OSHA Scissor Lift Regulations

Written by larry davis
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OSHA Scissor Lift Regulations
A scissor lift raises and lowers a platform that can hold workers and equipment. (A portable motorised Scissor Lift used by Painters image by david hutchinson from Fotolia.com)

Scissor lifts are a type of aerial lift equipment used in many types of industries. This type of lift is categorised in the regulations for the Occupational Safety and Health Administration, or OSHA, under the heading of "scaffolding." The scissor lift has a larger, more stable work platform than most types of aerial lifts. Its base sits firmly on the ground and uses a "scissor-like" gear to raise and lower the platform.


As with all equipment, the scissor lift requires training, according to OSHA Standards.

A worker must complete a 10-hour safety training course before beginning work at a business or construction company. If a worker will be operating a scissor lift or working from the platform of a lift, his training must include the safety of aerial lifts and scaffolding, as well as personal protective equipment and fall protection.

Inspect the Lift

The person in charge of the job, the operator and anyone who will be working with a scissor lift should complete an inspection. If the lift is new or is a rented one, the inspection is doubly important since the workers have not had experience with that particular machine. Check to see that the controls and the hydraulic lift system work correctly. Make sure the lift cannot accidentally slip into lift or descent mode. Check the surface on which the lift will be positioned. Loose gravel or soft dirt are dangerous. A sloped surface may cause the lift to roll. Correct each situation before boarding the lift. Check for overhead hazards, such as power lines or obstructions. Move the lift to a safe area if hazards are present.


Make sure the guardrails are sturdy and the gate closes properly. Guardrails are not meant to lean on, nor is the gate, yet accidents can happen. If the railing system does not seem sufficient for the height at which a worker will be using it, have the worker wear fall protection, such as a safety harness. Workers should not lean, climb, or sit on guardrails.


Always follow the manufacturer safety instructions and load limits. Labels on the lift will remind workers of the safety hazards and tips to avoid injury, as well as the load limits. Spread the load or number of workers evenly along the platform before beginning to lift. Close and latch safety gates. Stand firmly on the platform during the lift. Workers may grasp, but not lean on, the guardrail during the lifting process.

While working, don't reach outside of or lean on the railing. Don't climb on or down the lifting mechanism. Be vigilant about the positioning of materials and workers to prevent the machine from tipping.

Workers on the Ground

Those persons performing work on the ground around the lift should stay a distance from the lift in case of falling equipment or an accidental tip-over of the lift. Ladders and other objects or equipment should not be placed against the scissor lift while it is raised and workers or equipment are on the platform.

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