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Indoor Overhead Hazards for Scissor Lifts

Indoor Overhead Hazards for Scissor Lifts

Scissor lifts are one of the most popular types of lifts for reaching high areas indoors. They are often used in hospitals, schools, hotels and other work sites with high ceilings. At industrial work sites, scissor lifts can be used for installing or replacing overhead lighting or HVAC piping. They can also be used for painting, damage repair and other common maintenance tasks. Warehouse workers also use them for checking inventory on high shelves.

Scissor lifts are one of the safest types of aerial lifts and are versatile and easy to use. Their small footprint makes them ideal for warehouses and other indoor sites with limited storage space. Other advantages include:

-The stable base allows scissor lifts to be used on many types of surfaces.

-Smaller scissor lifts can be easily maneuvered in narrow aisles and crowded areas.

-The caged platform helps prevent falls and provides a handy grip for workers while in the air.

-Scissor lifts provide more working space than many aerial lifts, making it easy to handle tools and equipment.


Scissor Lift Hazards

The biggest risk with scissor lifts is workers falling from the platform. When used indoors, the next biggest risk is overhead hazards. Making accidental contact with an overhead hazard is a leading cause of injuries on the job. Common overhead hazards include:

-Low ceilings

-Large beams and rafters

-HVAC ducts and piping

-Ceiling fans and air conditioning conduits

-Electrical cable or wiring

-Indoor lighting

-Permanent scaffoldings and railing

-Overhead signage

-Cluttered work areas

Accidents due to overhead hazards tend to occur for three reasons. The first involves using the wrong lift. A scissor lift’s maximum lift height should not exceed the height of the ceiling. If the platform is raised too high, the worker could get crushed against the ceiling.

Incorrect setup and control can also cause accidents. Scissor lifts need to be locked into place before raising the platform and while working at height. If the lift moves while the platform is in the air, workers can accidentally contact overhead hazards. Lack of attention can also lead to problems. Indoor jobs often require working close to overhead hazards. When workers are focused on the demands of the job, they can accidentally strike overhead hazards.


Choosing the Right Scissor Lift for the Job

The first step in scissor lift safety is choosing the right lift for your work site. Scissor lifts come in many sizes and types. Some are smaller and easier to move around. Others are designed to lift heavier weight. Using the wrong lift for your work sight can reduce productivity and put workers at risk.

Start by assessing the work site conditions. Then identify any risks associated with the job, such as the kind of work to be performed and where it will take place. Also, consider any equipment that will be used on the platform and any overhead hazards that might get in the way.

Next, determine the tallest height employees need to work. Then get a scissor lift that doesn’t go higher than your indoor ceiling. Also consider the size of the lift. Small entrances and exits can often present problems for larger lifts. So can narrow doorways and aisles. Choose a lift that can easily get in and around your work site. If you have limited storage space, consider the dimensions of the lift when stowed away.

The weight you lift is also a factor. How much weight will your scissor lift need to support? Does the work require more than one person on the lift? Do you often use heavy equipment on the platform? Also, consider your indoor surface. What is your floor made of? Can it safely support heavyweights? Self-propelled scissor lifts tend to weigh a lot. They can crack tiles and even cause floors to collapse. Other types of scissor lifts are better suited for working on sensitive flooring.

Finally, don’t overlook how the scissor lift is powered. Those that run on liquid fuels can release emissions that are not safe indoors. Lifts that run on batteries offer a better choice because they don’t release fumes.


Scissor Lift Safety

Once you have the right scissor lift for the job, there are many things you can do to maintain safety.

-Always inspect the lift before using it

-Make sure all platform workers wear a safety harness

-Don’t move the lift when the platform is raised

-Use extra caution when raising the lift near overhead obstructions

Most important, make sure all personnel are fully trained and certified on the lift you use. OSHA mandates that lift operators and workers be certified. And nothing helps improve safety more than proper training. A leader in aerial lift training, provides fast affordable training that helps keep your workers safe from overhead hazards and other scissor lift risks.


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