Scissor lift safety must be taken seriously. Aerial and scissor lifts are responsible for hundreds of injuries in the U.S. each year, while falls are the most common cause of fatalities in the construction sector. Understanding what OSHA require for training on scissor lifts is critical to you, your employees, and your business as a whole.
Ensuring that you have OSHA-compliant scissor lift training in place protects your workers and your business. Below we outline the OSHA scissor lift requirements in full, how to become certified in this area, and offer some top tips to keep your workers safe in their work environment.
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About Scissor Lifts
Aerial and scissor lifts are often lumped together. For example, the CDC records the accident statistics as one when it notes that almost 1,400 workers were injured between 2011 and 2014 as a result of operating aerial and scissor lifts. However, scissor lifts pose unique risks due to the mechanism and stability considerations.
For safety training purposes, scissor lifts should not be considered in the same category as boom lifts. Proper training is required by OSHA for operating each type of platform, and although the training requirements have some overlap, a majority of workplace accidents are caused by untrained operators failing to follow safety rules.
A mobile elevating work platform is supported by a powerful mechanism but has a high center of gravity the further it extends. Equally, its load is not a fixed object, and scissor lift operators need to understand how weight on each side of the platform increases the risk of tip-overs. Understanding the load requirements and arranging daily inspections to ensure the equipment is working properly is the best way to prevent accidents and carry out work safely.
OSHA Scissor Lift Requirements
OSHA requirements for operating this equipment include that only personnel trained by a qualified person should operate mobile elevating work platforms. The main guidelines for operation are outlined below; we’ll cover the process needed to obtain scissor lift certification after this.
Fall protection is the primary safety concern when using this equipment. Falls are the most common cause of injury and all workers using a scissor lift should wear proper fall protection gear. This includes harnesses, hard hats, proper footwear (especially in wet conditions), and fall arrest blocks.
The fall protection requirements of aerial and scissor lifts are similar. As either platform can reach a height from which a fall would certainly cause injury or potentially be fatal, the person in charge of workplace safety should ensure that proper safety equipment is provided to all workers who will stand on the raised platform.
A scissor lift is a moving vehicle as well as a static platform. OSHA requires scissor lift operators to follow the rental company and manufacturer’s instructions on managing loads when the machine is extended to prevent tip-overs. Instability also increases the risk of workers falling from the platform, especially in poor weather conditions.
Additional training should be provided to drivers to ensure that they understand the safety hazards of moving the vehicle while the platform is extended. Understanding that moving even a couple of feet should not be attempted when the crossed beams are extended and workers are standing on the platform makes all the difference to workplace safety.
If the job site is in a public area, proper traffic controls should be implemented to prevent injuries to passers-by. Traffic control measures are also important in an enclosed job site to prevent workers from passing underneath or near scissor lifts while they’re extended and potentially unstable.
Pedestrian and automotive traffic should never come close to being in direct contact with the equipment. OSHA scissor lift guidelines note that operators should mark the area before the equipment is used to prevent accidents.
Daily inspection of scissor lifts is essential to ensure that they’re not putting workers and operators in danger. The aerial platform should receive a hands-on evaluation to ensure that it’s clean and well-maintained. Also, the lifting mechanism should be tested during a pre-start inspection before workers are allowed to board.
The vehicle should also be regularly maintained to ensure that the driving and braking systems are fully functional. A pre-use inspection of all equipment from someone who is properly trained in the vehicle’s operating characteristics is mandatory.
Scissor Lift Training Requirements
Scissor lift training should be provided to all individuals who will be:
- Driving a scissor lift or operating the platform
- Overseeing a construction site where any type of raised or aerial lift is used
- Working on the platform of a scissor lift
- Instructing others in scissor lift safety
The training must meet OSHA standards and be provided by a qualified person. It must be available to all operators free of charge.
Do You Need Scissor Lift Certification?
Scissor lift certification must be awarded to:
- The individual responsible for providing scissor lift training in the workplace
- The materials used for proper training, whether these are videos, written documents, or otherwise
- Anyone who will operate scissor lifts
Scissor lift certification is awarded after individuals have viewed OSHA-compliant training materials and often completed a short written test to prove their understanding. OSHA will issue significant fines to any employer found to be using untrained operators in a work environment. After passing the safety portion, the employee must also undergo a hands on evaluation where they can prove that they know how to operate the lift.
Finally, the employer should provide site-specific training for any special items related to their particular worksite. Also, you should know that scissor lift certification does expire, and you will need to renew it at the property intervals.
Who can provide scissor lift training?
OSHA regulations indicate that there should be an individual responsible for training employees in the use of scissor/aerial lifts. This individual must update their OSHA certification at a specific frequency. This is different from the training provided to operators, who must renew their certification every three years but aren’t necessarily qualified to provide training to others.
In this sense, OSHA scissor lift requirements can’t be “passed on” from one certified person to the next. Just because someone is trained in scissor lift safety, it doesn’t mean that they can authorize an untrained person to use this equipment or offer training on its safe use.
It’s the sole responsibility of the person authorized by OSHA for safety coordination in the workplace to ensure that all staff receives proper training using compliant materials.
What are OSHA-compliant training programs for scissor lift operators?
Besides the individual appointed to uphold training requirements, OSHA requires that any training material that is used, be OSHA-compliant. Safety videos or written materials must correspond to OSHA requirements and be kept up-to-date by the person responsible for providing scissor lift training in the workplace.
OSHA-compliant training materials such as workplace safety videos are easily available to employers; there’s no call for employers to create their own programs. High-quality safety videos cover all hazards related to operating this type of equipment and include tests for successful completion that meet OSHA standards and ensure that your staff is properly trained.
