - Ensure that outriggers (if so equipped) are in a stowed position for moving and deploy them when in proper position for work. Stow them before moving the lift.
      • Group A, Type 3 (electric scissor lifts, drivable stock picker) - If the lift is designed to be driven from work site to work site it shall be done with the platform low to the ground.
      • Group B, Type 3 (boom lifts) - Retract boom but keep platform high enough for the operator to see over the drive platform so to observe traffic or pedestrians in the path of travel.
    • Guardrails must be in place and access gates or gaps must be closed before raising the platform.
    • Boom and platform load limits specified by manufacturer shall not be exceeded.

    Post-Lift Operation

    • Position lift in a suitable parking area with the basket in the stowed position, controls placed in neutral, engine idling for gradual cooling. Turn off all power. Take necessary steps to prevent unauthorized use.
    • Shut off power prior to fueling. Fueling must be done in a well-ventilated area free of flame, sparks, electric arcs or other hazards that may cause fires or explosions.
    • Follow proper recharging procedure for electrically powered MEWPs.

    Site Hazard Assessment and Rescue Plan

    The risks associated with MEWP operations must be identified prior to using a MEWP. These are related to the location where the work is to be carried out, getting the MEWP to that location, the nature of the MEWP, personnel, materials and/or equipment to be transported.

    It is necessary to identify hazard control measures, safe work procedures, rescue from height, and communication with others working in or near the worksite. The form in Appendix C should be completed and retained on-site until completion of the work. The completed form shall be returned to the supervisor and retained on file for compliance purposes.

    Work Area Inspection

    Areas where MEWPs are scheduled for use shall be inspected prior to operating a MEWP and rechecked during use. The operator shall examine the work area for possible hazards, including but not limited to:

    • Slopes, holes, drop-offs, trenches, pits or other leading edges.
    • Soft soils, particularly near creeks, streams, ponds or lagoons.
    • Ground or floor obstructions, such as bumps, debris, tools, other lifts or other equipment.
    • Inadequate height and width clearances for the platform and chassis.
    • Inadequate surface and support to withstand all load forces imposed by the MEWPs.
    • Wind and weather conditions (winds in excess of 20 mph, lightning, audible thunder, weather warnings, snow obscuring view of ground condition, ice).
    • Presence of unauthorized pedestrians in work area.
    • Protecting bystanders by placing barricades around worksite, posting another employee to keep bystanders at a safe distance or other effective means to isolate the work area from pedestrian and motor traffic.
    • Observing wind speeds and/or anticipated gusts. At 20 mph the work platform or basket shall be lowered to a height of no more than 20 At 25 mph the work platform or basket shall be grounded.
    • If there is thunder or lightning, bring the basket all the way down and get the crew to safe shelter until the storm has passed. Wait for a minimum of one-half hour after the last rumble of thunder to avoid chance of lightning strike before resuming work.
    • Pay particular attention to overhead obstructions, electrical lines and other electrical hazards.

    Lift Operation

    • When driving boom lifts, raise basket to a height sufficient for the operator to see over the lift’s drive platform and observe any pedestrians or possible obstructions in the path of travel.
    • Pay attention to direction of travel and clearances above, below and to all sides of lift.
    • While driving pay attention to road hazards such as potholes, obstacles in road, uneven or soft surfaces.
    • Limit the speed of MEWPs, taking into account ground surface conditions, visibility, slope, congestion, location of personnel and other factors that may cause hazards to other people nearby.
    • Limit the distance the MEWP must travel. Certain MEWPs are designed to be transported rather than driven to a worksite. Such MEWPs have been known to seize up after a certain amount of time travelling. Take this into account when preparing the site assessment and safety plan.
    • MEWP shall not be operated on grades, side slopes or ramps that exceed manufacturer’s recommendations.
    • Once in position, brakes shall be set and outriggers, if used, shall be positioned on pads or solid When working on an incline, wheel chocks must be in place before using the lift.
    • Do not sit or climb on guard rails.
    • Operator’s equipment must be secured inside the work basket, preferably tethered to prevent hazard of dropped objects.
    • Ladders or any other equipment or device intended to gain further height shall not be used in or on the MEWP.
    • Do not exceed load limits posted on lift. Load limit total includes the weight of the operator, any other occupants and tools or equipment present in the platform or basket.
    • Occupancy limits shall not be exceeded.
    • Do not move MEWP across the ground while boom is extended.
    • MEWP shall not be used as a crane.
    • The basket or work platform shall not be rested against another object (building, pole, tree, ) to steady the elevated platform. (Hydraulic pressure will decrease, and the basket will suddenly drop several feet when moved.)
    • Horseplay and stunt driving shall not be tolerated.
    • Operators shall call for assistance if the basket or any part of the machine becomes entangled.
    • In the event of a mechanical failure, operators and occupants shall not attempt to climb out of the basket or platform or climb down the boom. Ground controls can be used by another trained operator with the stranded operator’s permission or the trained occupant can lower the platform. Permission is implied if the operator is unconscious.

    Post Lift Operation

    Follow post operation procedures listed above.



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