Scissor Lift Fall Protection

July 7, 2008

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Getting back to work after a holiday weekend is a good time to review safety procedures with painting and coating equipment. Scissor lifts provide work crews with a maneuverable, convenient system to reach high places, without the extensive set-up and tear-down time of traditional scaffolding. However, scissor lifts demand just as much attention to safety as scaffolding.

The National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) reports that over one in ten deaths among painters is caused by a scissor lift mishap, with most fatal accidents caused by falls and tip-overs. Most of these accidents could have prevented by following a few common sense guidelines for using a scissor lift.

Fall Protection: According to NIOSH statistics, falls from scissor lifts account for almost half of all aerial lift deaths in the construction field. The most important ways to protect against falls are the easiest for work crews to implement. Guardrails need to closed and secured before use. Work crews should not lean over or climb on guardrails.

OSHA regulations treat scissor lifts as a scaffolding system for safety purposes. This means that harnesses and lanyards to prevent falls are not required if guardrails are in use. OSHA warns that fall arrest systems are a poor safety choice for use in a scissor lift because the force of stopping the fall can cause the lift to topple over. Instead OSHA recommends fall prevention systems that are properly sized for the scissor lift’s workspace.

Coming Up: Scissor Lift Tip-Over Prevention

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