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Scissors lift safety toolbox talk

toolbox talk scissors lift safety

Scissor lift safety prevents various risks and hazards associated with using scissors lift during its operation. 

A Scissor lift is a mechanical working platform that allows workers to perform work at a height. You will see scissors lift in many industries like construction, factories, retail, manufacturing etc. The name originated from the “cross beams” called the scissors. A scissors lift is designed to make the job easier for those who access a height while doing their job. In hard-to-reach places, the scissors lift provides mobility and flexibility to those areas at height.

When operating a scissors lift, the number one priority has to be the safety of the equipment and the activity. When this is not guaranteed, it is safe to say that you should not use the equipment. Knowing how to control the potential hazards of the scissors lift is essential when using it. Most times, some companies have to train and conduct scissors lift toolbox talks with their operators and everyone concerned to enable them to work efficiently.

The working mechanism of the scissors lift moves the work platform vertically using the scissors. The Beam raises and lowers itself during operation. The scissors lift can extend to a height of 25-50 feet.

However, OSHA Standards mandate that employers comply with the following OSHA standards (29 CFR) to protect workers from hazards associated with scissor lifts.

Here are some of the scissors lift safety hazards you should know.


Hazards associated with scissors lift.

  • Ejections from the basket or falls from the height
  • Collapse or tipping over of the scissors lift/beams
  • Falling objects from height.
  • Electrocutions
  • Collision of persons with the scissor lift while on movement.

Ejections from the basket/ falls from the height.

Ejections from the basket or falls from the height can happen due to many factors. Sometimes, the workers do not use safety body harnesses when using the scissors lift, and any eventual collapse can lead to their falling from the height. 

So, to avoid falling off from the scissors lift at height, the workers should apply fall protection requirements such as using a body harness belt with industry-approved tie-off areas. The basket of the scissors should not be allowed to near or hit any structure in the course of using it, or else the collapse will happen if the impact is heavy.

Collapse or tipping over of the scissors lift

The collapse of the scissors lift can happen due to inappropriate handling by an inexperienced operator. Tip-overs may be from inappropriate overloading of the equipment. Several factors can cause a scissors lift to collapse. They are

  • Carrying large objects above the recommended safe working load of the lift.
  • Using the machine under severe weather conditions.
  • Using the equipment above the recommended horizontal and vertical height.

One way to handle this is to ensure that all controls of the scissors lift are in good condition before the start of the operation.

Falling objects from height.

Objects placed on the scissors lift can fall if it is not protected, and when this happens, the workers on the ground are at risk. Most times, workers are exposed to falling objects from a height. Firmly secure all items on the scissors lift. Whenever you notice workers on the ground and the scissors lift activity is ongoing, kindly suspend all activities around the areas. Let workers be aware of the work surroundings and avoid working directly under the scissors lift. 


Scissors lift has the potential to get a worker electrocuted when used around an electric pole. If you work near a power line, be extra careful and know that an electrocution can happen. Remember to keep a distance from the power lines at least 10 feet away from the power lines. Treat all power lines as live power lines and as a potential safety hazard to be on the safe side.

Collision of persons with the scissor lift while on movement.

During the movement of the scissors lifts to the point of usage on the site, it can collide with pedestrians if there is no warning on the way. So, enough care is needed to prevent colliding with the pedestrian. Ensure there is a clear pathway for the scissors lift to use when being mobilised at the location of its use, and when in use, create barricades and warning signage around the area to ward off persons. 

What can you do to promote scissors lift Safety today?

  • Allow competent operators to operate the scissors lift.
  • Check the specifications of the scissors lift before using it.
  • Ensure there is routine inspection and maintenance in place for the equipment.
  • Guard rails in the scissors lift have to be in good condition. If not, don’t use the scissors lift. The guardrails must have the top rail and mid-rail.
  • Use a body harness belt with a lanyard when standing on the equipment. And put anchor the lanyard at the guardrail properly to prevent fall of persons.
  • Do not stand on the guard rail of the scissors lift during its operation.
  • During the operation, the platform is extended. Do not manoeuvre the lift, as this may cause a fall of the equipment.
  • Consider the environment of your work. Keep the scissors lift on a firm surface or ground. This action will prevent the scissors lift from toppling, tipping or collapsing.
  • Do not operate the scissors lift near energised overhead power lines to prevent electrocution, arc flash and thermal burn.
  • Avoid using the scissors lift near obstacles such as a tree as an eventual hit will cause the scissors to lift to fall.
  • Be very careful when raising, lowering and manoeuvring the scissors lift to prevent a collapse of the scissors lift.


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