A scissor lift is a drivable machine with a raising and lowering platform.
- Scissor lift controls regulate the power source, the base, the platform, and the scissor legs.
- Most scissor lifts have two primary controls: the base and the platform.
- OSHA requires scissor lift operators to complete a safety training course.
Scissor Lift Safety
A scissor lift is a drivable piece of equipment that has an adjustable platform. It is primarily used for construction and maintenance, but it may also be used to reach shelves in a warehouse. Scissor lifts are among the most popular aerial lifts. They are transportable, small, and provide a huge, sturdy platform that is both secure and spacious.
Scissor lifts are also smaller than other aerial lifts. Any worker who uses a scissor lift must be properly trained in safety. We will go into more detail on certification and training later in the article. Scissor lifts provide many advantages. But, to reap their full benefits, workers must be taught how to operate a scissor lift.
Steps to Operating a Scissor Lift
Learning how to operate a scissor lift is not difficult. While on-the-job training should equip you with the knowledge to safely operate a scissor lift, we’ve put together a step-by-step list to go over the basics. This should not be used in place of training.
Starting Up Your Scissor Lift
- Enter the scissor lift by unhooking the chains or unlocking the gate on the side of the platform. Close and lock the gate once inside, and secure the lift by replacing the chains on the appropriate hooks. If you’re unable to open the door, locate a locking device where the door meets the machine’s frame and flip it up to release the lock. Never use the lift unless the gate is fastened to the side rail.
- To start the lift, insert the key into the ignition. Insert your key next to the large red button on the control panel’s ignition. The lift will start when you turn the key to the right. It’s important to note that the box with the joystick inside the lift is the control panel.
- Press the big red button to stop the machine at any time. If you ever need to shut off the lift’s power or lose control of the joystick, press the red button next to the key. Pushing this emergency shut-off button will stop the current flowing to the battery. If you need to restart the lift after pushing the emergency shut-off button, use the key.
Moving the Platform
- The control panel has two switches. To activate the hydraulic system and enable the scissor lift to rise and fall, flip this switch to the left. Some scissor lifts include labels for each switch position. Turn the horizontal switch on these lifts to “Platform” or “Up/Down.”
- Set the lift’s speed to “slow” using the vertical switch. By setting the vertical switch to the lowest position, you can make sure that the machine rises and falls gradually and stays in your control. This switch position may have the designation “slow” on various lifts. If the lift is going too fast, you run a higher risk of an accident or losing control.
- To elevate the platform, move the joystick forward while the switch is in the farthest, left position. Move the stick to the middle to stop rising the platform. When you release the joystick on a scissor lift, the joystick flips back to the center, stopping the lift from moving. Stay vigilant. Keep an eye out above and around you as you ascend to avoid running into anything. As you raise the lift, be sure no one is standing close by.
- To bring the lift back down, pull the joystick back. If you continue to hold back on the joystick, the platform will start lowering. Either move the joystick to the middle position or let go of the grip to stop the downward movement. Before you move, look over the rails to ensure the lift is secure before moving. Look down as you descend to keep an eye out for oncoming traffic. If someone is within 20 feet of a scissor lift, do not lower it.
Scissor Lift Driving Controls
Scissor lifts are made up of several different parts. Scissor lift controls operate the power source, the base, the cylinder that powers the legs, the platform, and the scissor legs. They can be found on both the platform and the ground. These switches allow operators to control various lift functions. While each model is different, the majority of them have the following primary controls: base and platform controls.
- Before driving the scissor lift, lower it all the way. If you drive your scissor lift while the platform is being elevated, it is more likely to topple over. Never drive a lift if the platform is elevated.
- Look for the horizontal switch on your control panel to turn off the hydraulic power and put the lift in driving mode. Completely turn this switch to the right. If the controls are marked, the default label for this location is “drive.” Always lower the platform before using this switch since you cannot raise or lower it while the lift is in driving mode.
- To ensure your safety, set the vertical switch to the “slow” position. The vertical switch on the lift’s driver panel controls the speed of the lift. To guarantee that you are in control of the lift when operating it, flip this switch to the lowest setting. When moving between rows in a warehouse when the lift doesn’t need to move left or right, the “fast” position is often used.
- Push the joystick forward to go forward when the horizontal switch is fully to the right. Pull the joystick in the opposite direction to move backward. Never switch between forward and backward before the lift has fully stopped.
- Use your thumb to push the toggle button on top of the joystick to change directions. Press the switch’s left side down to make a left turn. Press the right side of the switch down to make a right turn. As you drive, keep the switch down to keep the lift revolving. Scissor lifts are unable to turn at tight corners.
- When operating a scissor lift, it is important to move slowly and take breaks between directions. You should only use one control at a time and pay close attention to the lift’s speed and direction. Keep your eyes on the ground while operating the lift to watch for obstacles or changes in the floor’s texture. If you’re outside, check your surroundings every few seconds to ensure you won’t run into a tree or power line. If you travel too quickly, you can run into something or fall into a hole, which can stop the lift or knock you off.
Taking Lift Safety Measures
- Put on the harness and fasten it by clipping it in the middle and on the sides. Purchase a safety harness from a manufacturer of scissor lifts or a building supply store. Adjust the harness to your frame, and tighten the straps on either side. Look for a retractable nylon cord with a hook at the end on the platform’s floor. To protect yourself if you fall, attach this hook to your safety harness.
- To avoid getting stuck, be aware of the battery or fuel gauge. Your control panel has a gauge that displays the remaining fuel or power next to the controls. Pay close attention to this gauge to make sure you don’t run out of fuel or electricity while elevated. If you do run out of power while raising the platform, you’ll need someone else to recharge the battery or top off the tank so you can descend again. Most scissor lifts are electric.
- Only operate a scissor lift on flat, sturdy surfaces. Never use a scissor lift on grass, gravel, or uneven ground. When used on uneven terrain, scissor lifts can become highly unstable posing a major risk to user safety. A scissor lift should only be used on hardwood, concrete, or asphalt surfaces. Using a scissor lift on an uneven surface is typically prohibited.
- Before using the scissor lift, inspect it for damage and wear. Always walk around the exterior of the scissor lift before using it. Examine each wheel for rips or punctures. To make sure your wheels are correctly inflated, check each tire. To verify that the equipment is safe to use, look for any cracks or obstructions in the rails that elevate the platform. Get the lift inspected by a qualified technician if you’re doubtful about its safety.
- To truly keep safe, get scissor lift operator certification. If you are using a scissor lift on the job, your company is legally obligated to teach you how to use it. Consider enrolling in a safety course to get an operator certification.
How to Move a Scissor Lift
Operating a scissor lift requires a lot of experience, such as making sure the surface is level, outrigger frames are mounted, a power system is applied to the wheels, no workers are on any part of the scaffold, and manual pressure to move the lift as close to the base as possible. The lift should not be higher than 5 feet above the supporting surface, and anyone on or near the lift should be aware of the change. Workers should exit the lift before it is moved if any of these requirements cannot be met.
How to Drive a Scissor Lift
OSHA requires operators to pass a training program to demonstrate their ability to use a scissor lift in a safe and dependable manner. It is the employer’s responsibility to make sure that only OSHA Aligned personnel use scissor lifts, as without authorization, employers could be subject to OSHA fines and penalties. Training programs can assist operators in learning the ropes, and Hard Hat Training provides comprehensive training that covers everything from understanding the classifications and types to staying safe on the jobsite.