Aerial Lift Basics: Scissor Lifts

A scissor lift is a type of motorized aerial work platform that allows people to gain access to inaccessible areas due to height. Scissor lifts are lightweight, easy to move, and safe. The name scissor lift comes from their crisscrossing metal braces that rise or fall with the platform. The crisscrossing braces are also known as a pantograph. These lifts are popular in manufacturing and industrial applications. The braces are what make scissor lifts a valuable and versatile solution, as they can collapse to a small enough size to be easily stored. 

Where are Scissor Lifts Used?

Scissor lifts are ideal for indoor applications where the ceiling is high, space is tight, or access to high places needs to be done safely. When used in industrial applications, scissor lifts are often used for reaching tops of pallet racking, replacing lights, or installing new equipment. Scissor lifts are popular in warehouses, plants, schools, and hospitals.

Many manufacturers produce rough terrain scissor lifts that are ready to be used outdoors, as they are capable of handling uneven or sloped terrain. Outdoor scissor lifts are great for construction job sites.

Genie Scissor Lift

How to Use a Scissor Lift Safely

Just like any other type of equipment, scissors have risks involved during operation. Falling from a scissor lift platform or tipping a lift over are both potential hazards associated with the use of scissor lifts. It’s important to keep safety in mind and follow proper procedures while operating a scissor lift. Be sure to wear a safety harness, secure tools, don’t move an extended lift, don’t operate alone, and ensure any operators have proper training.


Falling From a Scissor Lift

Scissor lifts have guard rails in place to prevent operators from falling that must be checked before operating. Operators must stand only on the work platform and never the guard rails. Lastly, keep work within easy reach to avoid leaning too far over the guard rails.


Scissor Lift Tipping Hazard

Always operate on locations with firm surfaces and away from hazards like holes or slopes. If the scissor lift ever feels unsteady, stop immediately and inspect the area around the lift. Tipping is always a hazard when operating in heavy winds and bad weather, so be sure to check the weather forecast when outdoors. Always follow the manufactures instructions related to safe movement and only operate scissor lifts after proper training.

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