Lift Tables: Scissor Lifts Help Mitigate Worker Injuries When Safety Considerations Implemented
Scissor lifts are material handling solutions designed for lifting loads in industrial environments. The lifts are available in a variety of configurations including stationary and mobile, with fixed, adjustable, or rotating load platforms. The range of configurations give wide-ranging versatility to scissor lifts and Alfacon Solutions can customize any scissor lift to meet customers’ specific needs.
Wheeled scissor lifts allow easy lifting and transporting of materials between workstations.
The popularity of scissor lift tables is to help mitigate worker injury. Back injuries caused by heavy lifting are a major cause of lost time incidents. A scissor lift provides a convenient method of lifting materials to the desired height.
An operator unloading heavy items from a pallet to a workstation performs repetitive, heavy lifting from the pallet to the table. The lift table can position the pallet at table height, reducing the burden on the worker. This eliminates the strain from combined vertical and horizontal plane lifting. When properly implemented, scissor lifts reduce the risk of acute injuries associated with heavy lifting.
Scissor lifts function as an easily adjustable table, allowing each worker to position the work surface at the ideal height for them. Not only can a scissor lift improve the speed of performing repetitive stacking/loading tasks, it also makes the process more ergonomic. By reducing the need for bending and twisting to accommodate the table height, a scissor lift improves process ergonomics and reduces the risk of repetitive strain type injuries.
Some Scissor Lift Cautions:
The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) recently issued a safety alert focusing specifically on the need to regularly maintain, inspect, and test safety equipment. The HSE warning applies to operators of scissor lifts, scissor lift engineers, and rental and training companies. The combination of in-depth operational knowledge with fall protection training is the most effective accident prevention protocol.
Scissor Lift Safety Tips
OSHA has created a few categories for using scissor lifts safely and keeping workers away from harm. These scissor lift safety categories are Fall Protection, Stabilization, Positioning, Maintaining Scissor Lifts, and Training for Operators. Before operating a scissor lift, employers are responsible for assessing the work area to identify any hazards that can cause accidents. It is essential to ensure there are no loose, damaged, or faulty parts of the equipment, and that the surrounding environment is free of hazards. A quick, five-minute risk assessment at ground level could be all it takes to prevent an injury, or worse.
Falls are one of the top causes of accidents involving large equipment, and certain aerial lift and scissor lift safety tips need to be considered to prevent workers from falling and getting injured or killed.
- Scissor lifts must have functioning guardrails to prevent operators from falling out of the platform
- Scissor lift workers are not required to have body harnesses and lanyards when guardrails are present
- Workers must stand only on the platform, and not on the guardrails
- Workers should keep the work area close to the list to avoid having to lean away from the scissor lift
Making sure scissor lifts are stable is the key to preventing tip overs and collapses. Stabilization of the lift can be achieved using the following scissor lift safety tips:
- Follow all manufacturer’s instructions for moving on a scissor lift safely
- Make sure the scissor lift is not close to traffic or other equipment that can come into contact with the lift
- Position the scissor lift on solid, stable ground away from drop-offs, holes, bumps, slopes, and debris
- Only use scissor lifts in good weather conditions and not high winds
- Never exceed weight or height limits
Proper positioning of a scissor lift will help prevent crushing and electrocution accidents. Workers both on and near a scissor lift are at risk for crushing hazards, which can happen when a moving scissor lift is near a fixed object. Electrocutions can happen to workers on the platform who are near powerlines, even if neither the lift nor the worker comes into contact with the live line. Scissor lift workers can prevent electrocutions and crushed-by accidents with the following scissor lift safety tips:
- Position the scissor lift at least ten feet away from power lines to avoid electrocution
- Use traffic control measures to separate the scissor lift from other workers or vehicles
- Use ground guides around the scissor lift in the work zone
- Ensure your overhead is clear of electrical wires and other fixed objects
Alfacon Solutions’ advocates safety first with all equipment.