The National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) has issued a safety advisory regarding the set-up of aerial ladders with a locking waterway. NIOSH is currently investigating an April 8, 2008, fire fighter line-of-duty-death involving an aerial ladder with a locking waterway. This incident highlights the importance of following the manufacturer’s recommendations for aerial ladder operations to ensure the safety of IAFF members.

In addition, all fire apparatus, including fire department aerial devices, should be inspected on an annual basis as required by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA). In 1910.156 it specifically states that the “employer shall maintain and inspect, at least annually, fire fighting equipment to assure the safe operational condition of the equipment. Fire fighting equipment that is in damaged or unserviceable condition shall be removed from service and replaced.”

Further, NFPA 1911 Standard for the Inspection, Maintenance, Testing, and Retirement of In-Service Automotive Fire Apparatus requires the annual inspection and testing of all fire apparatus, including the aerial device. The complete NIOSH User Notice is available online.