Monthly Archives: March 2022

How to Operate a Scissor Lift Safely

scissor lift

Scissor lifts are among the most popular aerial lifts, and for good reason. They feature an extendable platform and crisscross framework well-suited for construction, electrical work, building maintenance, and other industrial applications. They are mobile, compact, and offer a large, stable platform that is both safe and provides ample space. Scissor lifts tend to be smaller than other types of aerial lifts, too. Any worker who uses a scissor lift must receive proper safety training.

There is a lot to like about scissor lifts. But, to realize their full benefits, it is crucial to teach workers how to operate a scissor lift.

How to Operate a Scissor Lift: Do’s and Don’ts

Scissor lift controls can be tricky, regardless of an operator’s experience. A clear understanding of scissor lift do’s and don’ts can help an operator avoid accidents

Here are common do’s and don’t for how to operate a scissor lift: 


– Conduct an in-depth inspection. Part of learning how to operate a scissor lift comes down to thorough reviews of the machinery before you even turn it on. Verify that a scissor lift is in proper working order before using it. If any issues are identified, take the machine out of service. At this point, the lift should not be returned to service until it has been repaired by a qualified technician. 

– Assess the work area. Keep an eye out for uneven terrain. Remember, a scissor lift can easily become unstable and tip over if an operator drives it too fast or turns too quickly while traveling over uneven terrain. Meanwhile, a scissor lift operator should watch for any other work area hazards as well. 

– Maintain the lift’s guardrails. Experts who know how to use a scissor lift will tell you just how vital it is to check that a lift’s guardrails are intact. If an operator intends to work outside the guardrails, he or she should always wear fall protection equipment. Otherwise, this operator risks falls that can result in serious injury or death. 

– Travel at a safe speed. Watch for posted speed limits for scissor lifts at worksites. A scissor lift operator should always lower their lift’s basket before moving their machine as well. 

– Use safety chains as needed. Utilize safety chains for any tools stored inside of a scissor lift’s basket. Because, if tools inadvertently fall out of a lift, they can put anyone beneath the machine in danger. 

– Verify the lift’s load capacity. Much of learning how to drive a scissor lift boils down to understanding your load capacity limitations. This varies based on the model.  Validate the lift’s load capacity before using the machine. 

– Maintain a valid license. Scissor lift operators can earn OSHA certification at any time. This certification stays valid for up to three years and must be renewed to ensure an operator can legally drive a lift. 

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how to operate a scissor lift– Keep the gates open. Ensure the gates at the back of a scissor lift are always closed. 

– Put ladders or step stools in the scissor lift’s basket. Avoid using ladders and step stools inside the lift’s basket. 

– Climb or lean on the guardrails. Operators can use a lift’s guardrails to maintain balance inside the machine, but they should not climb or lean on them. 

– Watch for inclement weather conditions. Keep an eye on the weather forecast. If the weather calls for heavy winds, rain, snow, or other harsh conditions, do not let workers operate scissor lifts. Instead, wait for the weather conditions to improve before allowing operators to use scissor lifts outdoors. 

Learning how to operate a scissor lift with safety top of mind is vital. If your employees are uncertain about how to move a scissor lift, they put themselves and others at risk of scissor lift accidents and injuries.

OSHA requires employers to teach workers how to operate a scissor lift. By offering scissor lift safety training classes, an employer can teach its workers the proper techniques and strategies for how to use a scissor lift.

Tips for How to Drive a Scissor Lift

If you’re just learning how to drive a scissor lift, follow these tips to make the process as safe and easy as possible:

1. Focus on the Task at Hand

Scissor lift operators should focus exclusively on operating their lift to the best of their ability. They should follow all safety precautions, every time they use a lift. Always pay close attention to scissor lift controls if you’re hoping to avoid an accident.

2. Evaluate Your Lift

Assess a scissor lift before each use. If any problems are identified during an inspection, take the lift out of use until repairs are completed. 

3. Follow the Capacity Limit

Much of learning how to operate a scissor lift comes down to understanding your limitations as an operator. Do not exceed a scissor lift’s capacity limit. Account for the weight of the operator and any tools before using a scissor lift.

4. Use Your Lift on Level Ground

Avoid using a scissor lift on unstable ground. Otherwise, there is an increased risk that the lift could tip over.

