Aerial Work Platforms
Manlifts and scissor lifts are two pieces of equipment that if used
correctly, provides quick and safe access to work areas that at one time could only be reached from
scaffolding or a crane's manbasket. These lifts,
collectively called Aerial Work Platforms, are important tools. However with any tool, there are right and
wrong ways to use them.
The most important tip to remember before
operating any aerial lift platform, is always read and follow the manufacturer's safety and operation manual!
This information must be kept on the rig, and can usually be found in a PVC tube that's tied to the machine's
frame or rails.
Safe Operating Procedures for Both
Manlifts and Scissor Lifts:
Only trained and authorized people should operate
the lift. A qualified instructor must
make sure that every operator reads and\or understands the equipment's safety and operating
instructions. This includes all of the warning decals and labels mounted on the machine.
Always check for overhead obstructions before
driving or elevating the platform.
Refuel tanks only when the unit is turned off. If
battery powered, the batteries should be charged only in a well ventilated area, away from any open
Prior to each shift a safety inspection should be
completed by the operator; this includes both a visual inspection and a function test. If a problem is
found, get the lift repaired.
Elevate the platform only when it is on a firm,
level surface. Although many lifts look like a rough terrain piece of equipment, they are not. Their
large tires do allow the equipment to access somewhat difficult areas, but once in position they are
designed to be out of level only 50 while in operation. This amounts to 10 inches in a 10 foot wheel
span. In addition, the lift must have a tilt alarm that activates when the machine is more than 50 out
Scissor lifts are efficient one-direction
lifts. They provide a solid surface to work from, but always remember:
Guardrail, midrails and toeboards must be in place.
The toe board can be omitted at the door.
The platform must be equipped with a mechanical
parking brake that will hold the unit securely on any slope it is capable of climbing. The brake should
be tested periodically.
Never use the lift's rails, planks across the
rails, or a ladder, to gain additional height.
Unique hazards for manlifts: Manlifts can
move in more than a single direction, increasing the risk of mishaps, so it's important to remember the
When ever working out of a manlift, a full body
harness must be worn, and properly attached to the basket. A sudden jolt has thrown people from
manlifts, before they could react.
Always maintain a safe distance from debris piles,
drop-offs, floor openings, etc.
Never drive the manlift when it is elevated above
the limit the manufacturer considers safe. Each piece of equipment will state what the maximum
extension can be while being driven.
Used correctly, aerial work platforms can
be priceless, timesaving assets. Operate them without regard to their limitations, and this same equipment will
put you and those around you, at undue risk.