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Why Scissor Lift Training Is Essential

Aug 4, 2008
The Work at Height Regulations (2005) have worked hard to increase the safety of all workers who work on scaffolds or powered access machinery. Parts of the regulations ensure persons working on items such as the scissor lift have had suitable training. By making sure all those using machinery have had adequate training, safe working procedures are followed meaning that all work in a safer environment. The scissor lift also falls into the mobile elevated work platform category or MEWP.

MEWPs make working at height easier for a variety of different industries allowing them to reach work areas quickly and easily. The modern scissor lift also has guard rails which are put in place to ensure workers do not fall and injure themselves. Additionally they can be used inside and out. Uses for the scissor lift vary greatly, from painting and decorating large rooms where ladders are not safe, changing electrical fittings in halls and amphitheatres and repairing brick work at height. Thankfully the Work at Height Regulations ensures that no matter what the uses, workers carry out their tasks in a safe and responsible manner.

Part of adequate training allows operators to choose the right scissor lift for the job, this not only concerns the height at which the lift can reach, but also the size of the platform and the safety equipment on the lift. IPAF, a body set up to create regulations and safe working methods for powered access machinery, is currently involved with a 'clunk click' campaign. The work of IPAF campaigners is to ensure that those working at height have suitable harnessing equipment and are secured to the scissor lift at all times. This campaign is working in conjunction with the government's health and safety executive so safe working practices are adopted in all industries using MEWPs.

When choosing a scissor lift there are various considerations that must be made. The first of these considerations is the height of the job; understandably the lift must reach to a height that allows workers to carry out the job safely without stretching too much. Additionally adequate training will give workers the knowledge to look at the conditions and deem whether work will be safe. These conditions include the surface the platform will be placed upon and if working externally, any weather conditions that could be deemed as unsafe. As well as concerns with conditions, training ensures operatives will be able to recognise any other hazards such as overhanging features that may impede the operation of the scissor lift, or if working by a road, which traffic measures will need to be taken to ensure collisions do not happen.

Legally defined training is essential for at least one of the persons operating a scissor lift. Part of this training will include how to cope in the event of an accident. Tasks such as looking after injured workers when they have had a fall are essential. Falls can seriously injure and hence having the first aid knowledge of what to do means that the safety of workers is enhanced. In addition to medical training, courses normally include information on how to check over machinery to see if it is safe as well giving the knowledge of how to make more detailed assessments of the operability of a scissor lift.

Thankfully the work of IPAF and the government has made scissor lift operators safer. Working at height is always a risk no matter how many safety principles are instilled in operatives. By having the knowledge to reduce these risks and cope in emergencies the working at height environment has been made safer.
About the Author
Regulatory compliance expert Thomas Pretty looks why scissor lift training is essential for those working at height.
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