5. Do Not Use Your Lift in Harsh Weather Conditions

Curious about how to use a scissor lift in a storm? In most cases, it’s a bad idea. Never use a scissor lift in heavy winds or other inclement weather conditions. If a storm makes it unsafe to operate a lift, wait until the storm passes.

6. Keep Your Lift Away from Other Equipment

When using a scissor lift, maintain as much space as possible from other equipment. This minimizes the risk of bumping into other equipment.

7. Be Proactive

Do not leave anything to chance when learning how to drive a scissor lift. If any hazards are identified or problems arise that hinder an operator’s ability to safely use a scissor lift, they must be addressed immediately.

8. Make Maintenance a Priority

Consistent maintenance is a key factor in preventing scissor lift accidents and injuries. Scissor lift maintenance involves:

✓ Inspecting and testing lift controls and components before use

✓ Ensuring the lift’s guardrail system is in good working condition

✓ Ensuring the brakes are set and will hold the scissor lift in position

9. Be Mindful of Hazards

Common causes of scissor lift accidents include tip-overs, collapses, and malfunctions. However, OSHA-certified scissor lift operators can take steps to reduce or eliminate hazards that otherwise contribute to these issues. Ultimately, to safely use a scissor lift, operators must focus on fall protection, stability, and positioning.

Scissor Lift Controls

Common scissor lift controls include:

Lower-Neutral-Raise Switch: Used to raise or lower the platform

Off-Platform-Base Key Switch: Used to power the platform or activate the platform or base control

Emergency Stop Button: Used to disconnect power to the control circuit

Before using a scissor lift, an operator must activate the base control console. This requires the operator to pull out the emergency stop button from the base control unit and platform control unit. The operator must also turn the main power disconnect switch to the “on” position.

Scissor Lift Operation: How to Move a Scissor Lift

Knowing how to move a scissor lift comes with a lot of practice. As you get your handle on how to achieve this, make sure the surface is level first. Confirm a manager is available to oversee the move, then make sure outrigger frames are installed on both sides of the scissor lift. 

Next, you’ll want to ensure a power system is being applied directly to the wheels. Avoid moving more than one foot per second. Workers should not be on any part of the scaffold that extends towards the casters, wheels or other supports. Keep the lift at a height that’s double the width of the base and apply manual force to move it as close to the base as possible. You want it to be no higher than five feet about the supporting surface.

Always be sure employees on or near the scissor lift are made aware of the move. If any of these requirements can’t be met, workers should get down before the lift is moved.

Can Anyone Learn How to Drive a Scissor Lift?

Learning how to operate a scissor lift is easier than you might expect. Still, there are certain requirements you must meet before you begin using them. OSHA requires scissor lift operators to complete a scissor lift training course that verifies they can safely and reliably drive a lift. As such, only an operator who has completed an OSHA-compliant safety training program should drive a scissor lift.

It is an employer’s responsibility to ensure that only OSHA-compliant operators use scissor lifts. In the event that an unauthorized worker uses a scissor lift, their employer could face OSHA fines and penalties. Even worse, the worker could inadvertently put himself or herself and others in danger.

san diego aerial lift certification

Learn How to Operate a Scissor Lift Today

Only those trained and certified are allowed to operate a scissor lift. Thankfully, there are training programs available to help workers quickly learn how to drive a scissor lift. Employers are responsible for the training process, and each course should include:

  • An explanation of manufacturer’s instructions vertically and in transit
  • Details about how best to handle materials
  • Information about worksite hazards
  • Additional details on how to report equipment issues

There’s no need to delay in scissor lift training. If you’re hoping to train your employees as soon as possible, you can start today. offers 24/7 online training for how to operate a scissor lift. Comply with OSHA regulations and get your employees up to speed in a single afternoon. To learn more or to sign up for our program, please contact us online or call us today at (602) 277-0615.

7 Common Aerial Lift Hazards to Watch Out For

set up a coned off work area to prevent aerial lift accidentsOSHA states that the top aerial lift hazards are electrocutions, falls from elevations, tip-overs, collapses, being struck by falling objects, ejections from an aerial lift platform, entanglement, and contact with ceilings, power lines, and other objects. These hazards can put workers at risks of accidents, injuries, and fatalities. Yet, with OSHA-approved aerial lift certification training, workers can limit the risk that any of these hazards can cause such issues to occur. 

