A publication from OSHA stated that most scissor lift accidents stemmed from a lack of training on fall protection, stabilization, and positioning. With this in mind, we will take a brief look at these categories and discuss how to mitigate their risks.
Fall Protection: A common cause of scissor lift injury and fatality is fall protection. Fall protection is required for all types of aerial lifts and many types of scaffolding. For scissor lifts, the safety railings and gates count as fall protection. However, sometimes the height of the lift or weather conditions mean that additional fall protection must be used. In these cases, you must wear a safety harness with a lanyard that connects to a rated and clearly labeled anchorage point. The rails of the scissor lift do not count as anchorage points, so you should never tie off to one.
Stabilization: Scissor lifts are meant to be used on smooth, stable surfaces, so you should use extreme care when traveling over or working on rough terrain. Uneven ground or weak pavement could cause the lift to tip over. If needed, use outriggers to help stabilize the lift and keep you and your co-workers safe. If weather conditions are bad, avoid using the scissor lift altogether.
Positioning: You must position the scissor lift so that it does not contact electrical or crushing hazards. If you need to move the lift, use ground guides so that the lift lands in a safe spot. If you are using a scissor lift around any vehicles, make sure that you use traffic control measures so that no vehicles come too close.
Keep in mind that scissor lifts actually fall under the OSHA standard for scaffolding, not aerial lifts. For more information on scissor lifts and how to operate them safely, check out our Scissor Lift Safety Training. Good luck and stay safe!