1. Training, Training, & More Training
We cannot stress the importance of thorough training before operating machinery of any kind enough. While scissor lifts are relatively straight-forward to operate, that doesn’t take away the fact that they have many moving parts and weigh a considerable amount. Employers should require workers to obtain appropriate equipment certifications prior to operating a scissor lift. Additionally, groundcrew members should be educated on scissor lift noises, alerts, and movements to ensure everyone’s safety.
2. Continuning Education
Before workers use a scissor lift, they should read through and understand the operations and safety manual along with familiarizing themselves with that particular machine's safety features and controls. These controls, their functions, and locations can vary from model to model, so it’s important for operators to understand general differences and stay up-to-date with any models they may encounter. Periodic operator recertification can help with this.
3. Pre-Operation Inspections
Pre-start inspections must happen every time before scissor lift operation can begin so any malfunctions and missing or broken parts can be identified. Never send workers out on the jobsite in machines you would not be comfortable using yourself.
4. Routine Jobsite Inspections
Continuously checking and rechecking jobsites for existing and new hazards is an easy and critical step to keeping workers safe. Make sure to inform workers of possible hazards and environmental changes they might encounter during scissor lift operation.
5. De-energize Power Lines
It's a given to avoid power lines when operating an aerial platform. However, accidents do happen. It's good practice to not only avoid power lines, but make sure they're de-energized before work begins. It's an added safety layer you won't regret.
6. Assign Operators to Equipment
Foremen should assign designated operators to specific pieces of equipment to limit who has access to what. This ensures only individuals with proper operation, safety, and unique jobsite hazard training are operating machines at any given time.
7. Pay Attention
Maintaining awareness of yourself, surroundings, and equipment vitals before, during, and after MEWP operation is crucial to preventing scissor lift accidents. Being aware of what's around you, including the weather, can make all the difference in preventing a scissor lift injury or keeping a potentially hazardous situation from escalating.
Retraining should take place if any equipment or jobsite hazards change. This makes sure that all crew members are aware of changes and any associated safety implications. If a worker is seen using a scissor lift improperly or if there is an accident involving a scissor lift, retraining on that specific work platform needs to be held to clear up any areas of confusion. Don’t wait until after an accident happens to start training.
The bottom line is that every individual walking onto a jobsite needs to be safe and be smart. Know your scissor lift, know the jobsite, maintain situational awareness, and use common sense when operating aerial platforms or working around them. Referencing these scissor lift safety tips in conjunction with your company's safety policy will help workers successfully complete jobs and return home safely.