If your business employs construction workers who operate aerial lifts or are consistently around them, it is essential for them to complete an OSHA-approved aerial lift certification course and learn about the manlift hazards that cause injuries and deaths every year. Enroll your workers in aerial lift safety training, and they’ll be properly prepared to recognize and avoid common hazards associated with aerial lifts.

Common Aerial Lift Hazards

Manlift and aerial lift hazards can be problematic at worksites of all sizes. Regardless of a worker’s job title, it helps to be aware of the following hazards that can affect operators of boom lifts and other types of aerial lifts. Some of the most common types of safety hazards in construction include:

aerial lift certification

Aerial Lift Hazard #1: Electrocutions 

A study of the top aerial lift hazards between 1992-1999 found that nearly 50 percent of all fatalities stemmed from electrocutions. In the years since, electrocution remains a serious safety hazard. In 2017, two of the top 10 OSHA violations involved hazards related to electricity: improper lockout/tagout procedures and electrical wiring methods. 

Since approximately 20% of the most common OSHA violations are in this area, you should be aware of all aerial lift hazards that could result in electrocutions. Many aerial lift operators are involved in overhead line work, and the risk of being electrocuted by live power lines and cables is a great one for these workers. 

In order to protect yourself and prevent getting seriously injured or killed on the job, follow these tips provided by OSHA: 

– Always wear fall protection equipment and never belt off to a pole or structure other than the lift’s attachment points.

– Do not position the lift between overhead power lines if possible.

– Treat all overhead power lines and communication cables as live, and remain at least ten feet away from them at all times.

– Be sure to have workers de-energize power lines that are in the work zone before beginning tasks, and wear protective gear like insulated hard hats, gloves, boots, and clothing.

Keep in mind that boom lifts are insulated to prevent electrical shock as well. Regardless, aerial lift operators must do what’s necessary to minimize their risk of electrocution and other manlift hazards.

Aerial Lift Hazard #2: Falls from Heights 

falls from heights is a type of aerial lift hazard

The sheer size of aerial lifts often go unnoticed until employees begin working. When they are improperly trained, falls can occur. To prevent falls from aerial lifts, workers need to assess their surroundings and make sure there are no objects, other vehicles, or workers nearby that may strike or come in contact with the lift. OSHA requires that all aerial lift workers wear adequate fall protection equipment that includes full-body harnesses and lanyards attached to the lift or basket. Additionally, workers need to do the following: 

– Ensure all access gates or openings are closed when inside the lift basket or platform

– Stand firmly on the floor of the bucket or platform

– Never climb on or lean on the guardrails

– Never use ladders or planks in working position while in the aerial lift bucket or platform

– Never tie off to structures or poles while in the bucket

– Always adhere to your company’s personal protective equipment (PPE) policies. This includes the proper use of safety harnesses, fall protection equipment, and other devices designed to protect you from falls from heights. 

Some aerial lifts and boom lifts pose serious hazards, simply because they’re so high. If you’re unsure about your specific role and have questions about aerial lift hazards, always keep an open line of communication with your boss, site supervisor, or safety coordinator.

Aerial Lift Hazard #3: Tip-Overs/Collapses 

Tip-overs are one of the most deadly types of manlift hazards. They are frequently caused by improper traveling and handling of the lift. Sometimes they are caused by inadequate pre-start vehicle and mechanical inspections. Tip-overs can result from: 

– An exceeded load capacity

– Carrying too large of objects

– Driving the lift with the platform raised

– Exceeding the vertical and horizontal height limits

– Operating the lift in severe weather conditions

Collapses may occur due to mechanical failures and can be prevented by workers completing thorough pre-operation inspections of the vehicle. An inspection can go a long way to ensure that controls are working as intended. If you’re hoping to prevent tip-overs and collapses, make sure not to exceed load capacity limits. Avoid traveling to a job site with your lift raised, and new drive near holes or drop-offs. It’s also important not to raise the platform while you’re on unstable, uneven surfaces. Sloped ground and windy weather can present serious safety hazards in construction.

A widely cited study once illustrated the importance of measures to avoid tip-overs. In this case, a Montana aerial lift worker was killed when his equipment fell over on its side. Despite the potential for numerous violations, OSHA only imposed one on the company, which was failure to report the accident within eight hours. The bottom line: aerial lift safety is a responsibility everyone shares. Employers, employees, and all personnel involved with workplace safety play a role. Aerial lift hazards – including tip-overs – are waiting to happen. It’s up to alert, properly trained employees to take the steps necessary to avoid injuries and fatalities in the first place. 

