HIGH-REACH EQUIPMENT These are exciting times if you're in the equipment rental industry, especially if you rent aerial work platforms. The new millennium brings interesting and challenging changes with the launching of new safety standards.

The American National Standards Institute A92.6-1999 rules for self-propelled elevating work platforms were published on July 1, 1999, and became effective Jan. 2, 2000. The A92.6 standards apply to self-propelled integral-chassis aerial lifts with platforms that cannot be positioned completely beyond the base. They also apply to scissorlifts as well as lifts that utilize articulated arms or telescopic masts to lift the platform in a vertical-only direction. The standards don't apply to boomlifts, which are covered by ANSI A92.5-1992, or to manually propelled elevating work platforms covered by ANSI A92.3-1990.

Consistent with ANSI A92.6-1990, this revision defines responsibilities for manufacturers, dealers, owners, operators, lessors and lessees. In this revision, responsibilities for brokers have been added.

Manufacturers now face additional responsibilities. One of the more notable changes is that manufacturers must provide a slope warning device on all self-propelled elevating work platforms. A number of changes and additions have also been made to the manufacturer's stability testing responsibilities. One addition is a stability test called the "depression test." In this test, the lift - at full driveable elevation and with the rated maximum load on the elevated platform - is driven so that each of its wheels falls into a 24-inch-square hole with a vertical drop of 4 inches.

Other important additions to manufacturer responsibilities include changes to dimensional and performance specifications. Changes have also been made to dealer, owner, user, operator, lessor and lessee responsibilities. I suggest that all interested parties order a copy of the new standard revision and study it thoroughly.

As a manager of safety and service training for UpRight Inc., I find myself most intrigued and interested in the changes to the training responsibilities. To facilitate understanding of the A92.6-1999 training responsibilities, I find it helpful to start with the operator and work my way up the safety chain.

The operator's responsibilities for training are outlined in ANSI A92.6-1999 paragraph 8.5. The operator's training responsibilities can be broken down into three steps - training, retraining and familiarization.

ANSI A92.6-1999 paragraph 8.5.1 calls for operators of self-propelled elevating platforms to receive general training, with a clear, descriptive list of the minimum subjects that need to be covered in such a program. Parts of the general training program also call for the trainee to operate the aerial platform for a sufficient period of time to demonstrate proficiency in operation under the direction of a qualified person.

Once general training is completed, it is the operator's responsibility to receive retraining when deemed necessary by the user. One of the new terms in the ANSI A92.6-1999 is "familiarization." Section 8.5.3 states: "When an operator is directed to operate an aerial platform he/she is not familiar with, the operator shall receive instructions regarding the following items:

* The location of the weather-resistant compartment (for manual storage);

* The purpose and function of all controls;

* Safety devices and operating characteristics specific to the aerial platform."

With regard to training, ANSI A92.6-1999 says it is the operator's responsibility to:

* Receive general training.

* Demonstrate proficiency.

* Be familiar with the aerial platform to be operated.

* Receive retraining when directed by the user based on observation and evaluation.

The operator must know, understand and follow all of the operator responsibilities found in Section 8 of ANSI A92.6-1999.

Section 7 of ANSI A92.6-1999 defines responsibilities of users, a term usually applied to employers. With regard to operator training and retraining, it says that "whenever a user directs or authorizes an individual to operate an aerial platform the user shall ensure the person has been:

* Trained before being assigned to operate the aerial platform;

* Familiarized with the aerial platform to be operated;

* Made aware of responsibilities of operators as outlined in Section 8 of this standard;

* Retrained, if necessary, based on the user's observation and evaluation of the operator."

It is also the user's responsibility to maintain a record of the trainee's aerial platform instruction for at least four years.

The responsibilities of owners are found in Section 6 of the ANSI A92.6-1999 standard. All owners should get a copy and study the changes and additions.

Again, with regard to operator training, the A92.6-1999 standard states that when an owner directs a person to operate a lift, he or she must be sure that the person has been trained, familiarized, and made aware of the responsibilities of operators as found in Section B of the standard.

Owners providing training should also provide successful trainees a means to evidence their training and provide such proof if requested by the trainee. The document evidencing training shall include the following informatio n:

* Name of entity providing training or retraining.

* Name of trainer(s).

* Clear identification that training covered self-propelled elevating work platforms.

* Date of training.

Dealers' duties To the person receiving the aerial platform, dealers are responsible for offering general training, proof of training if so requested by the trainee, and familiarization training upon delivery. The dealer has numerous other responsibilities under ANSI A92.6-1999, especially in the area of record retention and dissemination. All dealers should know, understand and follow all responsibilities found in Section 5.

Finally, manufacturers have to develop and offer materials that will aid dealers, owners and users in meeting their responsibilities as outlined in ANSI A92.6-1999.

Although I've focused on training responsibilities, everyone in the aerial platform industry should know, understand and follow all of the applicable responsibilities found in ANSI A92.6-1999.

For your copy of the American National Standards Institute A92.6-1999 rules or for additional information, contact the Scaffold Industry Association, 20335 Ventura Blvd., Suite 310, Woodland Hills, CA 91364-2471; 818/610-0320; fax: 818/610-0323; e-mail: sia@scaffold.org. Or visit SIA on the Internet at its Web site (www.scaffolding.org).