Washington State Clarifies Use of Fall Protection in Scissor Lifts

After recent reports that Washington state would begin requiring the use of harnesses on scissor lifts, Aerial Work Platform Training, Inc., Rouzerville, Pa., sought clarification from the State of Washington's Division of Occupational Safety & Health. According to Tony Groat, AWPT's North American membership development director, there was a misinterpretation of the rules that were recently released by the Washington State Department of Labor and Industries on the use of fall protection in scissor lifts. The state has now clarified these rules.

According to Dan McMurdie, compliance operations manager for the State of Washington's Division of Occupational Safety & Health: “The Division of Occupational Safety and Health has not changed the requirements for fall protection while using scissor lifts. The requirement is still standard guardrails on all open sides. Full body harness and lanyard is only required when working from a boom elevated platform or rotating aerial device.” Further clarification of the rules contained in Chapter 296-869 WAC “Elevating Work Platforms” can be found at the department's website at: http://www.lni.wa.gov/WISHA/Rules/elevatedplatforms/default.htm.

The misunderstanding stemmed from wording found in Section WAC 296-869-20045, “Working from the Platform,” which states, “Make sure all persons in the platform wear a full body harness with lanyard attached.” This section, however, pertains only to “Aerial Lifts,” which are defined as, “An aerial device mounted on a vehicle, such as a truck, trailer, or all-terrain vehicle.” Scissor lifts are not considered “Aerial Lifts,” but they fall under the classification of “Elevating Work Platforms.” Specifically, scissor lifts are called “Self-Propelled Elevating Work Platforms,” which are defined as “A self-propelled, integral chassis, elevating work platform with a platform that can't be positioned completely beyond the base.”