Equipment

Understanding New ANSI A92 Standard Changes

Recent ANSI updates regarding mobile elevated work platforms, formerly called aerial work platforms, affect the design and operation of equipment such as boom lifts and scissor lifts. Here’s what equipment operators need to know about the new ANSI A92 standard.
By Jeff Stachowiak
November 27, 2020
Topics
Equipment

Many construction jobs require working from heights, which often calls for using mobile elevated work platforms (MEWP) such as boom lifts and scissor lifts.

Recent updates from the American National Standards Institute (ANSI) regarding MEWPs, formerly called aerial work platforms, affect the design and operation of this type of equipment. The changes to the ANSI A92 standard are intended to reduce accidents and improve safe design and use of MEWPs. These updates also help unify the standards used around the world for MEWPs.

New ANSI A92 standard

The updated A92 standards regarding the design, safe use and training for MEWPs went into effect on June 1, 2020, for the United States. Canada Standards Association CSA B354 went into effect a year ago. The updated ANSI standards are A92.20 Design, A92.22 Safe Use and A92.24 Training.

While OEMs are already executing design changes to products based on the new standards, these updates will not require an immediate investment in new equipment for owners, rental companies and contractors. Integration of new MEWPs will take eight to 10 years in most rental fleets since the design changes are not retroactive and do not apply to remanufactured equipment. However, it’s still important for contractors and business owners to understand the effect of the new standards.

What do these changes mean?

Even though it’s not necessary to immediately purchase new equipment that complies with this standard, there will be an eventual cost to business owners and contractors. Costs are expected to increase between 6% to 10% depending on the equipment.

The standard also introduces new responsibilities for training and documentation (outlined below) regarding MEWPs. Contractors and owners who own or rent this equipment are responsible for ensuring that proper training and documentation happens. This includes indicating annual inspection dates on the MEWP and checking it at prestart, as well as keeping records of the training, familiarization and service of the MEWP.

There are also numerous equipment design changes included in the new standard that will present some differences. Users, technicians and supervisors need to understand how the lifts are designed and how they work.

A92.22 Safe Use and A92.24 Training

The new safe use and training standards are intended to reduce accidents when MEWPs are used on the job. These standards apply to every operator and company that uses mobile elevated work platforms.

They require the following.

  • Supervisor training: Supervisors are responsible for proper selection of the MEWP for the work to be performed. Supervisors also must understand the rules, regulations and standards that apply to MEWPs and potential hazards associated with their use.
  • Occupant training: MEWP occupants must use personal fall protection and be trained in safe use of MEWP accessories, site-specific work procedures and hazards related to the task.
  • Qualified operator training: Operators must be properly trained, authorized and familiarized with the MEWP before use. The requirements of each of these three steps are listed in the new standards.

In addition to proper training, the standards require that annual inspections be identified on the MEWP and be part of the prestart inspection. The annual inspection must be within 13 months of the current date.

The standards also include a risk assessment process to identify potential hazards associated with a task and specific work environment. Operator responsibilities include assessing risk for overhead hazards, ground support, platform capacities and material handling, and a rescue plan.

A92.20 Design

This standard implements numerous design-related updates for OEMs, including the following.

  • Load sensing: MEWPs will measure the weight in the platform and stop elevating if overloaded. Indicator lights show when the platform is overloaded. Booms will stay inside the appropriate load envelope and range of motion based on the weight in the platform.
  • Tilt sensing and out of level: MEWPs will measure how level the lift is, and the machine will shut down lift, telescope and drive capabilities if the equipment is out of level when elevated. The degree to which equipment must be out of level will vary by make and model.
  • Wind exposure: New MEWPs require wind stability testing and identification. Operators must select “wind” or “no wind” depending on their exposure. An ID plate includes a wind rating, and exposure to wind may limit occupants and height of the equipment. Maximum wind speed if the MEWP is rated for wind is still 28 mph.
  • Guardrail height changes: The new standard requires a guardrail height of 43.5 inches compared to 39.5 inches previously.
  • Gates with toeboard: No chains or flexible gates are allowed on new models.
  • Stability testing: Foam or solid tires are required. If air-filled tires are used, the lift must remain stable if a tire goes flat.

MEWPs that comply with the new design standards will have yellow and black diagonal striped tape around the toeboard and counterweight on the machine.

Changing standards

While existing lifts remain acceptable for use, the new standards are an effort to improve safety on the job. It’s important to implement the proper training and documentation now and get a jump on understanding the design changes users will see on new equipment.

by Jeff Stachowiak
Jeff Stachowiak has been national safety training director with Sunbelt Rentals since 2000 and has worked in equipment rentals since 1986. He is a member of several industry committees, including ANSI/SAIA A92 AWPs. He can be reached at jstachowiak@sunbeltrentals.com.

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