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Sensors Can Improve Scissor Lift Safety

scissor lift safety


Scissor lift operators need additional tools to help them control their working environment and protect their safety. OSHA has recently issued a hazard alert that addresses the main causes of injuries and fatalities involving scissor lifts. And the primary causes are an improper use by untrained operators and a lack of modern technology like sensors. Sensors can alert the operator of potentially unsafe situations.

Scissor Lift Sensors Can Prevent Fatal Injuries

In November 2014, Jorge Castillo-Riffo was operating a scissor lift at the Royal Adelaide Hospital site when he was crushed by a concrete slab above him. The CEPU union stated following the tragic accident that if proximity sensors would have been on the scissor lift, Castillo-Riffo would have been alerted that he was getting too close to the overhead concrete, and he could have lowered himself to safety. However, proper measures were not taken on this particular worksite and on the scissor lifts used there. About two years later, in February 2016, a partner of Castillo-Riffo was killed in a similar manner. Stephen Wyatt, 63, was crushed while operating a scissor lift on the same worksite. Union members say that sensors could have protected Wyatt who was working on an elevated platform by warning him of the ill-fated crushing hazard.

What Can Manufacturers and Employers do to Ensure Safer Working Conditions?

The first step for making scissor lifts safer is to install certain sensors on the equipment to detect and warn workers of unsafe situations. These potential hazards include elevating the lift too high and getting too close to fixed objects. Here are a few sensors all scissor lift manufacturers should install on their equipment to help prevent accidents like the two described above:

Height Monitoring Sensor. This device would sensor the height of the scissor lift and alert the operator when it is in close proximity to a potentially hazardous object. This sensor can help prevent crushing accidents.

Hydraulic Pressure Monitoring and Regulating Sensor. This tool is compact and durable to regulate scissor lift pressure and is placed on the bottom platform of the lift. This sensor is designed to help prevent accidents caused by scissor lift malfunctions.

Wheel-to-Ground Contact Monitoring Sensor. This sensor is placed on the side of the bottom platform in between the four wheels. It can detect when a scissor lift is on unstable ground and is lacking adequate contact. This sensor can help prevent falling accidents caused by tipping scissor lifts.

What Can Workers do to Protect Their Safety While Operating Scissor Lifts?

All scissor lift operators can protect their health and safety by only working on scissor lifts that they know have been installed with the above-mentioned sensors and other safety equipment. Workers should also look into receiving OSHA-compliant scissor lift certification. This training teaches how to operate a scissor lift properly, identify potential safety hazards, understand OSHA-issued protocols and procedures, and inspect the equipment. offers the most convenient and comprehensive aerial lift/scissor lift training available. The online program takes only about 60 minutes to complete, and it is completely OSHA compliant. Educate yourself with the proper protocols and understand the safety tools that should be installed on every scissor lift you operate.

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