Fall-Protection and Scissor Lifts

Staff | September 28, 2010

In the September 2009 issue of Construction Equipment, we put together a Safety Illustrated article about fall protection. In the article, we provided a graphic of an operator tethered to a scissor lift to illustrate the Occupational Safety and Health Administration's national standards for fall protection.

Bill Hindman, president of Industrial Marketing Systems, read our safety article and pointed out that OSHA does not require workers to use fall-protection equipment in scissor lifts. OSHA, however, does require using fall protection in boom-type lifts.

"The reason for this is that a boom lift can catapult a person out of the lift whereas a scissor lift cannot," Hindman says.

The International Powered Access Federation argues that fall-protection lanyards create a tripping hazard in scissor lifts, and if a tethered operator were to fall out of a scissor lift, the force of the fall could tip the lift over and on top of the operator.

Still, some scissor-lift manufacturers provide an anchor point to which an operator can tie off, and various businesses and local regulation agencies require operators to tie off to both boom lifts and scissor lifts.