Scissor Lifts--Fatalities Can be Avoided
 Oct. 19, 2011

Manufacturers may occasionally use scissor lifts for incidental work in the shop. Often lifts are rented or sometimes an older unit is kept on hand for periodic use. Employer safety programs may forget to address this exposure with serious consequences. Last summer, a California worker was killed when a scissor-lift he and two other workers were in toppled. In recent years, three-quarters of scissor lift tip-overs have resulted in deaths.

Lifts can fall over or workers can slip off a platform for a variety of reasons, according to Fed-OSHA, including:

  • Being positioned on uneven ground or on weak utility covers
  • Being overloaded with heavy objects
  • Lack of guardrails
  • Being driven over uneven or unstable ground or poor surface conditions, with the lift in an elevated position
  • Improperly set brakes
  • Use during bad weather or high winds

Safe work practices on lifts include:

  • Inspecting controls and components before use
  • Making sure work locations have firm and level surfacesand no hazards that can cause instability, such as holes or bumps
  • Moving the lift safely with the lift lowered
  • Setting the brakes and stabilizing the lift before raising it
  • Making sure the lift is not overloaded
  • Ensuring that guardrails are not removed and workers arenot standing on them
  • Staying clear of electrical power sources by at least10 feet and other overhead hazards, such as trees and overhangs
  • Using the lift only in safe weather conditions

Don’t let your employees fall victim to an unnecessary scissor-lift accident. Ensure employees are specifically trained on the appropriate operation of scissors lifts. Rental companies will provide manuals, but it is the employer’s responsibility to provide effective and documented training for theoperator(s).

By Cindy Ramos
CompWest Insurance Company

Information compiled from Cal-OSHA Reporter August 5, 2011 . August 19, 2011

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