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About Scissor Lift

Do you need to rent a scissor aerial lift for your next job? We offer a variety of electric and rough terrain scissor lifts for your construction and retail jobs. Our lifts are great for both indoor and outdoor work between 19 and 50 feet high. In the following six sections, we’ll explain what a scissor lift is, when you need one, and how to prepare for using it during your jobs. This guide includes safety best practices and employee training rules.

What Is a Scissor Lift?

A scissor lift is a type of lift that rises directly up from its base. Hydraulics and folding arms combine to raise the platform where workers stand to a designated height. Because of their mobility and compact design, they are popular in retail and stockroom settings, though you can use scissor lifts in outdoor settings, too.

Unlike cherry pickers, scissor lifts are not attached to trucks and do not have a movable arm or basket. They’re also different from manlifts, which use a folding or telescoping shaft to raise a basket and which sometimes need manual moving. The platform on a scissor lift offers workers more movement once at the specified height.

Scissor lifts run with either electric or gas motors, and many models we offer are dual fuel. We offer electric scissor lifts, perfect for indoor work, and rough terrain scissor lifts, which have all-wheel drive and suit your outdoor construction needs. Electric scissor lifts range from 19 to 40 feet tall, and rough terrain options go from 26 to 50 feet.

When to Use a Scissor Lift

Scissor lifts work in a variety of construction, maintenance, and retail jobs:

  • Interior drywall installation and painting.
  • Stocking and organizing.
  • Electrical and light fixture maintenance.
  • Roof inspection.
  • Window repair, replacement, or cleaning.
  • Gutter cleaning.
  • Tree trimming.

Scissor Lifts During Construction

Scissor lifts come into play on a construction project during the framing phase of the project. During framing, you’ll be using rough terrain scissor lifts while the construction site is being cleared, leveled, and graded for any external work that needs to happen.

When you begin floors and walls, you need a scissor lift that works internally. Since the foundation is already in place, and the level is completely flat, an electric scissor lift is what you need when doing this interior work.

Electric scissor lifts are also useful for final finishing work. You might use a scissor lift when working on interior stud walls, rough-in electric, HVAC installation, insulating, drywalling, and hanging products such as tile on walls.

Scissor Lifts for Maintenance

You use scissor lifts during maintenance, repair, and site support jobs, too. Examples of maintenance or after construction installation work that might require a scissor lift include:

  • Energy production.
  • Data cabling.
  • Roofing.
  • Glass installation.
  • Electrical repair or installation.
  • Signage.
  • Retail services.

When doing jobs for large commercial developments, a scissor lift is often necessary. These developments include malls, shopping centers, hospitals, and warehouses, though that list is by no means exhaustive.

Remember important guidelines for sizing the scissor lift you’ll be renting:

  • The job Height: The work platform does not need to reach the height of the job; it just needs to get a human high enough to do the job. So deduct a few feet from your job height to accommodate a person standing on the platform. The individuals who are working on the scissor lift need room to move around.
  • Corridor and door width: When moving a scissor lift around stockrooms, commercial construction sites, or other locations, take into account the spaces the lift will need to travel through. Our narrow lift rental options are no wider than 30 inches, which will fit through many tight spaces.
  • Floor type: Hydraulic machines are heavy. If you are working in a residential or commercial construction space, consider the flooring and the weight of the machine you rent.

Instead of buying a scissor lift that won’t fit every job situation you face, rent from us to save money and always have the tools you need to get your construction and maintenance jobs done efficiently and correctly.

Associated Scissor Lift Hazards

Like all aerial lifts and construction equipment, scissor lifts come with possible safety hazards. Being aware of these hazards helps you and your employees or contractors safely use the equipment you rent.

Falling Hazards

People on the raised scissor lift platform are at risk of falling from the platform. Poor work practices or an unstable lift can cause falls. Items might also fall from the lift platform, putting those on the ground nearby in danger.

Tipping Over Hazards

When the lift isn’t on flat ground or becomes unbalanced, it can tip over. This is dangerous whether or not someone is on the platform. Scissor lifts can also tip when the structure of the machine itself becomes compromised, either because of damage or bad maintenance practices.

Electrical Hazards

When a scissor lift moves around a jobsite, electric shock or electrocution can happen if the lift drives over or under exposed electrical wiring.