Aerial Lift Hazard #4: Objects Falling from Lifts 

Workers on the ground are at risk of aerial lift hazards, too. They’re sometimes injured and even killed by objects falling from the aerial lift bucket or platform above. This often occurs when lifts are used to carry objects that are larger than the platform itself. If possible, aerial lift operators should avoid positioning the lift underneath overhead objects, and workers on the ground should be aware of their surroundings and avoid working underneath or in close proximity to the lift when it is raised. 

Aerial Lift Hazard #5: Ejections from Lift Platform 

Ejections are one of the most dangerous types of manlift hazards. They typically happen when a lift comes into contact with another object like a sign or moving vehicle next to a highway, or from inadequate stability assurance. Before operating an aerial lift, workers need to ensure: 

– Outriggers are set on pads or on a level surface on solid ground

– Brakes are set when outriggers are used

– Wheel chocks are used on sloped surfaces when it is safe to do so

– Work zone warnings are set up

An ejection from an aerial lift can occur at any time. However, aerial lift operators who plan accordingly can prevent ejections. 

Aerial Lift Hazard #6: Entanglement

Ropes can be tangled up when raising or lowering an aerial lift platform. If entanglement occurs, an operator can get caught up in these ropes. This can put the operator at risk of a serious injury or fatality. By staying mindful of all ropes, wires, and cords being used, workers can avoid this all too common safety hazard in construction.

Aerial Lift Hazard #7: Contact with Objects 

Warehouse aerial lift operators can inadvertently come into contact with a ceiling if they are not careful. Meanwhile, aerial lift operators who work near power lines can engage with them, which can result in electrocution. There are also instances when an aerial lift operator does not steer or drive the machine properly. And in these instances, they may strike a building or car. Worst of all, an aerial lift operator may strike a bystander or coworker. Aerial lift hazards like these can be deadly, so it’s important to stay alert to your position while working.

How to Guard Against Common Aerial Lift Hazards

There are many things that aerial lift operators can do to protect against manlift hazards. These include:

  • Conduct a pre-operation inspection. Evaluate an aerial lift before putting it into use. This requires an operator to ​​verify that all of the lift controls are functioning correctly. An inspection should be performed before using a lift, every time. If any issues are identified, they must be addressed immediately. 
  • ✓ Operate a lift with precision and care. When controlling and moving an aerial lift, operators must be aware of their surroundings and ensure they have clear visibility of everything on all sides of them, especially when working near a highway. 
  • ✓ Wear PPE. In all cases, aerial lift operators must always wear adequate fall protection equipment to prevent them from falling from the lift. This involves wearing a full-body harness with a lanyard that is attached to the bucket or platform. 
  • ✓ Assess the worksite. Keep an eye out for unstable surfaces. Because, placing an aerial lift on any of these surfaces can increase the risk of a tip-over. Also, if there is heavy wind or other inclement weather conditions, ensure that workers do not use an aerial lift until the conditions improve. 

These are only a handful of ways to guard against aerial lift hazards. Perhaps the best strategy is to educate yourself and your colleagues. It’s not just a good idea – it’s the law

The Impact of Proper Manlift Training 

Simply put, an aerial lift operator with little or no training is an accident waiting to happen. The best way to prevent costly aerial lift hazards is to hire or train qualified AWP workers. All U.S. employers are required by OSHA to train their employees. This presents many problems, from budget to scheduling and more. Thankfully, has a great selection of aerial lift and scissor lift courses to help get you OSHA compliant in no time!

Proper training is vitally important for safe, efficient AWP operation. The more you know, the better you’re prepared to handle those tough on-the-job situations. And with fines and penalties reaching upwards of $20,000, there is a smart financial incentive for your company to ensure thorough training as well.

With, all of your training needs are accounted for. Our OSHA-aware modules and superior instruction cover all the bases. Along with AWP training, we also offer courses for boom lifts, fall protection, scissor lifts and much more.

aerial lift certification

Protect Your Workers Against Manlift Hazards

Many of the most common aerial lift hazards are directly related to one of the most widely-cited OSHA violations: fall protection training requirements. By providing your workers with OSHA-approved training, you can protect them against falls and other on-the-job dangers. provides users with a solid base of knowledge in all aspects related to safe, efficient aerial lift operation. We provide training that addresses some of the most common aerial lift hazards. Allow us to guide your employees through industry best practices for safety when completing maintenance jobs, large machinery repair/refurbishment, window cleaning/glazing, painting, and other general construction work. 

