How to Operate a Scissor Lift Safely: A Beginners Guide

In the period of one year, OSHA investigated 10 preventable fatalities and over 20 preventable injuries resulting from the improper use of a scissor lift. Considering all of these incidents were preventable, it’s crucial employers and employees take proper steps to ensure the safety of themselves and others nearby.

The good news is that there are many training programs and safety tips available that shows users how to operate a scissor lift safely. In addition to those resources, there are a few more tips here, too.


Understand the Risks

Before diving into how to safely operate a scissor lift, it’s important to understand what risks these present.

There’s no question that scissor lifts are extremely beneficial when working in small areas. They are easy to maneuver and more compact than other lift options. Unfortunately, when used inappropriately, by untrained operators, or when not maintained, scissor lifts are also quite dangerous.


  • Regulations require all work done on a scissor lift be planned properly, supervised accordingly, and handled in a safe manner.
  • The most common cause of injury and fatality related to scissor lifts is a fall from a significant height.

Risk Management Tips for When You Operate a Scissor Lift

Knowing the risks a scissor lift presents is one thing. It’s something else completely to know how to prevent accidents and injuries.

Perform a Pre-Work Inspection

Never try to work on or with a scissor lift without inspecting it first. Make sure all the components are in proper working order. Also, check for any broken or damaged parts.

If you are worried about the scissor’s lift performance, seek maintenance first. In this line of work, it’s better to be safe than sorry.

Only Allow Trained Workers to Operate the Scissor Lift

No one without proper training should be allowed to get on or operate the scissor lift. Be sure the individual using it is familiar with the operating guidelines presented by the manufacturer. These guidelines are designed for the safe operation of the unit. When abided by, they can help save lives.

Don’t Overload the Lift

Know the specifications of the lift to figure out how much weight it can hold. Don’t ever go over this number. If the weight becomes excessive, the lift may tip over, causing serious injuries or even death to those on it.

Keep the Lift Lowered While Moving

If you have to move the scissor lift, for any reason, be sure the platform is lowered. Going over uneven land may cause it to tip over if the platform is in the raised position.

The Golden Rule: Always Stay Safe

It may seem easy to use a scissor lift, however, if you don’t have the proper training, it is never a good idea to do so. As an employee, it could lead to serious injury. As an employer, it could open you up to quite a bit of liability.

If you have more questions about how to operate a Lange Lift scissor lift, feel free to contact us. We also offer other information on using lifts, such as how to train employees to make hydraulic lift repairs.