Ten tips for operating a scissor lift safely
SCISSOR lifts can be very efficient on construction sites to help you and your employees perform work at height. They can also be very hazardous, leading to employee injury and claims under your Construction Insurance policy.
If you are hiring the plant for a specific purpose, you may assume that it has been correctly maintained, but it is still best practice to perform adequate risk assessments before you start operating the lift.
Scissor lift risk management tips
There are a number of things you can do to manage safety effectively while using a scissor lift:
- Always perform a pre-work inspection. Never begin work with a scissor lift without first making sure all its components are in working order.
- Do not use a lift if you are not properly trained. Know the manufacturer’s operating guidelines—they’re meant to ensure safety and save lives.
- Never operate in inclement weather. Wind can easily knock down a raised scissor lift. If the forecast calls for rain or gusty conditions, avoid using the scissor lift outdoors. Most scissor lifts have a wind rating of 12.5 m/s or lower.
- Do not overload the lift. Check the lift’s specifications to determine how much weight can be loaded onto the platform. Never exceed this number — it could cause the lift to tip over.
- Always keep the lift lowered when moving. Moving on uneven land could cause the lift to tip over if raised. Always follow the manufacturer’s safe operating guidelines.
- Do not stand or lean against guardrails. Move closer to your target to avoid breaking the guardrails, which are not meant to be weight-bearing.
- Choose work places that are clear of electrical power sources. The lift should be clear of power lines, transformers and other overhead hazards, such as branches and overhangs.
- Avoid performing work on an unstable or uneven surface. These hazards include drop-offs, holes, slopes, bumps, ground obstructions and debris.
- Always set the brakes before lifting. Brakes add an extra layer of security to prevent the lift from moving.
- If you feel uncomfortable in any way, don’t use the lift. Being unfamiliar with a lift can lead to improper use and injury. If you are unsure whether you can properly operate a scissor lift, tell a supervisor.