In order for any pieces of safety equipment to be useful at preventing these aerial lift accidents, workers need to complete comprehensive aerial lift training to fully prepare them for avoiding these manlift hazards and protecting everyone’s life on a work site. Check out for aerial lift training that teaches everything you need to know about these dangers. 

If you’d like to learn more about aerial lift hazard safety training, please call our OSHA training experts today at (602) 277-0615 or reach out online. We look forward to helping you and your company become OSHA-compliant.

Buying A Boom Lift? Here Is What You Should Know

buy boom liftA boom lift is a type of aerial lift that offers both horizontal and vertical reach. They are frequently used on construction sites and on other outdoor projects, as they offer a longer reach than scissor lifts. As you shop around for which lift is right for your project, it’s important to weigh the pros and cons of each piece of equipment. To buy a boom lift is to make significant investment, so it’s critical to have all the facts.

Options to Consider to Buy a Boom Lift

When you buy a new boom lift, you’ll have several options from which to choose. Some of the most popular boom lift types include:


This is the largest boom lift, and it requires an operator to drive the vehicle from the basket.


A towable boom lift is lightweight, does not require a drive engine or chassis, and tends to be more affordable than other types of boom lifts.


An aerial lift operator can use a telescoping boom lift to reach heights approaching 200 ft.


An articulating boom lift has unfolding layers to provide greater basket maneuverability in comparison to other types of boom lifts.

When you buy a boom lift, you need to consider the pros and cons of different varieties. Once you know what type of boom lift you want to purchase, you can move forward in the buying process.

san diego aerial lift certification

Considerations for Your Boom Lift Purchase

buy boom liftIf you’re in the market to buy a boom lift, the process is very similar to buying a car. Even though aerial lifts and boom lifts are used for industrial applications, and automobiles are driven for mostly personal use, the goal is the same. You want to purchase the most reliable, dependable, longest lasting, best performing machine possible. The aerial lift experts at have put together a handful of things to consider when purchasing an aerial lift. Let’s review some important considerations when you’re in the market for an aerial lift:

1. Terrain

Some aerial lifts are designed for rough terrain construction sites, while others are made for mostly indoor use. If the ground surface isn’t accounted for, you could end up paying too much for your boom lift or suffer in safety.

2. Load/Lifting Requirements

Will your boom lift be used to lift a single worker with light equipment? Will it need to lift a big load? Pay attention to your possible purchase’s lift requirements. One other tip: ask to review the manufacturer’s operating manual, and make sure their requirements align your own!

3. Height

Some aerial lifts reach up to 180 feet in the air! However, your boom lift shouldn’t be purchased solely on how high it can reach. Get a general assessment of your typical reach requirements, and purchase accordingly. You might pay way too much for a lift simply because it can extend far beyond your own job site needs.

4. Reliability 

Do your research about a boom lift’s performance. Check reviews. Talk to others in your industry who’ve used an aerial lift you’re considering to purchase. Word of mouth is a great way to get the aerial lift you want – the first time!

5. Price

Sounds obvious, but price is a huge factor when buying a boom lift. Sometimes, it’s even the most important factor. Once you’ve already factored the previous four attributes above, it’s much easier to compare aerial lifts with similar prices. Just like the reliability reviews, a little extra homework and research here goes a long way toward getting the best possible boom lift.

6. Longevity

With proper care and regular maintenance, a boom lift can last around 30 years. Thus, it is crucial to implement a boom lift care and maintenance program. This will allow you to identify and address boom lift issues before they cause long-lasting damage. It also ensures that you can avoid boom lift accidents caused by a malfunctioning lift.

Should You Buy a Used Boom Lift?

When you buy a boom lift, there’s no shortage of options from which to choose. Bargain hunters may find used boom lifts especially appealing. While it’s true that you can save a significant chunk of change by shopping the used market, a boom lift purchase must be carefully thought out. As you compare your options, keep the following in mind:

– Overall Condition

Has the used boom lift been painted? Does it look well-maintained? A fresh coat of paint is often hiding obvious flaws, so be on the lookout for the overall condition of the lift in question.

