Rise to New Heights: Mastering the Operation of Hired Scissor Lifts for Different Projects

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The scissor lift is one of the most convenient access equipment for working in elevated positions. However, as with every piece of equipment, contractors need to understand how to operate this elevated work platform effectively to maximise productivity while also ensuring safety on the job. In this blog post, we’ll discuss the essential guidelines to follow when you get scissor lift hire and how to operate the equipment across different projects. 

By familiarising yourself with the guidelines for using the equipment, conducting pre-operation inspections, ensuring proper ground conditions, securing the work area, and positioning the lift correctly, you can ensure smooth and safe operations of this machine throughout your project. Read on to discover some of the tips for operating a hired scissors lift efficiently.  

Pick The Right Scissors Lift

One of the first things you’ll realise when you go for scissors lift hire is that there are different types of access equipment you can use for the job. You have to figure out which of these will be the most ideal for your project based on their operational capabilities and the unique needs of your project. 

Your scissors lift must be capable of carrying the required weight capacity and should be capable of reaching the height you’ll be working. Picking the right access equipment also involves assessing the working conditions and picking a piece of equipment that’ll work best in those conditions. 

Conduct Pre-Operation Inspections

Before you start using the scissors lift, you should inspect it visually first to determine if it’s in proper working condition. Check for loose or damaged parts, leaks, and other issues. You should also try to operate the device to see if it raises and lowers properly. Check the safety features of the lift and confirm that they function correctly. 

You’ll want to read the operator’s manual provided by the rental company thoroughly. The controls for each model of scissors lift tend to vary slightly. Get familiar with the specific features and controls of the scissor lift model you have hired before you start using it. 

Ensuring Proper Ground Conditions

Although a scissors lift makes it possible to work in elevated positions, the base of the machine will still be on the ground. The condition of the ground is important for the stability of the machine and the safety of workers on the platform. 

Generally, the machine should be positioned on a stable and solid surface. Uneven surfaces can compromise stability, and there’s a real risk of the machine tipping over if the ground conditions aren’t right. 

Secure The Work Area

You should survey the work area for any potential hazards before work begins. This includes things like overhead power lines and other obstructions both on the ground and at higher levels.

Ensure that there’s sufficient clearance and space to manoeuvre the lift safely. It is unsafe to allow people to work, stand, or walk under a raised platform. This is one of the leading causes of fall accidents, which is why you should cordon off the work area and only provide access to authorised operators. 

The only site workers that should be around your elevated work platform are the spotters. These are trained employees that have an unobstructed view of the work area and can help identify any issues or potential hazards when the scissors lift is being used. 

Position The Lift Correctly

The scissors lift is best positioned on a smooth level surface. However, if you’re working on an inclined surface, you must not exceed the maximum slope recommendations as indicated in the user manual. 

Use wheel chocks and brakes when operating the machine on a sloped surface to enhance stability. The scissors lift should also be fitted with outriggers and other stabilising mechanisms that help disperse the load appropriately to maintain an optimal centre of gravity throughout its operation. 

Operate Within Capacity Limits

Every scissors lift has a list of specifications and limits that must not be exceeded. This includes the load and weight capacity, maximum gradient, and safe working angle. These specifications are usually indicated in the manufacturer’s manual provided by the equipment rental company. Ensure that you don’t exceed these maximum limits while operating the machine. 

Follow Safety Recommendations 

Safety is of utmost importance when working in an elevated position and it starts with using scissors lifts with built-in safety features. When hiring scissors lifts, look out specifically for machines with features that help to keep your workers safe such as guard rails, spring-loaded platform gates, overhead warning systems, and so on. Operators should get familiar with the inbuilt safety features in the scissors lift and learn how to engage them as necessary. 

Always keep the guardrails and chains in place while operating the lift. Workers on the elevated platform also need to wear the necessary protective gear such as hard hats, safety harnesses, high-visibility vests, and non-slip footwear. Additional safety requirements may apply depending on the job site, so consult the safety regulations in your area.

It is also important that operators are aware of potential safety hazards they’re likely to encounter while working. This will make it easier to identify these risks and mitigate them during operations. 


By following these tips, contractors can harness the full potential of scissor lifts and achieve their project goals with confidence. Remember, always prioritise safety and consult the equipment manual or seek professional assistance if needed.

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