Severe injuries caused by falls from elevation are among the leading cause of death in the construction industry. These accidents accounted for over 250 deaths out of the 700 construction fatalities reported in 2016. Although scissor lifts offer the much-needed versatility and mobility to accomplish certain tasks, they are equally risky.
The scissor lift, just like aerial and boom lifts require a lot of preparation and caution to ensure both safety and successful operation. Keep in mind that as much as you need the lift to reach certain heights, operator safety is the top priority. Here are some safety tips that will help ensure safe practices while using a scissor lift.
Proper Training Is Critical
Everything related to the operation of the scissor lift starts and end with adequate training. Accident reports related to these lifts often identify key areas where the operator does no have appropriate training or did not review the safety protocols. OSHA standards are clear on the minimum criteria for training construction workers who use a scissor lift and this covers several common sense procedures that should be observed by everyone regardless of their experience.
For instance, the training guideline specifies that proper training must include reading, understanding, and adhering to the manufacturer’s instructions at all times. Proper training also appreciates the fact that a scissor lift has weight limitations and improper lifting or movement may expose both the operator and workers to life-threatening risks.
Never Forget or Ignore to Wear the Safety Harness
It’s concerning to see an individual operating a scissor lift without the safety harness. Any fall can be dangerous and life-threatening. Always put on a safety harness whether you are operating at 10, 20, or 60 foot from the surface. There are certain times when people have fallen from smaller heights and lost their lives, so you need to be careful at all times. Just make sure that you wear the harness before you commence working, and you will always be safe.
Avoid Sitting, Climbing, or Standing on the Scissor Lift’s Guard Rails
Make sure that you maintain a firm footing on the lift’s floor at all times. If you discover that the scissor lift can’t reach a certain work area that is too small, don’t force things but try to find an alternative means of gaining access to the area. Keep in mind that the scissor lift is not designed to reach all places. Most accidents tend to occur as a result of either the operator or worker trying to reach dangerous areas using the scissor lift.
Conduct a pre-Work Inspection
Pre-work inspections cover both the worksite and the equipment to be used. Before you insert the ignition key into the scissor lift, review the safety manual and ensure that everyone who will be involved in the operation has work shoes, proper helmet, reflective vests, and has put on their safety harness. You should also check the fluid levels in the lift’s hydraulic cylinders and the lifting mechanisms.
Ensure that the machine doesn’t have any loose materials that could make someone trip or fall. You should also evaluate the site surfaces to ensure that they have the structural strength to support the scissor lift, materials, and workers. Lastly, check for any hanging electrical lines that could come in contact with the lift and hurt the workers.