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Safety Guidance Document: Staying Safe When Using Aerial Lifts in the Film Industry



Aerial lifts, such as boom lifts and scissor lifts, are commonly used in the film industry to capture shots from elevated positions or access hard-to-reach areas. While aerial lifts are versatile and efficient, they also pose significant safety risks if not used properly. This guidance document aims to educate workers on the importance of aerial lift safety, what they need to know, and how they can stay safe when using aerial lifts in the film industry.


Why is it important?

Using aerial lifts in the film industry can involve working at significant heights, operating heavy machinery, and navigating tight spaces. This combination of factors increases the risk of falls, collisions, and other accidents that can result in serious injuries or even fatalities. It is crucial for workers to understand the importance of aerial lift safety to prevent accidents and maintain a safe working environment.


What the worker needs to know:


Equipment familiarization: Workers must receive proper training and familiarize themselves with the specific type of aerial lift they will be using. They should be aware of the lift's features, controls, and safety mechanisms.


Risk assessment: Workers should conduct a thorough risk assessment before using an aerial lift. They should identify potential hazards, such as uneven terrain, overhead obstructions, and electrical lines, and take steps to mitigate them.


Fall protection: Workers should be trained in the proper use of fall protection equipment, such as harnesses and lanyards, when working at heights. They should understand the importance of wearing the equipment correctly and anchoring it to approved anchor points.


Stability and weight limits: Workers must be aware of the aerial lift's stability and weight capacity limits. They should never exceed the manufacturer's specified limits for the lift and the load being carried.


Safe operation: Workers should understand and follow the manufacturer's operating instructions for the aerial lift. This includes proper start-up and shut-down procedures, safe movement and positioning, and emergency controls.


Communication: Clear communication is essential when working with aerial lifts. Workers should establish effective communication methods with ground personnel, including the use of hand signals or radios, to ensure smooth operations and avoid accidents.


How they can stay safe:

To stay safe when using aerial lifts in the film industry, workers should follow these safety measures:


Inspections: Workers should conduct pre-operation inspections of the aerial lift to ensure it is in good working condition. This includes checking for any damage, leaks, or malfunctions.


Secure setup: Workers should ensure the aerial lift is set up on stable ground and level surfaces. Outriggers or stabilizers should be deployed according to the manufacturer's instructions.


Fall protection: Workers should always wear appropriate fall protection equipment and use it properly, including securing the harness to approved anchor points.


Proper positioning: Workers should position the aerial lift to ensure safe access and egress from the lift platform. They should avoid overhead obstructions, unstable surfaces, and electrical lines.


Controlled movements: Workers should operate the aerial lift smoothly and avoid sudden or jerky movements. They should adhere to safe speed limits, especially when maneuvering on uneven terrain or around obstacles.


Clear work area: Workers should maintain a clear work area by removing any debris, tools, or other hazards that could cause tripping or falling accidents.


Training and certifications: Workers should receive comprehensive training on aerial lift operation and obtain any required certifications to ensure they have the necessary knowledge and skills.



Safety should always be a top priority when using aerial lifts in the film industry. Workers must understand the risks associated with operating aerial lifts and take the necessary precautions to prevent accidents. By following proper equipment familiarization, conducting risk assessments, using fall protection, practicing safe operation and positioning, maintaining clear work areas, and receiving adequate training, workers can significantly reduce the risk of injuries and create a safer working environment when using aerial lifts.

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