Canadian and U.S. regulations for the safe use of mobile elevating work platforms (MEWPs), ANSI A92 and CSA B254, are being updated in an effort to better align with international standards (ISO 16368). While the current ANSI and CSA standards are product specific (i.e., there is a standard for each type of MEWP), the new revisions will be subject matter-based standards (i.e., safe use, training and design). 

The Canadian standards are finalized and will take effect in the first quarter of 2018. The U.S. standards are expected to be finalized this summer and take effect a year later.

It is important for employers to understand the significant changes in these standards, especially because some of them are specific to ANSI or CSA only, while others are shared between the two standards. Major changes to be aware of include safe use planning, supervisor training, occupant training, and maintenance and repair personnel training.

Safe Use Planning 
Under the revised ANSI and CSA standards, employers must develop a safe use program specific to MEWPs that includes, but is not limited to, the following: 
  • a site risk assessment to identify hazards, evaluate risk, develop control measures and communicate with affected persons;
  • selection, provision and use of a suitable MEWP and work equipment associated with it; 
  • access, preparation and maintenance of the site, as required, to include an assessment that the support surface is adequate to support the weight of the MEWP; 
  • MEWP maintenance, including inspections and repairs as required by the standard and recommended by the manufacturer; 
  • only trained and authorized personnel are allowed to operate and/or occupy the MEWPs; 
  • familiarization of an authorized operator with the specific MEWPs to be used; 
  • inform the operator of local site requirements, and warn and provide the means to protect against identified hazards in the areas where the MEWPs will be operated; 
  • a trained and qualified supervisor to monitor the performance of the work of the operator to ensure compliance with provisions of this standard;
  • prevention of unauthorized use of the MEWPs; and 
  • safety of persons not involved in the operation of the MEWPs.
Supervisor Training 
A major addition to the ANSI standard is the requirement that employers must ensure that all personnel who directly supervise MEWP operators are trained in the following areas:
  • proper selection of the correct MEWPs for the work to be performed; 
  • the rules, regulations and standards that apply to MEWPs, including the provisions for safe use as defined in ANSI A92.22, training and familiarization, and the work being performed; 
  • potential hazards associated with the use of MEWPs and the means to protect against identified hazards; and
  • knowledge that the manufacturer’s operating manuals are an integral part of the equipment and need to be stored properly in the MEWPs’ weather-resistant compartment.
Occupant Training 
Under ANSI and CSA, the MEWP operator must now provide instruction or otherwise ensure that all occupants in the platform have a basic level of knowledge to work safely on the equipment. This instruction must give the occupants the knowledge to complete the work activity in a safe manner. It also should provide at least one of the occupants with the knowledge to operate the controls in an emergency when the operator cannot. It is important to note that this instruction does not give the occupant authorization to operate the controls at any time except in an emergency. 

The knowledge every occupant must possess includes:
  • the requirement to use fall protection and the location of fall protection anchors; 
  • how their actions could affect stability;
  • safe use of MEWP accessories they are assigned to use; 
  • site-specific work procedures related to the operation of the MEWP; 
  • hazards related to the task at hand and their avoidance, to include any applicable site risk assessment; 
  • manufacturer’s warnings and instructions; and
  • general knowledge of the intended purpose and function of MEWP controls and safety-related items specified by the manufacturer, including emergency shut-down and lowering procedures, to the extent required to lower the MEWPs safely to the ground/stowed position. This requirement only needs to be conveyed to at least one other occupant. 
Maintenance and Repair Personnel Training
While ANSI has required maintenance personnel to be trained in the current standards, this will now be a requirement in Canada as well. Users must ensure that maintenance and repair personnel are trained by a qualified person to inspect and maintain the MEWPs in accordance with the manufacturer’s recommendations and ANSI and CSA standards. 

If a MEWP is being rented, the employer must make arrangements to identify the entity that will be responsible for the inspections and maintenance activities described in this clause.

Construction executives should obtain a copy of the standards to achieve a full understanding of the requirements and prepare for a smooth transition. Meanwhile, aerial equipment manufacturers will continue to evaluate and manufacture products to meet the most current industry standards worldwide and to provide customers with innovative work at height solutions. 

Scott Owyen is Genie training manager for Terex AWP. For more information, visit aerialpros.genielift.com.