The Complete Guide to Scissor Lift Safety

Scissor lifts are elevating work platforms that fulfill a large number of applications. They are also incredibly dangerous machines when operators overlook scissor lift safety. Failing to adhere to OSHA scissor lift guidelines can result in accidents and injuries.

Scissor lift inspection on small lift equipment

Unfortunately, it doesn’t stop at injuries. About 75% of scissor lift tip-over accidents result in death. Prioritizing scissor lift safety can prevent these accidents from ever occurring.

Protecting the safety and efficiency of your employees is key. Take time to address scissor lift safety at your business. Create a protocol to ensure that your operation is following OSHA regulations for scissor lifts.

Industrial Forklift Truck is here to guide you to a safer workplace. We have the resources you need to implement scissor lift safety at your facility.

Learn more about OSHA scissor lift guidelines and how to avoid common hazards. Get tips for creating a daily scissor lift inspection for your operators. Find out how to stay up-to-date with scissor lift maintenance. Use these actionable steps to improve the safety and success of your business.

OSHA Regulations for Scissor Lifts

Scissor lifts are covered under OSHA’s standards for scaffolding. These standards help maintain scissor lift safety. Following OSHA regulations for scissor lifts can prevent deadly accidents.

Employees must have a certification in order to operate a scissor lift. To meet scissor lift certification requirements, trainers should cover:

  • Manufacturer’s operation instructions
  • Handling materials on the equipment (weight limits)
  • Worksite hazards
  • Equipment defects or scissor lift maintenance needs

These scissor lift certification requirements are not all-inclusive. Trainers should cover any relevant information necessary for successful scissor lift operation. Scissor lift operators should also undergo refresher training every three years. This will keep them up to date with current OSHA regulations for scissor lifts.

Scissor lift certification requirements help keep employees safe. Your business is responsible for ensuring that each operator is properly trained.

OSHA scissor lift documents also offer detailed guidelines for scissor lift operation. In a one-year study, OSHA found that the majority of injuries and fatalities were caused by failure to properly address fall protection, stabilization, and positioning.

In response, OSHA has addressed each of these scissor lift safety hazards individually. Here are the takeaways:

Scissor Lift Safety Hazard 1: Fall Protection

OSHA regulations for scissor lifts state that guardrails must be installed. Here are some ways operators can minimize the risk of falling:

  • Check that the guardrails are properly installed before use
  • Stand only on the platform, never the guardrails
  • Avoid leaning away from the scissor lift

Scissor Lift Safety Hazard 2: Stabilization

As mentioned in the scissor lift certification requirements, operators should always follow the manufacturer’s guidelines for safe movement. Usually, this means the operator shouldn’t move the scissor lift while elevated. To avoid hazards like tip-overs or collapse, OSHA scissor lift guidelines also advise operators to:

  • Implement traffic control to avoid vehicle collisions
  • Work on firm, level surfaces
  • Use the equipment outside only if the wind is less than 28 miles per hour
  • Follow and maintain safety systems designed to stop collapsing
  • Do not load the work platform with a weight that exceeds manufacturer load rating

Scissor Lift Safety Hazard 3: Positioning

To avoid crushing or electrocution hazards, operators need to be very cognizant of their positioning. Operators should be especially observant when operating:

  • Near obstacles
  • Next to a moving vehicle
  • Under a fixed object

Following these OSHA regulations for scissor lifts will help avoid costly hazards.

Scissor Lift Inspections

As with any lifting equipment, operators should complete a pre-operation scissor lift inspection before use. Inspection checklists can help operators avoid any accidents caused by broken equipment.

Before starting the scissor lift, do a walk-around check for obstacles. Look for items around the work platform and make sure there aren’t holes, drop-offs, or debris in the path of travel. Take a moment to look up. Look for low clearances, overhanging wires, or low beams.

Assess the condition of the tires, hydraulic components, cover panels, engine, lights, elevating sections, and platform. Ensure that the data plate, labels, and decals are legible and accurate. Check to see if the battery is disconnected from its external power source.

Once you’ve completed the walk-around scissor lift inspection, turn the equipment on. Check the engine, battery level, hour meter, and warning lights. Test the ground and platform controls for the elevating section, driving, steering, horn, outriggers, and pothole protection.

Completing a scissor lift inspection before every shift helps keep employees safe. Always stress the importance of scissor lift safety to your operators.

Operator following OSHA regulations for scissor lifts

Scissor Lift Maintenance

No number of procedures can ensure scissor lift safety if you don’t maintain your equipment.

Scissor lift maintenance reduces downtime and increases the productivity of your employees. It also extends the service life of your equipment and lowers costs by solving small problems before they become expensive.

Save money and lives by scheduling routine scissor lift maintenance for your equipment. Here’s another tip: keep a detailed record of all scissor lift maintenance. This will help you keep track of the condition of your equipment.

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