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Start Preparing Now for the New Aerial Standards Coming

Genie Scissor LiftWith Tier 4 emissions standards compliance underway, we now need to turn our attention to the next “big thing” to impact the aerial rental market — pending changes to the ANSI A92/CSA B354 standards series* (which cover all North American aerials). These new standards will go into effect soon, and our industry as a whole need to start preparing now for the impact these changes will have on our fleets, our customers and equipment operators.

What is changing?

Some of the key changes in the new standards are:

  • Platform Load Sense
  • Dynamic Terrain Sensing in Booms
  • Indoor-Only Machines
  • Terminology
  • And more…Reduced lift and lower speeds, required toeguards on entrances, flexible and chain gates are prohibited while A92.22 and A92.24 make sweeping changes to how safe use and training for aerials are addressed and administered.

Do these changes improve safety?

The current standards have, for almost four decades, provided best practices for safe, reliable access to work at height. The North American standards have used a representative testing scheme while the European standard uses a more prescriptive method where a design is tested to specific conditions. Both have provided a consistent benchmark for safe machine design.

The primary advantage of the new standards is to move closer towards a global standard that allows easier trade of new and used units between countries.

What you can do to prepare

Neither the U.S. nor Canada requires retroactive changes, so existing fleets are not affected. Pragmatically, though, we all need to face the fact that these systems are not free and will carry some cost on new aerials. For example, once the new standards go into effect maintenance procedures will need to be revised and customer service staff should be prepared to talk customers through differences when operating a newer machine. And, new training programs will be required.

A common rental company question will be how to manage mixed fleets where, as they will for the first few years, only a portion of the machines have these new systems. Engaging early adopters in your customer base will help with a side benefit being trained operators accepting or even asking for the modern units.

New era with new opportunities

Standards set a safety level for all participants in the market. Good standards also bring global markets closer together, driving commonality and stronger market competition. The new standards advance our industry in that direction.

The last big change, which introduced pothole protection in the late-90’s was disruptive, but looking back, represents an advancement in machine design. Learning from that change, all of us — aerial manufacturers, rental companies and operators — can realize the new opportunities in this change by starting early to work together. My advice: Do not to underestimate the impact the introduction of these new suite of standards will have and start preparing now for a smoother transition.

*ANSI/SAIA 92.3 for manually propelled aerial, 92.5 for booms, 92.6 for self-propelled (scissors), and 92.8 for under-bridge inspection machines (92.2 for vehicle mounted platforms is not involved).