Scissor Lifts – The Essential Guide


17 March 2018


Eagle Platforms

A form of MEWP (Mobile Elevating Work Platform), the scissor lift is an essential piece of machinery in the armoury of those who work at height.

Benefits of Scissor Lifts

Scissor lifts are powered by hydraulics and are capable of raising and lowering heavy loads and personnel. The telescopic design from which the ‘scissor’ moniker comes from also allows the lift platform to be raised directly above the base of the equipment. This is very useful in positioning and also providing unparalleled levels of stability. The work platform of a scissor lift is free-standing and offers a level base, surrounded by guardrails from which to work.

There are a great number of different scissor lifts on the market and as such it is very important to understand which one is right for the job at hand as well as making sure you receive proper scissor lift training before operating any scissor lift.

Choosing the perfect scissor lift

When it comes to choosing the right scissor lift for your job it is important to look at factors like work space, environment, height needed and terrain. Then it is a question of analysing the types of scissor lifts available and matching one to your needs and requirements.

Low Level Scissor Lifts

Ideal for indoor work, for instance in warehouses or garage spaces. Capable of reaching around 7 metres in height these scissor lifts are electric-powered, meaning they don’t present much of an indoor fire hazard and are lightweight, reducing the risk of damaging flooring.

High Level Scissor Lifts

If you are in need of a boost to heights of up to 28 metres then these are the scissor lifts for you. You can choose between gas and electric to match your working environment.

Outdoor Scissor Lifts

There is nothing to stop you from using any scissor lift in an outdoor environment, however some have specific design features that make them perfect for outdoor jobs. They are often capable of reaching very high levels for telephone or electric wiring and benefit from sturdier pneumatic tires for rougher ground. Gas or diesel is the power of choice, meaning they are not hampered by battery life or the need for electricity.

Safety and Operation

There are hazards involved in operating scissor lifts. The platform offers no protection from electrical charges or power lines and in addition, especially in high winds can sway. In case of accidents, the lack of insulation will offer scant protection. With this in mind it is vital to follow best practice.

Eagle Platforms offer a range of IPAF Training courses for people that work with scissor lifts.

Here is a list of some of the most important pieces of safety advice

  • Always carry out pre-start preparation checks (rope off area, charge and disconnect battery from power and clear any moveable obstacles, noting any immoveable ones, like pot-holes).
  • Stick to the lower range of operating height where possible – especially when there are adverse weather conditions.
  • When finished, bring the platform down slowly and push stop buttons on the operator section as well as the base controller. Then turn the base key to the “off” position and climb down from the platform.

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