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Scissors lifts are an efficient and safe method of providing a temporary elevated work platform for many constructions operations. However, if these lifts are not maintained or used properly, accidents can occur. Every year in the United States, about 190 people become construction fatalities due to improper use of scaffolds. Falls, electrocution, and overturns of scissors lifts are the leading causes of these senseless accidents.
All of these accidents are preventable. Always apply good judgment and common sense when using these scaffolds. Check these common sense items before you use that scissor lift.
Serious Scissors Lift Hazards

  • Operating on rough ground, holes, improper set-up, overturn.
  • Operating too close to energized overhead lines or parts.
  • Overloading the lift.
  • Climbing on the rails; falling from the platform.
  • Using the lift as a crane.

General Guidelines for Using Scissors Lift

  • Train workers adequately before they use the scissors lift.
  • Ensure that workers understand all the unique characteristics of a scissors lift.
  • Use lifts only under proper supervision.
  • Before each use, inspect scissors lift to be sure it is serviceable.
  • Check to be sure that the lift is free of defective or damaged parts.
  • Be sure that people have and use the access points to the lift.
  • Be sure that the platform and working surfaces are free of debris, ice, mud, etc.
  • Be sure that the operating area is level, with no holes or depressions.
  • Make sure that the guardrails, midrails and toeboards are installed and the entry gates are latched.
  • Ensure that workers are tied off to the lift with a full body harness.

Before you use that scissors lift, take the time to think it out. Use good judgment and common sense. Do no become a statistic simply because you did not think!

© 2008 The Hartford Loss Control Department, All Rights Reserved. CFLC 97 Backing Heavy Equipment Safely. The information provided in these materials is intended to be general and advisory in nature. It shall not be considered legal advice. The Hartford does not warrant that the implementation of any view or recommendation contained herein will: (i) result in the elimination of any unsafe conditions at your business locations or with respect to your business operations; or (ii) will be an appropriate legal or business practice. The Hartford assumes no responsibility for the control or correction of hazards or legal compliance with respect to your business practices, and the views and recommendations contained herein shall not constitute our undertaking, on your behalf or for the benefit of others, to determine or warrant that your business premises, locations or operations are safe or healthful, or are in compliance with any law, rule or regulation. Readers seeking to resolve specific safety, legal or business issues or concerns related to the information provided in these materials should consult their safety consultant, attorney or business advisors.

Cheryl Graham, Vice President of Marketing

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