The Top 10 List: Scissors Lift Safety

scissors liftScissors lifts provide a helpful, efficient way to work on projects located higher up in the air. They are convenient for changing light bulbs, making minor repairs to pipes and wiring, and even for cleaning ceilings and upper shelves in a warehouse or manufacturing facility.

Yet scissors lifts are also powerful hydraulically-driven heavy equipment and can be dangerous to operate without the proper safety training. Here is the Top 10 List of the most important scissors lift safety rules:

10. Conduct an Inspection — Walk around the scissors lift before each use, looking at such things as tire inflation, the proper function of instruments, and other potential dangers. It’s also a good idea to inspect the area in which you will be working for debris or other potential hazards.

9. Never Lift Pressurized Tanks — When using a scissors lift for welding or cutting, always leave the pressurized oxygen or fuel cylinder tanks on the ground. The risk of a tank falling from a height when the lift is extended is simply not worth it.

8. Look Up — Always check the area you will be working in for overhead obstructions, such as pipes, lighting or frame structures. Collisions with these types of potential obstructions can cause injury to people standing below and also can damage your scissors lift and facility.

7. It’s a Scissors Lift, Not an Elevator — Never use your scissors lift as a materials hoist or an elevator for other workers. Don’t give rides to people on the scissors lift no matter how much they ask.

6. Don’t Extend the Lift While Traveling — When moving the scissors lift to the work area, the lift must be in the lowered position. If it is extended, it can be off-balance and the slightest turn or bump could cause it to topple.

5. Use the Chain — The moment you get on the scissors lift, reattach the safety chain immediately. This will help prevent falls. Think of it as your scissors lift seatbelt.

4. Be Aware of Weight — Scissors lifts have weight limits. If you exceed those limits, it can cause and accident or damage the equipment and lead to costly repairs or replacement. The weight limit will be listed on the side of the lift. If it’s not, look in the owner’s manual that came with the lift.

3. Never Stand on the Guardrail — If you stand on the guard rail or side of the bucket, you have an increased risk of falling. The guard rail and bucket are there to protect you, not provide you with a few feet of additional reach. If you can’t properly reach your work area, reposition the scissors lift until you can.

2. Keep It Level — Never operate a scissors lift on a ramp or other non-level surface. When you extend the lift, the vehicle’s center of gravity rises. If you aren’t on level ground, the lift could topple over.

1. Respect the Guard Rails — The guard rails are there to tell the operator where the platform’s edge is located and to prevent them from falling out of the rig. When working, keep a safe distance from the edges to prevent crushing injuries should the rails come into contact with an overhead surface.

Scissors lifts are marvelous tools  that can make your job easier, but only if they are operated safely.