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Scissor Lifts – The Essential Guide

Mar 17, 2018 | 0 comments

When it comes to the hierarchy of accidents in the workplace, working at height has the ignominy of consistently ranking as the number one cause. Over recent years concerted efforts have been made to address this, but it remains a major issue and one which only training across the board, for employees and managers alike can address.

The two major accreditors of working at height training in the UK are PASMA and IPAF, both industry standard and responsible for overseeing a wide range of exceptional training courses in the UK.

JW Simpkin Ltd exemplify the vast spectrum of industries that needs working at height training. They are fire protection specialists who ensure that their employees are trained on courses provided by both PASMA and IPAF in order to meet site safety measures when delivering their services of fire protective boarding and intumescent painting of structural steelwork.

In terms of the kinds of businesses that need to ensure that their employees and managers are trained in safe working at height, it’s a case of how long is a piece of string. However, the industries most at risk tend to be the building trade, telecommunications, roadwork operations, decorating and window cleaning and warehouse operations. Of course there are multiple other industries that are affected. There are training courses for managers that help them understand the risks of a particular site in particular conditions and how to plan to make sure best practice is adhered to. In some ways this is just as important as ensuring those actually up on a big cherry picker are fully trained.

Ensuring that employees are fully trained is inarguably the first step towards risk mitigation. You can give everyone the top of the line Personal Protective Equipment, but if they don’t understand when conditions make it too risky to even attempt working at height, such items can be utterly useless. Before looking at all of the more specific and in some ways selfish reasons why training is important it is vital to bear in mind that according to the Health and Safety Work Act of 1974, all employers have a duty of care to ensure all employees and visitors to their premises are kept safe.

It may seem blindingly obvious, but the better trained employees are in safety procedure, the easier it is for them to focus on their jobs and become more productive. Jobs will take up less time and become more streamlined. While the initial outlay for training programmes may seem costly, employers can reap the rewards in many ways. In fact, money can be saved in the long run. Imagine the legal fees, reputational damage and fines that could be incurred should an employer be found to be at fault or negligent after a fatal accident? Yes, there should be a moral obligation, but even the hardest of business noses should appreciate the potentially damaging financial implications. It is also worth noting that contracts are starting to be withheld from under-trained organisations as it is not worth the risk of any negative publicity an accident could bring.

Finally, everyone wants to work in a happy working environment and studies show that when employees are confident in their safety and ability to adapt to different working conditions they are much happier in their roles, leading once again to better productivity and morale.

call us now:

0344 693 3303

call us now:

0344 693 3303

Eagle Platforms Ltd
Ryton Road, Anston
Sheffield, S25 4DL

Registered in UK & Wales 07665934

Eagle Platforms Ltd
Ryton Road, Anston
Sheffield, S25 4DL

Registered in UK & Wales

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.