September 11th, 2013
In October of 2010, a Notre Dame student fell to his death from a scissor lift while filming a football practice. The student, who was also an employee, was raised the platform in winds of over 50 miles an hour.
It is important to know that although scissor lifts may not be viewed as a technical or complicated to use by the average person, they can be dangerous when not used properly.
In fact, between 32 and 35% of construction related deaths occur from falls above 6 feet. There are an estimated eight scissor-lift-related deaths a year.
Some hazards to look for before operating a scissor lift;
- bad weather or high winds
- uneven or soft ground
- check guardrail for any issues
- stay clear of electrical lines
- check brakes
- avoid overloading the scaffolding with heavy objects.
The Safety Checklist for Successful Scissor Lift Operation
Before operating a scissor lift, be sure to go to go through a simple safety checklist. Make sure that the scissor lift is:
- Up-to-date on inspections
- Survey the land, notate and avoid any potential hazards
- Be sure to operate during safe weather conditions
- Perform pre-start checks; ie be sure brakes are functioning, make sure battery is charged, confirm that guardrail is intact
- Follow manual for proper operation and shutdown
- It is important to note that a safety belt or harness is usually not required, unless there is plan to stand on or outside of guardrails, or if there is a need to reach far outside of the guardrails.
Be Prepared: Know What To Do In Case of Any Emergency
In the event of any unexpected or unwanted movements made by the scissor lift, there is an emergency power disconnect button.
It is vital to locate this button before your first use so that you have that option if you need to turn off the machine immediately for whatever reason.
The red button would be located on the platform control panel and will shut off all power function to the machine.
Serious Power Requires Serious Safety Practices
A scissor lift is the great piece of equipment to help when you need to reach inaccessible areas, specifically areas that are out of reach due to height.
Most lifts are powered by pneumatics or hydraulics, which is why it is so important to be prepared and trained before handling and operating. If not educated before use, the result could be fatal.