Difference Between Scissor Lift Safety & Aerial Lift Safety
Many of the OSHA scissor lift regulations for usage also apply to aerial lifts. However, guidelines for aerial lift operators are somewhat different from operating a scissor lift, as the operating mechanisms are substantially different. Therefore, employees should receive proper training for both types of platforms, whether they’re operating or simply working in such an environment.
OSHA regulations for working on aerial platforms
Training requirements for working on any type of aerial platform include:
- Understanding the proper protective equipment such as fall protection gear
- Being able to assess a platform for hazards, e.g. slip or trip hazards
- Knowing the load capacity of a platform to prevent overloading
Aerial lift training for workers is broadly similar to the OSHA regulations for scissor lifts. However, specific training materials should be available for each platform and provided to all workers.
What do aerial and scissor lifts have in common?
Aerial and scissor lifts are both used in construction and maintenance occupations (e.g., commercial window cleaning). As these industries are prone to a high rate of accidents, safety should be the #1 priority whenever operating either type of platform.
Can you operate scissor lifts if you’re trained to operate aerial lifts?
Training for aerial and scissor lifts should be provided separately. Workers should never be allowed to use any platform for which they haven’t received specific training. OSHA considers this non-compliance, and employers risk being fined.
Using OSHA-Compliant Scissor Lift Safety Training Videos
The most cost-effective technique for providing operators and workers with OSHA scissor lift certification is to use OSHA-compliant training videos for instruction. These videos:
- Provide a comprehensive breakdown of all protective gear that should be worn on the platform
- Discuss fall protection systems that should be in place before workers step onto the platform
- Outline how to identify maximum load requirements
- Cover when and how a vehicle should be moved when the platform is extended
- Provide information on how to raise issues noticed during an inspection and when it’s safe to use a vehicle
- Come with an accompanying test to ensure that employees have understood the materials and are now competent to operate scissor or aerial lifts
You should regularly review your safety training materials to ensure that they’re up-to-date. If you’re in charge of scissor lift training at your workplace, sourcing training materials from a reputable provider is an extremely cost-effective way of keeping your workforce safe and ensuring that your business complies with OSHA guidelines.
OSHA Scissor Lift Safety Requirements: FAQs
Below are some leading scissor lift safety tips to help keep employees at your company safe in the workplace. Employees will find the answers to these types of questions in OSHA-compliant video training programs – these are often more accessible and easier to remember than written guidelines.
Does OSHA require a safety harness on a scissor lift?
Techically…no. While some might debate this point, our view is that for ANY work above 6 feet from ground level, fall protection protocols are necessary. In our view, a safety harness, even if not mandatory, should be used on all types of raised platforms, including scissor lifts. Harnesses should be regularly inspected to ensure that ithey are strong enough to support the weight of the user, are functioning properly, and has no signs of wear and tear.
The cable attached to the harness should also be subject to routine inspections, ensuring that it isn’t bent or tangled and tenses up when required. Proper maintenance of safety equipment is just as important as ensuring that machinery is operating smoothly.
Does OSHA require hard hats on scissor lifts?
Yes. Hard hats are an essential piece of fall protection gear. Workers should never step on a platform without a hard hat, and anyone working in the vicinity should also wear a hard hat to protect against falling materials.
Hard hats are a simple and cost-effective measure to prevent injuries and even fatalities. Complying with basic rules like this is also the best way to protect your company against fines for negligence or even lawsuits from employees who have been exposed to unsafe working conditions and may have suffered injuries as a result.
Implementing proper safety training means that all employees are better equipped to report safety violations in the workplace. Standards must be kept high throughout the workforce and aren’t just for the sake of management. Regular reporting of safety violations and damaged equipment will help keep your business operating to its full potential and minimize the risk of accidents or fines.
Does OSHA require annual inspections on scissor lifts?
OSHA mandates that this type of vehicle should be inspected daily by a trained professional. This ensures that the equipment is safe to use and that any faults should be escalated immediately. If the inspection reveals any type of problem that can’t be addressed on the spot, the vehicle shouldn’t be used until repairs can be completed.
OSHA has no specific guidelines in terms of annual inspections. However, as this is a mobile vehicle, it should be annually inspected by a trained mechanic simply for operational reasons. While this isn’t mandated by OSHA, it’s an important part of keeping mobile equipment running properly, and your business could still incur fines if you’re found to be using equipment that hasn’t passed a routine safety test.
Do you need to wear fall protection on a scissor lift?
Yes. Protective gear including harnesses should be provided to the employee along with full training on how to use it. In addition, protective barriers should be well-maintained and inspected each day to ensure that workers are safe while working on a raised platform.
If an OSHA inspector observes someone even standing on a raised platform without essential equipment like a hard hat or harness, this constitutes a violation. Businesses can be fined thousands of dollars for this or even more for repeat violations.
What’s the difference between ANSI standards and OSHA?
ANSI standards are set out by the American National Standards Institute (ANSI), which is an advisory body that creates standards for workplace safety. OSHA is a government body that will sometimes take an ANSI standard and put it into law.
High-quality safety training videos will consider new ANSI recommendations as well as essential OSHA guidelines. It’s important to remember that building a safe workplace isn’t just about obeying the rules; it’s about using common sense and putting the best practices in place to prevent injuries.
Using such up-to-date training materials gives your employees and business the best protection available.
Implement Proper Scissor Lift Training in Your Workplace with OSHA-Compliant Training
Following these scissor lift safety tips and implementing high-quality, OSHA-compliant training videos in your workplace is just common sense. Take care of your employees and protect your business from penalties by using unique training videos for every occupation.
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