Environmental, Health and Safety Services

Aerial Lift Training

To register for aerial lift training, click here.

Operator Certification and Training

Operator certification is a two part process at Virginia Tech. For the first part, the operator must complete online general awareness level training, as well as machine-specific instruction and familiarization. Machine-specific instruction and familiarization involves reading the Operator's Manual for each lift to be operated, and working with the supervisor (or designee) to learn how to properly set up and operate the aerial lift. The second part involves an observation by EHS (or designee).

Part One

Operators must:

  • Complete general Aerial Lift Training from EHS (available online).
  • Complete Fall Protection User training if the use of a personal fall arrest system is required.
  • Read the Operator's Manual for each lift to be operated.
  • Operators must know how to perform the following during observation:
    • Inspection of the work site for hazards that could affect safety or safe operation of the lift
    • Properly set up the lift, including leveling and the use of outriggers, if provided
    • Perform a pre-use inspection and report any deficiencies
    • Perform function tests prior to use
    • Safely operate the lift
    • Wear required fall protection equipment and/or hard hats
    • Location and use of emergency (ground/lower) controls

Supervisors (or departmental designees) must provide operators with hands on, machine-specific instruction on any lift to be used by the employee. Operators should be supervised for a sufficient period of time while operating the lift in order to develop a basic level of proficiency.

Hands on instruction must include how to:

  • Perform a pre-use inspection per the Operator's Manual
  • Properly set up the lift, including the use of outriggers
  • Operate the lift (familiarization with controls, traveling, parking, etc.)
  • Use emergency (ground/lower) controls in the event of mechanical failure or operator incapacitation
  • Report any deficiencies if the lift does not pass inspection
  • Use any required fall protection system associated with the lift

Part Two

When the employee is comfortable operating the lift (under direct supervision by a currently certified operator), and supervision agrees, contact EHS (or your departmental authorized observer) to schedule the observation portion of operator certification. Observation will include those items noted above in bold for machine-specific instruction and familiarization.

Note: The supervisor, operator, and EHS trainer will be required to sign off on the Certification Form that the employee has completed machine-specific instruction and familiarization prior to observation. If an operator receives a "Needs Further Instruction" rating during the final observation, the employee and supervisor must work on any deficiencies before rescheduling another observation by EHS or departmental designees.

Operators who successfully complete operator training and certification will be authorized to operate the type of aerial lift specified on their wallet card. If other types of aerial lifts will be operated, an observation must be performed on each additional type of aerial lift.

Recertification and Retraining

Recertification is required every 3 years.

Operator refresher training may be required before the recertification period under the following conditions:

  • The operator is observed operating the aerial lift unsafely.
  • The operator is involved in an accident or near miss involving an aerial lift.
  • Observation of operator knowledge and skills indicates a need for additional training and/or practice.
  • A different type of lift is to be used.