Crushing Hazards

If a lift becomes unstable and falls, the several thousand pounds of weight can crush both people and objects. People on the platform positioned between two objects may also be crushed if the lift moves.

Contact Hazards

If you use a scissor lift that’s too high or too bulky for your job, the lift could damage the job site as you move the lift around. It’s powerful enough to damage ceilings, drywall, door frames, and shelving.

Safety Protocols for Operating a Scissor Lift

To keep your workers and your job site safe, always adhere to safety protocols when using scissor lifts. These protocols lower the risk of scissor lift injuries or damage during lift operation.

Protect Against Falling

  • Only move the lift when the platform is folded down, and nobody is standing on it. Avoid driving the lift when it is extended, and somebody is on the platform.
  • Use safety harnesses to secure anyone on the platform to the platform itself.
  • Always close the platform access gate before raising the lift.
  • Don’t control the lift from below without expressly communicating with and gaining permission from the person on the raised platform.
  • Don’t lean on or over the platform’s guard rails. If the lift isn’t positioned correctly to reach the job, get down, move the lift, and raise it again.
  • Secure all tools on the lift.

Protect Against Tipping Over

  • The manufacturer will recommend a weight the platform can handle. Stay below that weight to avoid weighing down the platform and tipping the machine.
  • Always stop the lift on level ground.
  • When using a lift outdoors, check the wind speed. Don’t use the lift if the wind is stronger than what the manufacturer says the lift can handle.

Protect Against Electric Shock

  • Assume every wire is live, even if it has insulation or isn’t plugged in.
  • Move electrical wiring out of the way before operating the lift.
  • Stay at least 10 feet away from overhead electrical lines.
  • Rent an insulated lift, and never touch wiring with your bare hands.

Protect Against Crushing

  • Do not allow workers to stand within tipping distance of the lift while it is in use.
  • Do not allow workers to put the lift platform between high objects, such as ceiling beams. Always work below these objects or adjacent to them.
  • Set cones or signs around the operating scissor lift, especially if it is a large work site with lots of employees.

Protect Against Contact

  • Always set the brake or the wheel locks to prevent the lift from rolling into anything.
  • Measure the height of your job before renting a lift. Take into account maneuverability room for the worker who will be on the platform.
  • Be aware of elements that can present height clearance issues, such as beams, door frames, light fixtures, and hanging electrical wires.

Use the above protocols to create your scissor lift safety checklist.

Scissor Lift Training

When you rent scissor lifts, you need to train the employees who will be operating them properly. Get training, compliance information, and standards directly from OSHA. The manufacturer of our scissor lifts and other equipment also offers a comprehensive training program designed specifically for its machines: Genie® Lift Pro™ Online Operator Training Courses. Book training by calling (888) 325-5172.

The Genie® Lift Pro™ course offers:

  • A web-based learning platform your workers can complete at a pace that suits them.
  • A variety of learning tools, such as graphics, videos, and quizzes.
  • Hands-on training from a Genie® Lift Pro™ professional.
  • Certification to operate aerial lifts after successful completion of the course.

We recommend training from the company that makes the scissor lifts because its professionals know the details on how to safely use the lifts. If you rent often, you can cut costs by getting some of your employees certified as trainers so that they can help you, onboard new employees.

Frequently Asked Questions

How Do I Rent a Scissor Lift?

Choose the height and type of scissor lift from our scissor lift rental page. Contact us for the rental, and book training for any employees who aren’t certified to use aerial lifts.

How Long Can I Rent a Scissor Lift?

We offer one-day (eight hours) rentals, a week (five days) rentals, and four-week (20 days) rentals.

Will a Scissor Lift Work in Emergency Situations?

Yes. Scissor lifts often offer access in emergency situations thanks to their maneuverability and stable platform. Firefighters use them to enter buildings and help people. The lift harness might be used to secure victims.

Can I Use Power Tools on Scissor Lifts?

Yes. Many of the scissor lifts we rent have built-in outlets on the platform designed for your power tools. Ensure the lift is stationary and stable before you plug in your tools and start working.


Big Rentz is your resource for renting scissor lifts and other aerial work platforms. Choosing a rental saves money over purchasing construction equipment you’ll have to store; it also ensures you can always get the correct piece of equipment your job requires. Remember to buy training courses for the employees who will be using the scissor lift to ensure safety for all your job site workers.

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