Although scissor lifts have their dangers, just like any other elevated work platform, when they are used safely and correctly they can offer many advantages. Unfortunately, many operators still don’t understand or adhere to basic safety practices when using these machines. The shed some light on this subject, we’ve compiled this list of “do nots” for operating a lift.
- Do not drive near drop offs, holes or loading docks. It might be common sense but is often ignored. Any of these scenarios can cause the machine to tip, potentially resulting in serious injury.
- Do not raise the platform whilst on a slope or drive onto a slope whilst the platform is elevated. Doing so can cause the machine to tip and could potentially result in serious injury.
- Do not raise the platform whilst on uneven or soft surfaces. This can be avoided by performing a risk assessment of the site first and is another action that can cause the lift to tip.
- Do not drive onto uneven or soft surfaces whilst the platform is elevated. This can also cause the machine to tip, as it requires firm and even ground to stay upright.
- Do not use the lift without guardrails, mid rails, chains or bars in place. The rails are here for one purpose only – to keep you safe. Never use a machine that doesn’t have these safety devices.
- Do not sit or stand on guardrails. They are not there to gain that extra bit of height or to rest on when not working; they must be used correctly to avoid injury or worse.
- Do not raise the platform in windy conditions. Never use a scissor lift if wind conditions exceed more than 40 kph. It is, however, okay to use it indoors during gusty conditions.
- Do not use ladders, scaffolding or other devices to increase the size of working height of the platform. They weren’t designed to accommodate additional working platforms.
- Do not override any safety devices. They are there for your benefit and should never be tampered with. In a worst case scenario, the override could go wrong and lead to serious injury.
- Do not raise the platform whilst the lift is on a truck, forklift or other vehicle. The scissor lift needs to be on firm, even ground to be operated safely. This is often a result of operator laziness.
- Do not use when the tires are damaged. Tires are the most important component to check prior to use. It should only take 5 minutes to do this, so don’t cut corners.
- Do not use with tires that are not per the manufacturer’s specifications. They are the only thing keeping the lift level so damage or improperly filled tires can lead to tip overs.
- Do not use if the platform is not working correctly or if any part is damaged, worn or missing. Should you notice any issues, contact your supervisor immediately.
- Do not attach ropes or chains to the guardrails or use the machine as a crane. The rails are not designed to cope with any suspended loads; they are designed to keep you on the platform.
Look at it this way – what could be a basic 5 minute check of your machine could prevent serious injury or an even worse incident. We hope that you’ve found the above list of safety “do nots” useful in improving your understanding of correct scissor lift procedures. If you anyone operating a lift in way that appears unsafe, report them immediately – you could save their life.