A scissor lift can be an effective tool for those who have to perform tasks several feet in the air. However, they can be a dangerous tool if not used properly. Therefore, it is important that anyone who uses a scissor lift is properly trained prior to doing any work on it. Furthermore, the lift itself should be inspected prior to its use.
Be Sure to Adhere to Load Limits
Most scissor lifts are rated to carry a maximum amount of weight at any given time. For instance, a lift may only be suitable to carry loads of up to 500 pounds at once. If you go past the weight limit, you increase the odds of the object tipping or falling over. In addition to any people using the lift, tools and other equipment must also be accounted for when determining total weight.
Wear Safety Equipment at All Times
It is critical that those who are working at heights have the right safety equipment. A fall arrest system may be an effective way to ensure that workers are protected in case the scissor lift tips or falls over. This system will allow the worker to remain suspended in the air until help can arrive.
Workers should also wear clothing that is fire resistant as well as flexible. When working near power lines or other sources of electricity, it is possible that sparks could form. These sparks could ignite when they land on a person or nearby object. Wearing clothing that will not ignite can prevent serious injury or death.
Wearing clothes that have proper give can make it easier to move without restriction. It can also prevent clothes from cutting off circulation, which could lead to serious and permanent injuries.
Have a Way to Communicate With Others
If an accident does occur, it is important that you have a way to request help in a timely manner. Bringing a phone or any other device that allows you to call for assistance can be the difference between life and death in some situations. Ideally, employers will check in with their workers on a regular basis or otherwise have a system of overseeing those who are engaged in potentially dangerous activities.
Inspect the Lift Before Using It
Regardless of how well you prepare to avoid an accident, it may not be worth much if the lift itself is not working properly. Therefore, the lift should be inspected on a regular basis. This generally means inspecting it each day or before a worker uses it to complete a task. If there are problems with the lift, they should be corrected before anyone gets on it.
Workers Should Be Allowed to Report Issues
As a part of an overall workplace safety plan, workers should be allowed to point out any issues that they see with a scissor lift. This should be the case even if an inspection has shown that no safety issues were found. While workers may be hesitant to speak up for fear of reprisal, they are ultimately responsible for their health and safety. In most cases, OSHA will work to protect the rights of those who don’t feel comfortable performing a task because of safety concerns.
While scissor lifts may make it easier for workers to do their jobs, they can also present unique dangers as well. By inspecting the lift prior to use, wearing the right safety equipment and remaining vigilant in general, it is possible to use this tool in the way it was intended. This can reduce the odds of an injury, which can have a significant financial impact for both the employer and the employee.