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What Is the Most Common Scissor Lift Accident? 

What Is the Most Common Scissor Lift Accident? 

Common aerial and scissor lift accidents are electrocution, tip-overs, caught-betweens, and falls. 

  • Workers must know what tools, clothing, and equipment are most effective at reducing scissor lift accidents. 
  • Falls are the most common cause of injury and death among lift operators.
  • Training is the best way to reduce injuries and deaths for lift operators. 

Common Aerial and Scissor Lift Accidents 

According to OSHA, there are at least 36 deaths every year caused by aerial and scissor lift accidents. In response, OSHA issued a warning, emphasizing the importance of good training in preventing accidents. Aerial and scissor lifts are essential pieces of machinery in the building and construction industries, despite their risks. Online training for aerial and scissor lifts can save lives.

Aerial lifts are platforms that work like a crane and have multiple joints so that they can move in different directions. This means when it comes to construction, safety inspections, painting and exterior repairs, and firefighting for tall buildings, aerial lift safety is especially crucial.

Scissor lifts are platforms that can only move up and down and rest on a crisscross support. In industrial and manufacturing jobsites, scissor lift safety should be a top concern when accessing high-level storage areas in warehouses, changing lighting, repairing or replacing signage, or cleaning gutters.

We discuss some of the most common aerial and scissor lift accidents and how to prevent them.


Electrocution from overhead power lines is a major cause of accidents and fatalities on aerial and scissor lifts. It can be caused by either the employee or a piece of equipment making direct contact with the power line, not dressing appropriately, or not properly assessing the space for overhead power lines.

Employees need to learn how to avoid live power lines and which tools, clothing, and equipment are most effective at reducing accidents. They also need to avoid toppling accidents that could cause the lift to collide with power lines.


Aerial and scissor lifts are both prone to tipping over. This can happen if the load is off-center or if a worker is leaning out of the lift. Once the center of gravity is off-kilter, the entire machine can topple over. 

When it comes to scissor lifts, bad weather is often the cause of the equipment tipping over. High winds are especially dangerous. Uneven surfaces, potholes, and inclines are all potential hazards that can lead to tipovers. 

Aerial lifts are the most vulnerable to tipping over due to uneven surfaces. Aerial lifts, unlike scissor lifts, can move horizontally and vertically as well as up and down. This means they are less stable. When an aerial lift is on uneven ground, its level of stability decreases dramatically, making it more prone to tipping.

Employees shouldn’t operate lifts on uneven surfaces or in high winds. Operators must ensure that there are no overhead hazards that could aggravate an accident, like live power lines. They must never exceed the load capacity. Elevated platforms should never be driven, and reach limits should never be exceeded.


Unfortunately, workers being injured or killed as a result of becoming trapped between an object and the lift itself is a common occurrence. This most commonly occurs when the bucket is in motion and the employee becomes trapped between the bucket’s edge and an object. Workers on the ground could also be crushed if a lift collapses.

To avoid this type of accident, the jobsite should be inspected for potential hazards and dangers before beginning work. Equipment should be thoroughly inspected and any moving parts should be properly guarded. Workers should never wear loose clothing. Scissor lifts are particularly vulnerable to caught-betweens. Overhead hazards such as ceilings, beams, pipes, and power lines should always be avoided.


Falling is one of the most common causes of injury and death among aerial and scissor lift operators. The most common cause of falls is when the lift becomes unstable because of bad weather or uneven surfaces.

Workers should wear proper fall protection whenever they use a scissor or aerial lift. Employees can become complacent and rely on their skills rather than safety equipment all too often. Unexpected events can occur, such as something falling on a worker and knocking them out or a vehicle colliding with the equipment, causing the worker to lose their balance.

Workers should wear the proper body harness and attach to the lift to reduce the number of injuries and deaths caused by falls. Workers should never climb over the edge of the bucket. To avoid vehicles entering the work area and colliding with the lift, all gates and doors should be closed ahead of time.

