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Western Kentucky University

Environmental Health and Safety - Scissor Lift

Scissors Lift or Mobile Scaffolding

On Oct. 27, 2010 a student at another university was videotaping football practice and lost their life when the hydraulic scissor lift they were in toppled due to strong winds. In August of 2011 in New York, N.Y. a lift toppled over backstage at a theatre and injured two stagehands. The incident occurred when one stagehand reached too far over the safety railing to hang a curtain, causing the lift to fall (Lift and Access Skyjack, http://www.liftandaccess.com/index.php?s=al).

Many accidents and deaths occur as a result of one of the following: untrained/unauthorized employees operating a lift, employees falling off the lift, lift tipping over, contact with live electrical wires, and lift encountering a leading edge or a hole.

A scissor lift is considered a mobile scaffold, an elevating work platform that usually only moves vertically, with guardrails attached. The ability to move vertically is by the use of linked, folding supports in a crisscrossing pattern. The scissor action can be hydraulic, pneumatic or mechanical.

All WKU employees or students operating a scissor lift, whether rented, owned or leased, must be trained in the safe use, inspection, set up, operation, and rescue procedures when using the lift. Employees must have a full understanding of all control functions, placards and warnings on the lift. Training records must be maintained with the date of training, name of trainer, name of entity providing the training, information trained on. Retraining occurs when an operator shows a lack of understanding in operating equipment in an unsafe manner.

Operator's Checklist - inspect the following each and every use

• Operating manual shall be stored in a weather resistant storage compartment on the platform

• Operating and emergency controls

• Safety devices and limit switches

• Personal protective devices

• Tires and Wheels

• Outriggers

• Air, Hydraulic and fuel systems for leaks

• Loose or missing parts

• Cables and wiring harnesses

• Placards, warnings, control markings and operating manuals

• Guardrail system including locking pins

• Engine oil level

• Battery fluid level

• Hydraulic reservoir level

• Coolant level

Pre Checks of workplace area

• Check area where lift will be traveling and stationed for holes, drop offs, debris, ditches, and soft fill.

• Check for overhead clearances

• Check for any electrical hazards overhead and within extension of platform

• Rope off or barricade area with tape or safety cones where work will be performed

• Check wind and weather conditions

• Other possible unsafe conditions

Operation of lift

• Inspect the lift according to manufactures instructions

• Do not operate lift with a hydraulic oil or air leak.

• Know the purpose of all the controls, gauges, and dials.

• Do not exceed the rated platform load capacity.

• Do not exceed maximum occupants on lift at a time. (Located in manufactures instructions)

• Do not operate machine unless it is on a firm, level surface.

• Do not operate unless all outriggers (if equipped) are properly set up and leveling jacks are in firm contact with ground and base is level.

• Do not adjust or fold outriggers up while platform is occupied or elevated

• Never allow worker to exit lift from elevated height

• Do not move the machine while platform is ELEVATED.

• Stunt driving and horseplay are prohibited.

• Do not operate machine in strong or gusty winds stronger than 28 mph, when there is lightening, or when thunderstorm warnings are in effect

• Do not push off or pull toward any object outside the platform.

• Do not operate machine near drop-offs, holes, debris, unstable or slippery surfaces or other possible hazardous conditions.

• Do not place ladders or scaffolding in platform to increase size or working height of platform.

• Do not overload lift, the lift relief valve does not protect against overloading when the platform is elevated.

• Do not sit, stand or climb on platform guard rails. Maintain a firm footing on the platform floor at all times.

• Keep platform floor clear of debris.

• Do not use without guardrails, mid rails, chain, or bar in place

• Always check clearances above, below and on all sides before raising, lowering or rotating the platform.

• You must assume your machine is not electrically insulated unless it is specifically indicated on the machine rating plate.

• Do not exert excessive side forces on platform while elevated.

• Do not alter or disable limit switches or other safety devices.

• Set brakes, wheel chocks as required.

• Keep hands and limbs out of scissors

• Report any problems or malfunctions immediately to a supervisor

Employees and/ or students are not permitted to operate lifts for which they have not been approved.

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 Last Modified 9/25/14