HOW TO CHOOSE THE RIGHT SCISSOR LIFT
You would not put on a pair of pants 5 sizes too big to leave your house so why would you choose a lift that does not fit the job?
With so many choices of scissor lifts, how do you know what is the best for the job at hand? First, you will need to evaluate the job that needs to be completed. Ask yourself the following questions:
- Will there be wind present?
- What are the ground conditions?
- Is the location of work hard to get to? Tight turns? Narrow hallways?
- Are there any delicate or restricted weight areas the lift will need to work on or drive over?
- How high is the work that needs to be done?
- Does the floor need to be protected from hydraulic oil drips?
- Is precision maneuverability important?
- Will the lift have to pass through multiple doorways?
In this blog post, we will help guide you to the best choice of scissor lift for your job.
Will there be wind present where you are working? If there is, you will need to make sure to choose a scissor lift that is rated for work in a windy environment. If wind speeds are above 28mph work in a scissor lift will become dangerous creating a potential tip-over hazard.
Pro Tip: Make sure to check the outdoor ratings as many scissor lifts have 2 ratings: one for indoor use and one for outdoor use.
What are the ground conditions the scissor lift will be working on? If the ground is rough and uneven a rough terrain lift should be chosen as they are designed to work on those conditions. If you will be working on a firm level surface an electric slab scissor lift would be the best choice.
Upper control on Hy-Brid Lifts Pro Series with indoor/outdoor selection
Areas with raised floor panels can only be accessed with lightweight scissor lifts
Hard to get to locations
Will the location of work be hard to get into? As jobsites get more complex the ability to get equipment such as scissor lifts into a small room at the end of a hallway becomes harder. Therefore, manufactures have a variety of models they produce such as small compact push-around and zero-turn scissor lifts to allow you access into areas a larger traditional scissor lift wouldn’t be able to access.
Pro Tip: For maximum maneuverability, a compact zero-turn scissor lift will be able to access areas of a jobsite.
Are there any delicate or restricted weight areas the lift will need to work on or drive over? This is an easily overlooked aspect of a job. While it may be easy to get the lift where it needs to go it might have to travel over sensitive floors such as tile which could easily be cracked by the weight of a scissor lift. Another scenario could be work that needs to be done on a multistory building – will the elevator be able to support the weight of a scissor lift or will you need to have other equipment to get the scissor lift to the higher floors.
Pro Tip: A lightweight scissor lift is less likely to damage sensitive flooring and can go into elevators.
Height of work
How high is the work that needs to be done? While height might seem relatively straight forward you will need to ask yourself where are all the areas that I will need to use the scissor lift. Choosing a lift that is too big can easily lead to lost productivity, increase jobsite damage, and increase chances of an injury. Choosing a lift that is too small will also increase your chance of injury as the operator would be tempted to misuse the equipment by standing on the rails or using a ladder on the lift presenting a fall hazard.
Pro Tip: You might need more than one lift size depending on the job to maximize safety and productivity.
Does the floor need to be protected from hydraulic oil drips? You need to look at the job and determine are there finished floors that would be damaged if hydraulic fluid leaked on and will the concrete need to be cleaned. Cleaning up a leak from hydraulic fluid can be expensive but there are solutions to this problem. You can get a diaper made for a scissor lift or choose a scissor lift that has a fluid containment system already built-in.
Pro Tip: Fluid containment systems are a better choice than a lift diaper, but you need to make sure that they can contain all the hydraulic fluid on the scissor lift. LeakGuard by Hy-Brid offers 110% containment.
Hy-Brid Lifts single-tray LeakGuard fluid containment system with 110% coverage
Frame damage caused by a scissor lift too large for this application
Is precision maneuverability important? Not all lifts are created equal and a machine that does not have precise control presents the risk of accidentally damaging walls, door frames, and more on a jobsite creating costly repairs. Anytime hydraulics are used for driving or steering you sacrifice precision maneuverability that is vital to prevent damage.
So, what are your options to increase control of your scissor lift? The best choice is to use a scissor lift that has electric drive and steer with proportional controls allowing you to make very precise movements at a controlled speed. To further increase maneuverability look for a scissor lift with a low inside turning radius. It's not all about turning radius though you will also need to choose a lift with a compact footprint.
Pro Tip: Choose a scissor lift with proportional electric drive, low turning radius, and a compact footprint.
Will the lift have to pass through multiple doorways? While this might sound like an odd question the new standard controlling scissor lift design, ANSI A92.20, has mandated that railing heights be increased from 39 inches to 43.3 inches to increase safety. You might be saying “So what,” but a significant portion of scissor lifts will need to have their rails folded down to go through a standard doorway. This can cost you productivity by having to pull several pins and fold down the rails to go through doors then set the rails back up to use the lift. It can also cost you money if the rails are not folded properly and the door frame gets hit by a part of the railing sticking up yet.
Pro Tip: Hy-Brid Lifts designs all their scissor lifts, with working heights up to 25ft, to be compact so rails do not have to be folded down to go through a doorway.
Scissor lifts are a great tool to increase safety and productivity but without asking yourself all these questions you could actually be increasing your risk of injury, costing you money from avoidable damage, and slowing you down.