5 Tips on How to Safely Operate a Scissor Lift

A scissor lift is an incredibly versatile piece of machinery which can be used for numerous jobs in both a professional and home setting. They’re often described as being like maneuverable scaffolding because they allow for workers or objects to be easily lifted to variable heights. From painting the outside of your house to maximising the space in a tight, tall warehouse, if you have the need to work from a fixed platform at height then this is one of the best options available. However, as with every piece of machinery, unless they’re operated safely then they can pose a risk of serious injury. Here are 5 tips on how to operate a scissor lift safely.

1. Do Not Use a Scissor Lift in Bad Weather

If you’re operating a scissor lift outdoors then bad weather should be one of your top safety considerations. Wind in particular is extremely dangerous as it can quite easily cause the lift to topple over, even with relatively low levels. Check the weather forecast prior to using a scissor lift to ensure the outlook is good, and if the weather does turn bad then lower the lift smoothly and don’t resume work until it clears.

2. Don’t Overload the Platform

Though scissor lifts are designed to carry heavy objects to height, each one has a specific weight limit set by the manufacturer that should not be exceeded under any circumstances. Make yourself familiar with the limits of each platform that you use, even if you’re an experienced operator, because they vary from machine to machine. Overloading the platform can lead to it toppling over or collapsing and potentially causing serious injury to those around it.

3. Stay Inside the Guard Rails

The guard rails are there to do just that, guard the operator from the risk of falling out. They’re not designed for standing on, sitting on or even leaning on and can break under just a small amount of pressure. If you’re having to overextend or lean across the rails, then you’re probably either using the wrong piece of lifting equipment or need to reposition it to allow you to complete your task safely.

4. Lower the Platform Before Moving the Scissor Lift

Scissor lifts are designed to be mobile, but only when the platform is not extended. Though it can be tempting to do this to save the time and effort of lowering and raising the platform again, it’s never worth the risk of doing this. Moving the lift with the platform raised makes it extremely unstable posing a huge risk to anyone in or around it.

5. Beware of Low Lying Hazards

Tree branches, overhangs and other tall equipment such as cranes can all pose a threat to a scissor lift. But potentially the biggest hazards to avoid are anything electrical including low lying transformers and power lines. Just getting close to these can result in electrocution and multiple fatalities occur each year as a result. Always check it’s safe to raise the platform before doing so, and if in doubt, don’t do it.


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  • Posted on   05/31/17 at 05:55:48 PM   by Nick  | 
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Tagged with Scissor lift safety, operate a scissor lift

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