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Safety Tips

Scissor lift operating procedures

March 1, 2013

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If operated incorrectly, scissor lifts can cause serious injuries. The FIOSA – MIOSA Safety Alliance of British Columbia notes that scissor lifts often are misused, such as when they are treated as a hoist, the maximum lift capacity is exceeded, the lift is parked on a slope exceeding operator manual specifications, or workers stand on the handrail or use a ladder on the platform.

The alliance recommends workers follow these key points for safely using a scissor lift:

  • Visually check worksites to ensure they do not have any uneven surfaces, drop-offs or holes, bumps, floor obstructions or debris, overhead hazards, or other workers in the area.
  • Perform a pre-shift inspection that includes a visual check of the platform floor, guardrails and toe boards. The inspection should ensure tires and wheels are in good condition, controls are clearly marked for function and hydraulics are not leaking.
  • Perform a function test – test the ground controls, manual lowering control and platform controls, including emergency stops. Check steering and drive functions.
  • Wear appropriate personal protective equipment, such as a harness and fall arrest lanyard. Follow the operator’s manual or employer procedures and wear other PPE as required or recommended.
  • All scissor lift operators must receive adequate instruction and demonstrate competency in operating the equipment.
  • The employer must ensure the scissor lift is maintained per the manufacturer’s recommendations, workers are properly trained to operate the equipment and the machine is operated in a safe manner.

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