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  • Writer's pictureHiReach Training

6 critical things you need to know before operating a boom lift

Updated: Jun 3

As well as being an extremely versatile machine, due to their manoeuvrability and higher reach, boom lifts can also be one of the most dangerous EWP to use.


As boom lifts have telescoping, hinged and articulated components, small movements of the wheels can lead to large movements of the basket. This can lead to uncontrolled boom movements and result in the catapult effect.


Before you operate any boom lift make sure you know these 6 critical things, so you can stay safe.


1. Make sure the boom lift is the right EWP for the job


Having the right equipment for the job can make your job safer and easier.


Its important to do an assessment of all the tasks required, as well as any potential hazards, to make sure the type of EWP is right for the job.


Things you might need to consider include:

  • working height and reach required

  • structures that might above, around or below the working area

  • surrounding buildings or structures including bridges, wharves or docks

  • obstructions

  • indoors or outdoors

  • ground conditions - stability of terrain and capacity of the support surface

  • ramps or sloping ground

  • trenches or recent excavation

  • underground services and pipes, including underground cabling

  • drains, manholes, hatches

  • clearance and operating space

  • distance from powerlines

  • pedestrians, doorways and walkways

  • workers in the area including those working above or below

  • other vehicles or machinery in the area

  • weather conditions

  • proximity to water or working over water

  • visibility or lighting issues

  • exhaust fumes

  • operation in a public place or roadway

  • load dimensions

  • hot work

Sometimes a traditional boom lift or scissor lift just doesn't cut it. If you need help to identify the right equipment for the job, or hire the right equipment give HiReach Rentals a call - 1300 661 500 - for advice or a free site visit.


2. Develop a safe work method statement (SWMS)


If there is a risk to people from any EWP's movement, including those working in it, a safe work method statement (SWMS) must be developed and followed.


The SWMS should document all measures to control any hazard that may arise from the use of an EWP – for example, crush, overturning and collision risks. This will help keep you, and everyone around you, safe.


3. Make sure you have the right licence


So many people are surprised to hear their licence doesn't cover the type of EWP they are using.


In Queensland, boom type elevating work platforms which have a boom length of 11m or more are considered high risk, and you need a High Risk Work Licence - WP. This licence only certifies the operator for boom lifts over 11m, but this does not include boom lifts under 11m or scissor lifts.


All other EWPs are covered by the RIIHAN301E - Operate elevating work platform, or the Elevating Work Platform Association Yellow Card - including:

  • boom lifts under 11m

  • scissor lifts of any height

  • vertical lifts of any height

  • trailer mounted boom lift under 11m

  • truck mounted boom lift under 11m


In addition any construction work where there is a risk of a fall at least 2 meters - or in other words, if you are working over 2 meters - adequate control measures must be put in place, including training. This applies whether you are working on a roof, on a ladder, on scaffolding, or if you are operating an EWP, or any other situation where you are working at height. The RIIWHS204E - Work safely at heights course is the right training course for any work over 2m.


So if you are using a boom lift over 11m, you should do the following training:


If you are using a boom lift under 11m take advantage of our more convenient combined 1 day Heights + EWP course - to save you time and money, which includes:

  • RIIWHS204E - Work safely at heights AND

  • RIIHAN301E - Operate elevating work platform + EWPA Yellow Card


If you are a construction worker or apprentice, you may also be eligible for a training funding subsidy. CSQ funding is available to subsidise the training cost for RIIHAN301E - Operate elevating work platform, RIIWHS204E - Work safely at heights, and TLILIC0005 - Licence to operate a boom-type elevating work platform (boom length 11 metres or more). You can check your eligibility for CSQ funding, and see what other training courses are subsidised.


If you want to know more about which EWP training is right for you, read our article Which EWP licence do I need? or contact us on 1300 661 400.


4. Make sure you check the EWP before you accept it


If you hire or buy equipment, make sure you check the EWP before you accept it. Its no good finding out the equipment is not in safe working order, or has not been designed and maintained to relevant Australian Standards and regulatory requirements.


Whoever is responsible for the safe use of the equipment must check over any access hire equipment to make sure it has been correctly maintained and there is no damage by doing:

  • visual inspection

  • checking equipment inspection tags

  • checking specifications on how and where it may be used

  • checking operator manuals, logbooks and decals.


You don't want to waste time and money if it turns out the boom lift you get can't be used.


5. Understand how to operate the EWP


Even when you have been trained on how to use an EWP, different makes and models can have very different controls, so make sure you know how to use them correctly. Identify their function and direction of operation, and if you are not sure ask the hire company for a familiarisation when the machine is delivered on site.


You can also check the operation manual, or search online for user information for that particular make and model.


It is also critical for all workers, including spotters or those working with or near the equipment, to understand how to operate the machine if they need to follow an emergency plan.


6. Don't forget your pre-operation checks


Before you operate any EWP make sure you do the right checks to make sure the EWP is operating properly and is safe to use.


The Operator Daily Safety Checklist in the logbook, includes:

  • Before checking/operating - to disconnect charging cables and check the manufacturers operating instructions

  • Pre start check - 12 points of inspection to check the condition of the machine, tyres, hoses, cables, switches, controls, fuel, platforms, handrails and PPE.

  • Operational checks - 8 important operational checks when the machine is started including emergency stops, controls at ground and platform, safety features, brakes, emergency decent, lights and alarms.

  • Faulty Equipment Procedure - 4 steps to tag the machine out, if the EWP was found to have any faults.


This information is, of course, only the what you need to know before operating a boom lift safely.


But there are many more considerations, to keep you safe when operating a boom lift including:

  • set up, positioning and stabilising the EWP

  • applying hazard control measures

  • storing tools and equipment safely

  • monitoring the work area

  • emergency procedures

  • shut down procedures

  • post operational checks


To learn more about safely operating a boom lift, get the right training:

Operate EWP (for booms under 11m)

EWP Boom over 11m (for booms over 11m)


You may also be eligible for CSQ funding if you are a construction worker or apprentice, which will reduce the cost of your course. To find out more, or check your eligibility, see our CSQ funding information.


Not sure what training you need? Call us on 1300 661 400 or read our article Which EWP licence do I need? 

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