Failure To Comply with Guidelines

However unfortunate, human error is often to blame for aerial and scissor lift accidents. For example, a worker may stand on one of the side rails, needing an extra inch or two to reach the work area. This is, no doubt, a common thought and sadly is a frequent cause of injury and death. Other mistakes include:

  • Failing to properly assess a work area before using the machinery
  • Failing to notice hazards
  • Failing to wear the proper safety equipment
  • Failing to operate the lift properly

There Are Many Types of Lifts: All Need Training  

Proper training is essential. Online training can fully prepare employees to follow correct processes both before and during lift use. These accidents can be reduced almost entirely by providing and following good, solid, and effective training. Employees will learn how to assess their surroundings for hazards like uneven ground, potholes, and slopes. Training also has the potential to reduce tipovers and the number of injuries caused by trapped workers. It will teach them about everyday hazards and how to avoid accidents.

Online training courses can teach workers how to operate a lift safely, inspect equipment properly, assess their worksite, and avoid hazards. There will be far fewer tipping and crushing accidents, falls, and electrocutions with trained workers operating aerial and scissor lifts.

What You Need To Know About Aerial Lift Accidents 

Aerial lift accidents can happen without warning and wreak havoc on a company, its employees, and its customers. Aerial lift accidents fall into the following categories:

  • Boom Lift Accidents – Because of their height and horizontal reach, boom lifts can collapse and cause some of the most serious aerial lift accidents.
  • Scissor Lift Accidents – Scissor lift accidents are caused by driving and working on uneven surfaces, as well as falls and tipovers caused by severe weather.
  • Manlift Accidents – Falls, tipovers, and collapses are the most common causes of man lift accidents.

OSHA requires businesses to plan for accidents. If your company employs aerial lift drivers, educate your operators on common accidents. Failure to do so puts people at risk and may be costly to your company.

Ongoing research is being conducted on aerial lift accidents, their frequency, and the impact they have on employers and workers. Some of the most recent research provides insights into aerial lift accidents, including the causes of deaths. This study’s notable findings include:

  • Electricians experience the highest number of fatalities among workers using aerial lifts. They are followed by construction workers and electrical power installers and repairers.
  • About 70% of deaths involving aerial lifts were boom lifts.
  • About 25% of deaths involving aerial lifts were caused by scissor lifts.

Regardless of the jobsite or the lift, aerial lift operators must always exercise caution to protect themselves and others.

Injuries as a Result Scissor Lift Accidents 

Scissor lifts are large pieces of machinery that elevate workers to great heights in the air, so if something goes wrong, the results could be devastating. Because the majority of scissor lift and aerial lift workplace accidents involve falls from great heights, injuries are often severe. They may include the following:

  • Death
  • Traumatic brain injury
  • Bone fractures and breaks
  • Soft tissue injuries
  • Spinal cord injuries
  • Burns
  • Lacerations and cuts
  • Traumatic amputation injuries
  • Head and back injuries

Aerial Lift Training 

While OSHA certification training won’t totally stop accidents from happening, it will put a business and its operators in the best possible position to prevent such problems.  

It’s a simple fact, uncertified aerial lift operators are more likely to make mistakes. They run the risk of making operational mistakes that result in aerial lift accidents, as well as equipment and property damage. Aerial lift operator accidents can easily result in death or major, life-changing injuries. You may also be subject to OSHA fines and penalties, harming a brand’s reputation, and financial losses.

Training for certification offers information on various aerial lift incidents. After finishing, aerial lift operators can watch out for potential dangers that could cause these mishaps. You’d be surprised at how quickly workers can pick up new skills to increase productivity while decreasing the likelihood of workplace accidents. There is no question that everyone benefits from appropriate instruction and certification.

How To Avoid a Scissor Lift Accident 

Enrolling your operators in a scissor lift online training course can help reduce the risk of worker injury or fatality in the industrial, manufacturing, and construction industries. This is because accidents are unavoidable, but many of them are preventable.

It goes without saying that everyone benefits when accidents are anticipated and prevented, as it means fewer equipment damages, cheaper insurance costs and liabilities, fewer injuries and fatalities, and more working efficiency. Regardless of the equipment used, giving staff access to training can be beneficial for them.