It's a well-known fact that, when worn, automobile seat belts save lives. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), based in Washington, D.C., use of lap/shoulder safety belts reduces the risk of fatal injury to front-seat car occupants by 45% and the risk of moderate-to-critical injury by 50%. The Aerial Work Platform Training of North America (AWPT), Rouzerville, Pa., hopes to achieve similar results by introducing a safety campaign aimed at users of boom-type platforms. Called “Click It!,” the campaign promotes the use of a full body harness with a short lanyard attached to a suitable anchor point.

The program's initiative came from companies concerned by employee injuries and deaths in boom-type lifts as a result of not wearing a harness that would keep them from being thrown from the platform. To urge workers to wear a harness, AWPT had that advice printed on stickers (shown above) that can be placed on the boom lift, where they are visible to all occupants in the platform. Furthermore, AWPT has made available the document, “Technical Guidance Note H1,” which provides information on its recommendation for proper use of harnesses and lanyards on different types of aerial work platforms.

First introduced in the United Kingdom by AWPT's parent organization, the International Powered Access Federation (IPAF), the campaign is also being promoted in Germany, Italy, France, and Spain.

“In countries where the program has already been introduced, major rental companies and others took the initiative to promote the program because unnecessary fatal accidents were happening when occupants were catapulted out of boom platforms because they were not wearing harnesses,” says Tim Whiteman, IPAF managing director.

Launched in North America at the Safe Access, Fall Protection & Training (SAF-T) Conference, held July 20 in Long Beach, Calif., the program is quickly gaining momentum. For example, Ontario, Canada-based Skyjack — a major aerial work platform manufacturer — has committed to placing “Click It!” stickers on all boom lifts leaving its factory. In addition, a number of rental companies have expressed interest in placing this message on boom lifts in their rental fleets.

For more information on “Click It!” or the “Technical Guidance Note H1,” visit www.awpt.org.