– Stabilizers

Grab onto the stabilizers and give them a wiggle. By shaking them back and forth, you can see whether the stabilizers are in good working order. Too much movement can indicate poor condition.

– Hour Meter

Make sure the hour meter is working properly. After many years of use on a used boom lift, the hour meter is often the first thing to stop working. A broken hour meter doesn’t have to be a deal breaker, but it can be a bit of a red flag.

– Hoses

Every boom lift purchase should include a thorough inspection of the machine’s hoses. They’re exposed to the elements and get weathered fast. Hoses can be replaced, but you’ll want to check the condition of the hoses as they can be a reflection of how well the previous owners cared for the lift. 

Questions to Ask Before You Buy a New Boom Lift

When you buy a new boom lift, be ready to ask yourself the following questions:

  • What height will I need to reach with the lift?
  • ✓ Are attachments necessary?
  • ✓ How are materials packed?
  • ✓ How heavy are the materials that need to be lifted?
  • ✓ What are ground conditions like?

The answers to these questions can guide you through the purchasing process, helping to eliminate options that don’t measure up to your expectations.

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After You Buy a Boom Lift

Deciding to buy a boom lift is the first step. Next comes education and training. It’s illegal to operate a boom lift without the proper certification. Thankfully, CMO offers a number of convenient training options for boom lift operators. With our streamlined learning content and lifetime support, you and your co-workers will gain the OSHA compliance necessary to meet all state and federal regulations – and also the confidence that comes with knowing the correct, safe way to operate an aerial lift, AWP, or scissor lift!

For information about our training content, check out our affordable, OSHA-compliant courses today. If you have any questions or would like to speak directly to our OSHA training experts, give us a call at (602) 277-0615.

How Scissor Lifts vs. Aerials Lifts Match Up

Ever wondered about the differences between scissor lifts vs. aerial lifts? Both types of forklifts are essential to the modern construction and logistics industries. The key difference between these lifts lies in their functionality. A scissor lift is a type of aerial lift that allows workers to complete tasks at heights. But, the lift moves only up and down. Comparatively, an aerial lift can move in different directions. It also comes in many forms.

Scissor Lift vs. Aerial Lift: What’s the Difference?

Aerial lifts and aerial scissor lifts are more alike than they are different. Even aerial work platform workers often fail to understand what makes each piece of equipment unique. Ultimately, the differences between scissor lifts vs. aerial lifts come down to OSHA definitions. 

OSHA defines an aerial lift as a machine used to lift workers. An aerial lift lets operators complete tasks at heights. In addition, the machine should only be used by an OSHA-approved operator. Otherwise, an unlicensed aerial lift operator risks operational or maintenance errors that can lead to accidents, injuries, and fatalities. Aerial lifts are frequently used for construction, maintenance, by those working on power or phone lines, while fighting fires in tall structures, for window washing, during safety inspections, and for orchard and tree care.

A scissor lift is similar to a standard aerial lift. This type of lift can move workers and equipment vertically. As such, a scissor lift enables operators to safely access work areas that commonly require a ladder, tower, or scaffolding. Professionals rely on scissor lifts to repair signs, clean gutters, provide safe access to high shelves, and for routine maintenance chores

It pays to know the similarities and differences between scissor and aerial lifts. Regardless of the type of lifts used across your business, your workers need OSHA-approved certification training, too. This training verifies that your employees know how to use different types of aerial lifts. It also confirms that your workers can do their part to identify scissor and aerial lift hazards and address them right away. 

What is an Aerial Lift?

OSHA’s aerial lift definition is the same as the one from the American National Standards Institute (ANSI), which considers the following vehicle-mounted rotating and elevating platforms as aerial lifts:

– Vertical towers

– Aerial ladders

– Articulating boom platforms

– Any combination of the above

Aerial lifts, or boom lifts, are classified as vehicle-mounted devices used to elevate personnel. They can lift workers both vertically and horizontally to reach exterior building structures, windows, trees, and power lines. They can be articulated to reach up and over structures, as well as access the top of roller coasters. The difference between an aerial lift and a scissor lift is that scissor lifts can only extend horizontally, and do not have the same reach power. 

Think of aerial lifts as a more versatile elevated work platform. Aerial lifts, unlike aerial scissor lifts or vertical scissor lifts, are typically used outdoors. However, they’re also used in some indoor facilities, such as heavy equipment manufacturing centers. 

