Environmental, Health and Safety Services

Aerial Lift Safety Introduction


The university requires training and certification in aerial lift operation to assure that operators have a basic understanding of related hazards and safe operation of the specific equipment used by the department.


Each department that owns or uses aerial lifts (including rentals) must ensure that all operators are trained and authorized by the department to use such equipment. Machine-specific training must be provided by the department. General safety training and operator observation is conducted by EHS (or departmental designee).


This program applies to all powered or manually operated personnel lifting devices being operated by Virginia Tech personnel regardless of location, such as:

  • Telescoping (ex. genie lifts): The personnel basket or platform only goes up and down. There are no hinged sections in the boom.
  • Scissor Lifts function similarly to telescoping lifts, but are actually considered mobile scaffolds by OSHA.
  • Articulating (ex. construction-type lifts): The personnel basket or platform can be maneuvered up, down, over, and sideways. There are one or more hinged boom sections. This type is generally used outdoors.
  • Boom Trucks: The personnel basket or platform is located on a large truck. There may or may not be hinged boom sections. This type is used outdoors for painting or overhead power line access. The boom may or may not be insulated.