Aerial work platform in-service inspections

Feb. 1, 1998

Aerial Work Platform In-Service Inspections

By Fred Workley

February 1998

Fred Workley is the president of Workley Aircraft and Maintenance Inc. at Dulles International Airport, director of maintenance for IJC, a Part 135 certificate holder, and technical advisor to the National Air Transportation Association. He is an aviation maintenance technician with inspection authorization, holds a general radiotelephone license, ATP, FE, CFI-I, and is a ground instructor.

Many in the industry are unaware of any requirements for regular inspections for aerial work platforms, but one does exist. ANSI Standard A92.3-1990; paragraph 6.5 specifies that an annual service inspection of manually propelled aerial work platforms be done to insure that the lift is safe to operate and that it meets the manufacturer's operational specifications. This inspection is offered by many commercial companies.

Many of these companies offer a package which includes the following: a load capacity test for proper lifting capacity, a check for proper hydraulic pressure, a check of the lifting chains for stretching, a check of the mast assembly for proper sequencing, and a check for any necessary repairs including travel to and from the machine location.

The ANSI Standard clearly identifies the responsibilities of the owner of manually propelled aerial work platforms. The basic principles of safety, training, inspection, maintenance, application, and operation must be consistent with the intended use of the work platform and expected environment.

The owner's liability for the performance of their responsibilities is based on the fact that aerial work units carry personnel. To this end, owners shall keep and maintain copy(ies) of the operating and maintenance manuals because they communicate necessary safety information to users and operators.

Also, the owner of an aerial platform shall arrange for the maintenance to be accomplished as specified in the standard. A preventative maintenance program should be in accordance with manufacturer's recommendations and all manufacturer's safety bulletins.

Furthermore, the owner shall arrange for frequent or annual inspections by trained personnel with problems and malfunctions corrected before the aerial platform is returned to service. Frequent inspections are for lifts in service for three months or 150 hours, whichever comes first or out of service for more than three months. Inspections are done by qualified individuals and include all functions of all controls. The emergency lowering mechanism and locking devices are checked along with all chains and cables. Servicing items including lubrication are accomplished. Structural components are inspected along with placards, warnings, and control markings. Annual inspections are due no later than 13 months from the date of the last annual and should also be in accordance with all items specified for an annual inspection by the manufacturer.

The standard also addresses operator training. It states that the owner, who directs or authorizes an individual to operate an aerial platform, shall ensure that the individual has been trained in accordance with the manufacturer's operating manual. If an operating manual is not provided or available, the owner has the responsibility to obtain information from the dealer or manufacturer to provide to the operator or user.

The owner shall retain the following records for three years: persons trained, name, and address of the purchaser of each aerial device, written records of frequent and annual inspections, as well as records of corrective actions and predelivery preparation. Modifications should be approved and certified in writing by the manufacturer. You may want to review the ASNI Standard for more details.