What is a Scissor Lift?

Just what is a scissor lift, exactly? They do not fall within any of the above categories of aerial lifts, nor are there any OSHA provisions exclusive to scissor lifts. They do, however, meet the definition of a scaffold. Unfortunately, if you look at the general requirements for scaffolds (§1926.451), you won’t find scissor lifts mentioned. Anywhere on the page. Luckily, OSHA has made some improvements with their Scaffolding eTool. This page on the OSHA website makes it easier to understand what is a scissor lift and where it falls within the standards. It gives industry professionals some helpful background information on what makes a scissor lift.

According to OSHA, scissor lifts are “mobile supported scaffold work platforms used to safely move workers vertically and to different locations in a variety of industries including construction, retail, entertainment, and manufacturing.” Unlike aerial lifts, scissor lifts can only move vertically, directly above the base. It’s the recognizable criss-cross style beams that move the lift platform straight up and down. 

All scissor lifts are considered scaffolding, whether it’s a vertical scissor lift or aerial scissor lift

Additional differences between what is a scissor lift and an aerial lift are the use of fall protection. OSHA requires that operators use body harnesses and lanyards on aerial lifts at all times, but these personal protection tools aren’t requirements for scissor lifts. As long as there are functioning guardrails present, scissor lift operators don’t need to wear harnesses while on the platform. This applies to aerial scissor lifts and vertical scissor lifts

Why Use a Scissor Lift vs. an Aerial Lift?

Both of these unique tools come with their own pros and cons. Scissor lifts are simple to use and easy to move from one location to the next. They’re also easy to operate and can be used in diverse work environments – including the outdoors. Scissor lifts have bigger platforms, allowing more than one person to safely work on the lift at the same time. They’re cheaper than aerial lifts and are easier to store.

Aerial lifts, on the other hand, can reach up and around structures to access even the most difficult of areas. They can work at heights of 180 feet or greater. They allow workers to perform their duties safely, even on rough or uneven terrain. Small platforms mean operators can work in tight areas, and the ability to extend long distances horizontally allows for even more versatility. 

The Importance of Aerial Lift and Scissor Lift Safety

Perhaps the most important difference in scissor lifts vs. aerial lifts is their operation. Each lift has unique safety standards that operators must follow in order to prevent accidents. A little education can go a long way in keeping workers safe on the job.

We at have made it our mission to understand all OSHA standards and regulations completely, and we want to share what we know with your team. Our scissor lift training program covers what is a scissor lift, how to operate the various types of scissor lifts, how to perform inspections, and how to recognize and avoid hazards. 

We cover all the necessary scissor lift topics to be 100% OSHA-compliant, including fall protection, stabilization, and positioning for scissor lifts. To ensure students retain the information they learn, our program is self-paced and can be reviewed at any time. However, it typically takes trainees only about one hour to complete. And once they’ve worked through all the modules and have passed all quizzes and tests, students can print their operator certification card. 

OSHA compliance is paramount. It’s illegal to have anyone operate a scissor lift or aerial lift without proper training. With, we’ll take care of all your training needs. Plus, with refresher training, affordable prices and lifetime support, you’ll enjoy an OSHA compliance partner for life! 

Training for Scissor Lifts vs. Aerial Lifts

Regardless of whether you’re using aerial or scissor lifts on the job, it’s important to pursue the appropriate safety training. Failure to do so could put worker safety at risk and lead to expensive fines for your organization. Protect workers and your business with professional training via Our convenient online training makes it fast and easy to get in compliance with OSHA regulations – and it costs less than you might expect. Have questions about our offerings? Click here to contact us online or give us a call at (602) 277-0615

How High Can a Scissor Lift Go?

Scissor lifts are one of the most popular aerial work platforms (AWP) used for reaching an elevated work site. There are a wide range of conditions and tasks made simpler and safer by these sturdy, self-propelled vertical lifts. Scissor lift sizes can range from lifting the platform to a maximum of 2’ to 70’ feet high. 

On average, scissor lift height extends 20-40 ft. Frequently preferred to scaffolding, scissor lifts offer greater safety but less reach than other aerial lifts.

