Scissor lifts are considered a type of aerial lift, but their design and application is quite different from what constitutes a true aerial lift. OSHA classifies scissor lifts as scaffolding, and they consist of a stack of crossed tubes that operate like a scissor to lift and lower the platform. Scissor lifts are used for many tasks that cannot accommodate the size and weight of a boom lift. And these tasks are made possible when an operator has completed a scissor lift certification.
One of the primary differences between a scissor lift and a boom lift is the height limitation of scissor lifts. Unlike telescopic boom lifts, scissor lifts are quite limited in what they can access. Scissor lifts are used mainly indoors for repair and installation tasks, rather than outside in construction sites. They are employed in schools, shopping centers, and other large buildings for painting and duct work. Boom lifts are used for outdoor work, can be used on rough terrain, and are needed for all kinds of construction jobs.
Scissor lifts can only access structures that are directly above the lift, and they must be placed on the ground directly below the area that requires attention. Scissor lifts can never go side to side, unlike articulating and telescopic boom lifts. However, that is what makes scissor lifts so convenient for all kinds of indoor work. Boom lifts are far too large and heavy to access indoor spaces, and scissor lifts are compact enough to fit through most industrial and commercial entrances.
One feature that a scissor lift has that boom lifts and cherry pickers don’t is an extra large platform that can handle multiple workers and bigger and heavier equipment. Boom lifts are made to handle one worker at a time, and the small bucket is not able to accommodate any substantial equipment, only minor tools like window washing supplies and small repair gadgets.
On average, 26 construction workers are killed every year from using aerial lifts and scaffolding. However, scissor lifts are responsible for only 25% of these deaths. Because of the lower height and limited capabilities of a scissor lift, they are not as dangerous as other types of maximum reach aerial lifts. Especially when the operator has a scissor lift certification. Boom lifts often involve risky work situations, and the majority of aerial lift-related deaths are from falls and electrocution from live electrical wires. Boom lift operators always need to be tied off to the platform to protect them from falling. Scissor lift operators, on the other hand, do not need to be tied off to be safe, and they have the option to hold onto the guardrails for support.
Although scissor lifts tend to be less dangerous for operators, workers still need to complete their scissor lift certification to operate the lift safely and properly, and avoid all hazards. Falls and tip-overs involving scissor lifts can still happen, and a scissor lift certification from AerialliftCertification.com is the best way to prevent them. Get started now or read more about our training kit.