According to OSHA, the major causes of injuries and fatalities involving aerial lifts are: collapses or tip-overs, falls and electrocution. Though OSHA classifies scissor lifts as a mobile scaffolds (not aerial lifts), the safety guidelines are similar.
Scissor lifts can be used in place of a boom lift in warehouses, construction, manufacturing, video shoots and a many other industries. Scissor lifts are different from other types of aerial lifts mainly because the mechanism that does the lifting is a set of crossed beams that extend and close like scissors.
In this article, we’ll review some important safety guidelines for using scissor lifts and OSHA / Cal OSHA requirements for training.
Scissor Lift Safety
According to OSHA, The major causes of injuries and fatalities involving aerial lifts are: collapses or tip-overs, falls and electrocution. With that in mind, here are six key safety guidelines to follow when using a scissor lift:
- Avoid struck by, caught by, and crushed by scenarios - Workers should be careful when moving a scissor lift near a fixed object such as a support beam, and also when the lift is operating near a moving vehicle. To prevent injuries: clearly mark a hazard zone around the lift, and never move the equipment with the platform elevated - unless the equipment is been specifically designed for that purpose by the manufacturer. Always lower the platform completely before attempting to move a scissor lift (or any aerial lift for that matter). Lastly, workers should never position themselves between overhead hazards (such as joists and beams) and the rails of the basket. If the basket moves, the worker(s) could be crushed between the rails and the overhead object.
- Fall protection - Use fall protection equipment (FPE) such as a body harness or restraining belt with a lanyard to prevent the worker from being ejected or pulled from the platform. Do not allow workers to belt off to an adjacent pole, structure or equipment. Ensure that access gates or openings are closed. • Stand firmly on the floor of the bucket or lift platform and never use planks, ladders, or other devices as a working position.
- Vehicle and work site inspection - Complete a pre-start vehicle inspection including checking fluid levels, tires, battery, guardrails, etc. It's important to also check and both the platform and ground level controls. The work site inspection is often skipped but is an important part of safe scissor lift use. Walk the area the lift will be traveling and check for potholes, speed bumps, etc. Also review the work site. The ground has to be completely level or the lift won't raise up.
- Beware of electrocution - The#1 cause of fatalities with aerial lifts is electrocution . Many people forget electricity can arc or jump from the power line, so electrocution can occur even without direct contact. Workers should consider any overhead power lines or communication cables energized and stay at least 10 feet away. Also, any conductive object (ducts, pipes, wires) must also be kept at least 10 feet from overhead lines .
- Think inside the box - Anyone on the platform should keep within the boundaries of the guard rails. Sometimes reaching over the rails is necessary to complete a job, but under no circumstances should you stand on the rails. If something is out of reach, move the lift higher. Similarly, leaning out over the platform should be avoided.
- Never lift more weight than the lift was designed to hold - the weight should include all occupants and all tools when determining your load capacity.
If you see someone who is not following the guidelines above, call them out on it. Breaking these rules can lead to broken bones - or worse. That said, the guidelines above are by no means a substitute for proper aerial lift training.
OSHA Scissor Lift Training Requirements
According to OSHA: Only trained workers should be allowed to use scissor lifts, and employers should make sure workers can demonstrate they can use a scissor lift properly. Safe scissor lift use includes properly maintaining the equipment, following the manufacturer’s instructions, providing workers training and needed personal protective equipment (PPE), and implementing safe work practices. Employers must provide workers training on hazards, including how to work safely with or near scissor lifts (29 CFR 1926.454).
OSHA recently found, over a one-year period, there were 10 preventable fatalities and 20+ preventable injuries from incidents involving scissor lifts. This resulted in an OSHA Hazard Alert regarding scissor lifts.
Aerial Lift / Scissor Lift Training Course & Certification
Aerial platform training provides operators with a general understanding of how to safely and efficiently use a scissor lift, and avoid the hazards associated with using aerial lifts. Training helps employers reduce the risk of property damage as well as employee injury or death. It also ensures compliance with OSHA and Cal OSHA regulations.
TMHNC’s certified safety trainers have been providing aerial platform training and certification for more than twenty years and have extensive experience in training operators of all types of aerial lifts, including scissor lifts and boom lifts. Our aerial platform and scissor lift training course includes classroom video training with a written test, pre-start inspection, work site inspection, as well as a hands-on practical operation. Certificates and wallet cards will be issued to the employer for those attendees who successfully complete both the written test and hands-on evaluation.
Our trainers can come to your facility anytime (including nights & weekends) to train and certify your personnel. Training employees at your facility with your equipment gives them the opportunity to be trained and certified on familiar equipment and allows TMHNC to customize a program specific to your company's needs. To conduct on-site training we need a minimum of five participants, and we offer a discount for 16-30 participants.
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