When measuring how high a scissor lift can go, the scissor lift size is the maximum height the platform reaches at full extension. Yet, the lift’s functional reach should take into account the roughly 6-foot tall worker standing on the platform. When evaluating scissor lift options, consider models across the following ranges:

19-ft. Scissor Lift

A 19-ft. scissor lift can be used by aerial lift operators who need to access ceilings and ductwork. It works well in tight spaces. However, a 19-ft. lift offers limited flexibility compared to larger scissor lift sizes.

26-ft. Scissor Lift

A 26-ft. scissor lift height offers a maximum reach of about 32 ft. It is often used by window-washers and others who perform building or maintenance work at heights.

32-ft. Scissor Lift

A 32-ft. scissor lift size is a great choice for electricians who perform telephone and power line repairs or replacements. The lift has a maximum reach of approximately 38 ft.

45-ft. Scissor Lift

A 45-ft. scissor lift height is typically used by workers who need to perform maintenance work on skyscrapers or other tall buildings.

50-ft. Scissor Lift

A 50-ft. scissor lift is the best option for those who need maximum height. Aerial lift operators will use this scissor lift size to perform work up to the fifth story of a building.

Types of Scissor Lifts

Scissor lifts are commonly used for construction and facility maintenance applications. The ideal scissor lift size and type varies based on the workspace and the task at hand. Popular options include:

1. Electric

An electric scissor lift is 2×4 driven and can be used in a warehouse or other indoor work areas where space is limited. It can take from 6 to 16 hours to charge an electric scissor lift, but it has no emissions, works quietly, and tends to be more affordable than other types of scissor lifts. An electric lift is a great choice for working indoors. Electric scissor lift sizes range from 10’ to 40’.

2. Diesel or Dual-Fuel

A diesel or dual-fuel (gasoline and propane) scissor lift requires fuel to power its engine. Unlike an electric scissor lift, a diesel or dual-fuel lift is 4×4 driven and better suited to uneven terrain and heavier loads than an electric lift. A diesel lift emits toxic fumes and should not be used indoors. On average, diesel scissor lifts reach heights of 19’ to 53’.

3. Rough Terrain

A rough terrain scissor lift provides safe elevation for workers and machinery in outdoor areas with an uneven surface or even a slope. Diesel- or gasoline-powered with a 4-wheel drive and reinforced tires to prevent flats, RT scissor lifts reach heights ranging from 32’ to 70’.

4. Hydraulic

A hydraulic scissor lift uses a hand-powered or electric motor to pressurize hydraulics to move the platform up and down. These are typically small, lightweight units that move heavy objects or people in a factory or workshop. Generally, hydraulic scissor lifts reach heights from just 24” to 144”. Think that sounds “small”? Some hydraulic scissor lifts are capable of lifting 68,000 pound loads!

5. Pneumatic

A pneumatic scissor lift leverages air pressure to raise and lower the platform. It operates on shop air and does not need electric power. As a result, it’s cleaner than other models, with no emissions, and generally requires less maintenance than other options. Air-powered scissor lifts sizes range from lifting just 29” to 43” and are most often used in warehouses with even flooring.

Considerations Beyond Scissor Lift Sizes

For both unique and everyday aerial lift tasks, how high the scissor lift can go is just one factor in judging the lift’s suitability for your needs. When evaluating scissor lifts, you need to look beyond the lift’s reach. Other factors to consider include:

1. Price

The average price of a scissor lift ranges from $10,000 to $75,000, depending upon the scissor lift size and type.

2. Worksite

A “mini” scissor lift size can be ideal in a tight workspace. Some mini scissor lift models are only four fet wide. Meanwhile, large scissor lifts may be necessary for workers who need to trim trees, fix power lines, or perform other tasks at high elevations.

3. Training

Safety training is a must, regardless of what scissor lift size you choose. This training teaches workers how to operate a scissor lift safely.

Scissor Lift Choice and Safe Operation

Evaluating scissor lift sizes, types, and safety features helps you to choose the best scissor lift for your job site and needs. But the best scissor lift in the world can still be a source of injury, product damage, and significant fines if your lift drivers are not fully trained and certified.

Well-trained scissor lift operators perform a wide range of tasks at height without endangering themselves or your property. offers a safety training program for workers of all skill and experience levels and all scissor lift sizes. Our prices are more affordable than a single accident or fine resulting from improperly trained staff. With our program, anyone can quickly become an OSHA-compliant scissor lift operator within just 24 hours. Take charge of the safety and efficiency of your operations today. Please contact us online or call us today at (602) 277-0615.