In April, 2014, OSHA updated its regulations on fall protection for linesmen and other crews that work at elevations using bucket trucks. The changes went into effect a year later, in April, 2015; however, actually making these changes in procedure and equipment has not been easy. Utility and other companies that purchase new and used bucket trucks for sale are the main services still working on compliance with the new OSHA regulations. When looking for the best used bucket trucks, a company should always think in terms of compliance with the new OSHA regulations, or what equipment they may need to be in compliance.
Complying with Updated OSHA Regulations
From the surface, the updated OSHA regulation on fall protection seems as if a company can become compliant by ensuring they replace any inferior safety gear with the recommended body harnesses, lanyards, and other safety equipment. The deeper concern is making sure work trucks, and the poles and towers that crews climb, are also compliant. The biggest challenge for utility companies has not been the new safety gear; it has been evaluating all trucks, poles, towers, and other structures to ensure they are compliant.
Creating A System for Change
Since compliance with updated regulations involves more than new harnesses, any company still working on compliance should learn from others that have already managed to implement these changes. Following are some of these things to keep in mind:
- Update Safety Gear – Newer, better designed body harnesses and lanyards are not just for fall protection; they are also for fall prevention and have made simple body belts and other lesser equipment outdated. The type and attachment methods used depends on the equipment as well as the type of poles and towers a company normally encounters. There are specific instructions on fall protection and prevention based on the use of bucket trucks and other aerial lifts, pole and tower climbing, and even helicopters as fall attachment points.
- Evaluate Equipment, Poles, and Structures - The biggest challenge in meeting the new OSHA fall protect and arrest regulations, has been ensuring that equipment like new and used bucket trucks, and all poles and towers, have the necessary attachment points available on which to connect the improved safety gear. Companies must evaluate their work trucks for compliance, and upfit them as necessary. If climb poles, towers and other structures do not have required safety attachment points, as is the case with many wooden poles, they must be modified to provide lanyard attachment points as required by the OSHA regulation.
- Employee Training - Training employees is essential with any new equipment, whether it is safety gear, upfitted bucket and work trucks, or modified poles and towers. This must begin with a careful analysis and updating of safety gear, then training employees on proper use. Workers must receive training in new safety procedures according to the updated rules and also practice use of new gear in conjunction with work trucks and structures that have been upfitted to be compliant.
Making required changes in order to comply with OSHA regulation updates is quite involved. This effort must be carefully planned, and companies must not forget about evaluating their bucket trucks, since even the best used bucket trucks may still require upfitting to provide the necessary attachment points for fall safety. When looking for new or used bucket trucks for sale, remember to consider these requirements in order to have the safest, most compliant equipment possible!