University Safety and Assurances

Mechanical Lifts / Powered Platforms

Vertical lift in operation


Use of mechanical lifts and powered platforms is routine at UWM. Staff and students using forklifts, mechanical lifts or powered platforms must receive basic operational and safety training prior to use. Personal protective equipment (PPE) may also be required.

Each operator shall be instructed in the safe and proper operation of the specific aerial device according to the manufacturer's operator's manual, UWM work instructions, and any other appropriate standards and safe work practices.

Please contact University Safety & Assurances (x6339) for additional information.

Some Safety Rules for Operating an Aerial Lift:

  • Ensure that workers who operate aerial lifts are properly trained in the safe use of the equipment.
  • Maintain and operate elevating work platforms in accordance with the manufacturer's instructions.
  • Know the capacity of the lift you will be using and do not overload. Allow for the combined weight of the worker, tools and materials.
  • Inspect the lift before each use.
  • Check the area of travel for trip hazards and hazards from above and below.
  • Maintain a safe distance from power lines (minimum clearance of at least 10 feet).
  • Always treat powerlines, wires and other conductors as energized, even if they are down or appear to be insulated.
  • Ensure that others are at a safe distance from the lift.
  • Never modify the equipment without the manufacturer's approval.
  • If the lift is unattended, lower the platform, shut off the engine, engage the parking brake and remove the key.
  • Never override hydraulic, mechanical, or electrical safety devices.
  • Never move the equipment with workers in an elevated platform unless this is permitted by the manufacturer.
  • Do not allow workers to position themselves between overhead hazards, such as joists and beams, and the rails of the basket. Movement of the lift could crush the worker(s).
  • Use a body harness or restraining belt with a lanyard attached to the boom or basket to prevent the worker(s) from being ejected or pulled from the basket.
  • Set the brakes and use wheel chocks when on an incline.
  • Use outriggers, if provided.
  • Use common sense.