Every tool can be either very useful or extremely dangerous, and scissor lifts are no exception. Used properly, they can safely save time and money.
The Occupational Safety and Health Administration defines scissor lift equipment as “movable scaffolds,” which lift large and heavy loads (with or without employees) in a balanced way to and from high elevations. They are classified ob OSHA as “heavy equipment,” and they can be dangerous if operated carelessly.
If you manage work site or construction equipment rentals, then here’s a quick rundown of the most important safety tips for operating portable lifting equipment.*
- Safety First! If your employees are going to use or operate scissor lift equipment in the workplace, make sure every one of them is properly trained in scissor lift training requirements and safety procedures.
- Don’t move the platform while it’s elevated. Make sure all doors or gates are closed and the platform has been lowered to its starting position before moving the lift to another work area.
- Keep all arms, legs, and employees inside the compartment! Stress to employees not to reach out too far over the guard rails or stand on them. Of course, in an active work site, employees will have to reach out past the rails, but beware overextending and risking a fall.
- If possible, post a warning reminding workers to be careful with tools and other items. Even a short drop could cause injury if a heavy tool slips over the edge.
- If your workplace uses safety lanyards that trigger a “kill switch” on the machine, double check that all workers use them properly.
- Don’t overload the lift. Chances are, you don’t have any employees too big for a scissor lift to handle. But if you’re using scissor lift equipment to raise supplies, make sure you’re operating within the weight limits of that particular piece of electric scissor lift equipment.
And of course, always follow general construction and workplace safety guidelines, such as keeping a first aid kit nearby. And if you see workers fooling around and not treating this equipment with the respect it deserves, then they probably aren’t right for the job. And with more than 7 million Americans working in the construction industry, there’s no reason to keep an employee who doesn’t take their own safety seriously.
*This is not an official or exhaustive list. Operate at your own risk.