Fall prevention Injury prevention

OSHA updates hazard alert on scissor lifts

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Hazard alert_Scissor Lifts

Photo: OSHA.gov

Washington – Scissor lifts have the potential to seriously injure or kill workers when not used properly, OSHA warns in a newly updated hazard alert.

During a one-year period, OSHA investigated scissor lift-related incidents that killed 10 people and injured more than 20. All of the incidents were preventable, the agency states, and most stemmed from employers not addressing fall protection, stabilization or positioning.

The hazard alert provides the following recommendations:

  • Scissor lifts should be installed with guardrails. 
  • Only trained workers should be allowed to use scissor lifts, and that training should include never standing on the guardrails and keeping work within easy reach to avoid leaning away from the lift.
  • Employers should ensure scissor lifts are stable by following the manufacturer’s instructions and using the device outside only in good weather conditions.
  • Position scissor lifts at least 10 feet away from electrical power sources and implement traffic controls to prevent workers or vehicles from approaching the lifts.

The alert initially was developed following the death of a University of Notre Dame student and employee in 2010. The untrained employee was 39 feet up in a scissor lift filming a football team practice when winds – which were gusting at more than 50 mph – blew the lift over and killed the worker. The university agreed to pay a $77,500 fine and take steps to improve worker safety on campus.

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