ANSI A92 Standards – 15 years in the making
By Tony Groat11 April 2022
Editor’s Note: In celebration of ALH’s 15th anniversary this year, we will be taking a look back at equipment, topics and trends from 2007 – our first year of publishing. For each printed story, we have provided an update on our website (www.accesslifthandlers.com) that includes exclusive video interviews and expanded content. Printed articles have been edited for length but names and titles have remained as they were originally published. To read the printed throwback article, click on the supported file below or subscribe and download Access, Lift & Handlers for free here.
Sometimes it is difficult to appreciate changes while you are living through them. Change rarely happens overnight and, unless we take the opportunity to look back, we might not appreciate the significance of changes that have occurred. I recently read an article on aerial work platform industry standards from 15 years ago, and it struck me how much they have evolved since then.
ANSI/SAIA A92 aerial work platform (AWP) standards were written by product type: A92.3 vertical lift, A92.5 boom supported, A92.6 self-propelled (scissor) lifts and a92.8 vehicle-mounted bridge inspection and maintenance devices. Each standard had its own design, safe-use and training requirements. There is an understanding that the basic principles are common for all aerial lifts, so having harmonized language was a goal.
One example is the term familiarization, which first appeared in the A92.6-1999 standard, defined as “providing information regarding the control functions and safety devices for the aerial platform to a qualified person or operator who controls the movement of the platform”. This replaced prior language for that same requirement, known previously as ‘training upon delivery’. When the other standards came due for renewal, each adopted the same language. This is an important issue to be aware of, as the term was often misinterpreted as operator training – even though this was referred to in standards requirements as ‘general training.’
Hopefully, since the 2006 standards made that change, all users and operators know that they must receive both operator training and model-specific familiarization prior to operation. This was a transformational change in the standards 15 years ago.
Moving forward 15 years and the current ANSI/SAIA A92 suite of standards are more dynamically transformational. Instead of four product-specific standards, there are design, safe-use and training standards that apply to all categories of mobile elevating work platforms (MEWPs). Yes, even the name of the equipment has changed, from and AWP to MEWP.
These changes underline the need and value of harmonized standards, not just in the US, but worldwide. The foundation of the standards is now more in line with international (ISO) standards. Why should there be a different design, safe-use or training requirement based on where you are in the world?
Today we have a single standard for all MEWPs for design and safe use, and a standalone training standard. Prior standards had training requirements, but today’s training standard provides methods and guidelines to prepare MEWP training materials, defines administrative criteria, and outlines the key elements required for proper training and familiarization.
MEWP industry standards have undergone significant changes in the past 15 years. The enhancements in design requirements are seeing safer and more productive machines in the market. Opening up to global standard allows access from more international manufacturers. Harmonized safe-use requirements align the key requirements for safe operations, and a training standard best ensures all receive consistent and compliant training. The industry has done great work in 15 years, it is well worth reflecting on and recognizing these achievements!
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