How To Use A Scissor Lift

Scissor lifts only go up and down. They can’t move the work platform horizontally as other types of aerial lifts can. This would seem to make scissor lift operation a simple task. Yet, that is not the case. A scissor lift is a complex piece of machinery. Working at height also involves a high level of risk. Even with the many safety features built into today’s scissor lifts, accidents can happen. Learning how to operate a scissor lift is vital to keeping workers safe on the job. It also requires thorough training from OSHA-approved companies like


Scissor Lift Operating Instructions: Getting Started


One of the most important parts of scissor lift training is knowing what to before starting a job. This applies to both new and experienced scissor lift operators. Before raising the lift to begin work, operators should always:


– Check the work site to ensure there are no visible hazards. These consist of drop-offs, holes, bumps, debris, and other people around the work site.

– Inspect the lift. This involves checking all operational and  functional components with the power off and then with the power on.

– Make sure all safety equipment is in place, including the guardrails.

– Make sure anyone working on the lift wears the right clothing. This includes hard hats, rubber-soled shoes, and gloves.

– Make sure the operator is certified to operate the type of lift being used for the job.


Scissor Lift Operation: How to Move a Scissor Lift


OSHA considers scissor lifts to be mobile supported scaffolds. This puts them in a When moving a scissor lift, OSHA requires these safety procedures:


– The surface on which the scaffold is being moved is within three degrees of level. It must also be free of pits, holes and other

– An experienced person must be on-site to supervise the move

– If used, outrigger frames should be installed on both sides of the lift 

– When using a power system to move the lift, it should be applied directly to the wheels. The speed should not exceed one foot per second. 

– Workers may not be on any part of the scaffold that extends outwards toward the wheels, casters, and other supports.

– The lift may not be more than two times higher than the width of the base. 

– Manual force to move the scaffold should be applied as close to the base as possible. It should also be no higher than five feet above the supporting surface 

– After moving the lift, screw jacks or similar tools should be used to level the lift (when necessary). 

– All employees on or near the scissor lift must be aware of the move.


In some cases, these requirements for safely moving a scissor lift can’t be met. When that occurs, workers must get down from the lift before moving it. Also, the platform should be lowered to at least two times the width before moving the lift.


Safely moving a scissor lift is one of the areas covered in the online training provided by  Workers can acquire this knowledge, and the skills that go along with it, in as little as one afternoon.




Scissor Lift Operation: Knowing the Top Scissor Lift Hazards


The top accidents associated with scissor lifts are tip overs, collapses, and malfunctions. Others include the lift coming into contact with an object and objects hitting the operator. Objects can be anything from an overhead structure to a moving vehicle. Scissor lift operation that helps avoid accidents focuses on three areas: fall protection, stabilization, and positioning.


Fall Protection


One of the biggest accident dangers is workers falling off the platform. OSHA requires the use of a scissor lift harness and lanyard when there isn’t a working guardrail system to prevent falls. Fall protection includes having workers check the guardrail system before starting the job. Once in the air, workers should only stand on the platform, and keep work within easy reach from the platform.




Tip-overs and collapses present another threat to scissor lift safety. Before starting the job, operators must ensure the lift is stable to work on and won’t tip over or collapse. Operators should choose firm surfaces with level ground to work on. They should also keep the scissor lift away from traffic, and work only in good weather conditions.




Correctly positioning the lift will help prevent tip overs and other accidents. Workers should closely monitor fixed and moving objects close to the lift. They should keep an eye out for overhead objects like beams or door frames. They should select work surfaces at least 10 feet away from live power sources. Positioning the lift to prevent accidents is another key area covered during scissor lift operations training.


Maintaining Scissor Lifts


Regular maintenance is a key factor in preventing scissor lift accidents. Scissor lift maintenance should involve:

– Inspecting and testing the controls and components before each use

– Ensuring the guardrail system is in good working condition

– Making sure the brakes are set and will hold the scissor lift in position



Only trained and certified workers should be allowed to operate a lift. Employers are responsible for making sure workers know how to operate a lift safely. The training they provide should include:


– Manufacturer’s instructions for operating the scissor lift vertically and in transit 

– Handling materials on the lift 

– Worksite hazards that can impact scissor lift safety

– Reporting any equipment defects or maintenance needs

Get Scissor Lift Training from


CertifyMeOnline’s scissor lift training provides a complete course in how to operate a lift safely. It fulfills OSHA’s mandates for scissor lift training by teaching how to:


– Operate a scissor lift vertically and in transit

– Handle materials on the lift

– Move a scissor lift

– Avoid hazards that can lead to accidents

– Identify and report equipment defects and needed repairs


Our course can be accessed online 24/7 from any device with an internet connection. It can also be completed in about one hour. Sign up and receive your OSHA-compliant scissor lift certification today!


Additional Scissor Lift Safety Information


Are Harnesses Required for Scissor Lifts?


No. And yes. Well, those are the answers to the question above. If that sounds confusing, here’s some more context. Aerial lift harnesses often get more notice than scissor lift protective equipment. And maybe that’s for a good reason. Aerial lifts can take workers much higher than scissor lifts. But that still doesn’t mean that scissor lift safety isn’t important. In this post, our OSHA safety training experts discuss when to use a scissor lift safety harness. As you’ll see, the subject of harnesses and scissor lifts goes along the same lines as aerial lift safety harnesses. It all boils down to the requirements of each job site. Also, some areas – such as a township, county or borough – will have their own safety standards. Are harnesses required for scissor lifts? What other job type does OSHA consider scissor lift operators similar to? The answers to these and other pressing questions can be found by reading this post.


Top 5 Maintenance Tips for Aerial and Scissor Lifts


Maintenance is more important than ever with industrial equipment. Poorly maintained forklifts, pallet jacks, and other powered trucks are more likely to break down. This can cause accidents and hinder productivity. Well, aerial lifts and scissor lifts are no different. Aerial lift and scissor lift maintenance is crucial for job safety. OSHA can hand out large fines for accidents caused by a scissor or aerial lift that’s not working properly. And most of the time, machines that don’t work right are due to lack of maintenance. Which maintenance tasks can you perform that will improve safety and decrease the chances of an accident? This helpful post shows you how. It includes methods for better inspections. It reminds you of the importance of tire pressure. It also stresses the need to check fluids in a timely manner, and much more. Read it today!