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Tennessee OSHA Alerts Employers on the Importance of Routine Maintenance for Mechanical Equipment

Tuesday, May 15, 2012 | 11:11am



NASHVILLE – The Tennessee Occupational Safety and Health Administration is issuing a hazard alert to warn owners and operators of vehicle-mounted aerial lifts to follow the routine maintenance recommended in the instruction manual as required by the manufacturer. Failure to maintain machinery can result in serious injuries and fatalities. 

 “We realize instruction and maintenance manuals sometimes get lost or discarded,” commented Steve Hawkins, Tennessee Occupational Safety and Health Administrator. “Aerial lifts are highly engineered, complex equipment, and proper maintenance is critical to safe operation. Following these instructions and making sure you follow proper maintenance routines could be the difference between life and death for your employees.”

Recently, a fatal accident occurred when the bolts of the rotating top plate failed at the ring gear causing the boom to separate from the vehicle.

The maintenance manual for the aerial lift involved in the fatal accident required these bolts to be torqued every six months or 1,000 hours (these numbers vary for different manufacturers). Torquing the bolt heads identifies loose or stretched bolts and ensures the top plate stays securely fastened to the ring gear. It is essential that proper torquing of these bolts be performed at the scheduled intervals as instructed in the maintenance manual.

Resources are available to employers from the Tennessee OSHA Consultative Services. They provide confidential assistance to employers at no direct cost. Citations, fines and penalties are not issued; however the employer shall agree to correct any hazards found during the onsite consultative visit.

For more information on achieving a safe and healthful workplace, contact TOSHA’s Consultative Services at (800) 249-8510.

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