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Employment Requirements to become a Mobile Aerial Work Platform Operator

A boom in oil and gas, construction, mining and warehousing has made a popular employment choice the area of driving a Mobile Aerial Work Platform. Operator should understand the variety of task they may be asked to do as well as their requirements.

There are many general tasks that operators and material handlers might be asked to perform:

  • Operate, navigate and drive mechanized equipment.
  • Inspect, mechanized equipment, materials and structures for defects and pre trip inspections
  • Install or inspect protective devices (ie extension platforms, extension bridges, carrying frames, compressed air connectors and electrical outlets )
  • Comprehend oral instructions and work orders to clarify work assignments
  • Write incident reports if there are material spills or safety issues
  • Complete field level hazard assessments, job safety analysis and work permits
  • Perform tasks in extreme heat, wind or cold weather and on uneven surfaces
  • Computer literacy to perform data entry of computer hardware and software, such as machine control, inventory tracking and spreadsheets
  • Scan equipment barcodes
  • Package tools such as staplers and tape guns as well as strapping tools
  • Measurement of tools such as air pressure gauges, temperature gauges, measuring tapes and thermometers
  • Knowledge of applicable reporting procedures and how to conduct a pre-operational safety and maintenance inspection in accordance with the manufacturers specifications. This includes a visual load test, inspection of guardrail system (ie toeboards), chassis, base, elevating assembly, platform and brakes.
  • Familiarity with directional controls, procedures to safely enter and exit equipment (ie 3 points of contact) and safety devices.
  • Use of personal protective equipment (ie steel toed boots, hard hat, safety gloves, personal fall protection)
  • Fueling procedures when loading equipment
  • In reference to battery powered mobile aerial work platforms, be familiar with battery charging, replacement processes amd emergency procedures, safety protocols for recharging them and personal protective gear to wear.

Depending on the work, employers will have to determine if they are willing to train an operator who is a novice or pay a higher price for a seasoned professional, considering the duties to be performed.

CSA (Canadian Standards Association) and ANSI (American National Standard Institute in the US) are associations that note legal requirements before opening Mobile Aerial Work Platforms. Legislation has been the result of critical accidents while working on or around these vehicles. Prior to applying for work or before working independently, personnel who are interested in filling these operator positions should be well informed of the tasks and training required.

Personnel who which to operate them must receive training from their employers. This includes both theory and physical practice. They need to be re-certified at regular intervals or when accidents are occurring to be considered competent in their operation of these vehicles. A mobile Aerial Work platform is a personnel elevating device which can be utilized for material handling purposes as well. Operator who drive, operate and configure the Mobile Aerial Work Platforms must do so to best position other personnel, tools and materials in an elevated work location.

There are many job opportunities for competent operators of mobile Aerial Work platforms in Canada and particularly the Oil Sands. Positions such as Warehousing, Storage personnel, factories and oil and gas are popular employment opportunities for workers with the correct skills and safety attitudes. Other employment openings are for material handling, automated storage and retrieval system workers and bulk material unloaders . Additional training that the employer might ask for are be fall protection training, inspecting a harness, fit testing of equipment and education on maintenance and use. In addition, the operator should know how to operate the fire extinguisher on the vehicle and its maintenance. If it is and electric battery powered device, the operate should be trained on battery handling. WHMIS on chemical exposure, First aid and Rescue from heights if the worker might be ejected from the vehicle (in a Fall Protection rescue plan) are other forms of training that many employers provide to operators of Mobile Aerial work platforms.  If a worker is asked for an ESC version of the course, the Fall protection training must also be certified under ESC as a precondition to enrolling in the Elevated Work Platform course.

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