How to Safely Operate a Scissor Lift

Scissor lifts are helpful elevating work platforms that lift workers and their tools safely when working at a height. When properly maintained and operated, a scissor lift not only increases safety but also productivity. Height 4 Hire is Brisbane’s leading choice for access equipment hire, with a wide range of scissor lifts, boom lifts, forklifts and more. We are often asked about using scissor lifts on a sloping surface or gradient, and how to prevent accidents and tip-overs, so let’s take a look at a few tips to ensure safe operation of a scissor lift when on a sloping surface.

Never Exceed the Specified Safe Working Angle or Maximum Gradient

For mobile EWP’s the ground slope is a key contributor to machine stability and, ultimately the safety of the operator. In any case, there is always a specified maximum slope or tilt on which your scissor lift can be moved or elevated. The safe working angle or maximum tilt angle is defined in the operator’s manual as well as on the manufacturer’s identification plate fitted to the EWP or marked by a decal in the platform.

Remember: Scissor lifts must always operate on firm level ground for operator safety.

Always Ensure Platform Load and SWL Weight Capacities Aren’t Exceeded

For safe operation whether on a flat surface or a slope, it is imperative that you abide by the load and weight capacities of the scissor lift as specified by the manufacturer. The maximum SWL capacity includes the weight of the operator and all tools, materials, and equipment that’s in the platform.

Use Correct Stabilisation Techniques when using an EWP fitted with Outriggers

To stabilise a scissor lift, operators need to set outriggers on pads or on a level compacted surface, and should not exceed the manufacturer’s maximum slope recommendations. Wheel chocks and brakes should also be used whenever operating on a slope. In addition, operators must be trained in the proper usage of the stabilising mechanisms on the equipment they are using and should disperse loads appropriately to maintain the intended centre of gravity while in operation.

Adhere to Safe Operational and Loading Practices

A scissor lift on sloped or uneven ground may be extremely dangerous. Unsafe operation and loads may cause the lift to become unstable and tip over.

Before operation:

  • Read the operator’s manual to make sure you understand the maximum slope rating or gradient and follow the information.
  • Ensure you are aware of all ground conditions and maximum point loads of the EWP in use.
  • Measure any slopes with a digital inclinometer other method to understand the slope rating or gradient.

In operation:

  • Never raise, extend or operate the machine unless it is on a firm surface.
  • Never exceed the horizontal or vertical reach limits.
  • Limit travel speed, according to the condition and surface traction of the slope.
  • Do not exceed the maximum slope rating or gradient for the machine.
  • Use extreme care and slow speeds while driving the machine in tight work areas.
  • Do not operate in bad weather including high winds.

Additionally, operators must always be careful of uneven surfaces, potholes, overhead wires and cables, and never surpass the manufacturer’s specifications for safe use.

If you need access equipment for use on a sloping site, the team at Height 4 Hire can help with all the access equipment hire and information you need to get the job done safely. Get in touch with us online or call (07) 3713 0500 to speak with a friendly team member today.

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