Top 5 Tips for Scissor Lift Maintenance

aerial lift maintenance tips

Scissor lifts are one of the most widely used types of aerial lifts. They provide access to places that are hard to reach. They’re very stable and easy to use. Their compact size creates a small footprint when stored. And they can be used for a wide variety of job tasks, both indoors and outdoors.

As with any type of aerial lift, having trained operators is vital for safety. But another factor plays a key role in safety – proper maintenance. Timely scissor lift maintenance lowers the chance of accidents on the job. It also ensures all scissor lift components, safety gear, and other parts are working as they should.

Scissor lift maintenance provides other good outcomes as well. It improves productivity by reducing downtime. It extends the service life of your scissor lifts. It also lowers repair costs by fixing small problems before they require major repairs.

aerial lift maintenance tips

Part of regular lift maintenance is checking fluid levels

Scissor Lift Maintenance Requirements

OSHA’s Aerial Lift Safe Work Practices states that lift platforms must be maintained according to the manufacturer’s instructions. OSHA provides a handy scissor lift safety worksheet to help employers comply. It explains how proper lift maintenance and other safety practices can help prevent accidents.

Scissor lifts often don’t get as much use as forklifts and other machines. As a result, many companies think it’s okay to relax on lift maintenance. This is not true! Most scissor lifts don’t go as high as other aerial lifts. Even so, proper maintenance is just as important. If something goes wrong 40 feet up in the air – as opposed to 150 feet – it can still result in serious injury or death.

If you don’t have a written scissor lift maintenance plan, your safety manager should create one. The plan should include all scissor lift maintenance guidelines as outlined by OSHA.

First is the daily pre-start inspection. It should be performed before every shift. That way, operators can find and fix problems with the lift before starting the job. Daily inspections can also catch problems that might not get noticed until they cause an accident.

Scissor Lift Maintenance Checklist

The daily lift inspection is a detailed job. Using a scissor lift maintenance checklist will make sure everything gets looked at. OSHAs guidelines for this process include:

1. Check the Lift Components
• Proper fluid levels, including the oil, fuel, coolant, and hydraulics
• Fluid leaks
• Wheels and tires – regular lift maintenance ensures wheels and tires work as intended
• Battery and charger – power is an important part of safe scissor lift operation
• Lower-level controls
• Horn, gauges, lights, and backup alarms – these are vital for the safety of drivers and workers on foot
• Steering and brakes

2. Check the Lift Components
• Operating and emergency controls
• Personal protection devices – includes safety harnesses, fall protection equipment, and more
• Air, electric, pneumatic, and hydraulic systems
• Insulating components
• Written warnings, placards, and operational instructions
• Mechanical fasteners and locking pins
• Cable and wiring – it only takes one faulty electrical component to make a scissor lift unsafe for use
• Outriggers and stabilizers
• Guardrails – a damaged guardrail can lead to a loss of life
• Any loose or missing parts

3. Check the tire pressure. Under- or over-inflated tires don’t can’t properly support the weight of the lift. They’re more prone to sudden flats. They increase the risk when working on rough or uneven terrain. Also, keep an eye on the tread thickness and look for bubbles or blisters on the sidewalls.

  1. Inspect the Work Zone
  • Drop-offs, potholes, and unstable surfaces
  • Low ceilings
  • Slopes, bumps, and ditches
  • Floor hazards and debris
  • Overhead power lines and cables
  • Overhead obstructions
  • Blind spots, narrow aisles, and busy traffic areas
  • High winds and other extreme weather conditions
  • Nearby pedestrians

If any scissor lift components are damaged, missing, or not working right, do not use the lift until it has been fully repaired. Work zone hazards must be removed or enclosed by barriers to keep the lift at a safe distance.

  1. Keep a detailed maintenance history.Keep a written record every time lift maintenance is performed. Write down what was done, when, and why. This record is required should your lift be involved in an accident. If you can’t prove proper maintenance to OSHA, it could result in increased fines and further legal action.

The easiest way to keep an accurate log is with maintenance software. These programs are designed to easily create maintenance schedules for scissor and other aerial lifts. They also send advance alerts of upcoming maintenance dates. That way, maintenance is always performed on time.

These software programs also keep a detailed maintenance history of every scissor lift. They also allow you to compare maintenance and repair costs between lifts. That way you can see which lifts need more or less repairs than others. This helps decide whether it’s more cost-effective to repair or replace a lift.

ANSI Maintenance Standards

Any company using scissor lifts can also improve safety by using ANSI maintenance guidelines. (ANSI = American National Standards Institute). Their updated guidelines are known as the “A92” standards. They outline the responsibilities of employers regarding inspection, operation, repair, maintenance, and training.

ANSI A92.6 provides guidelines for frequency of scissor lift checkups. For example:

  • Lift inspections should take place every 90 days or 150 hours of use, whichever comes first.
  • Yearly inspections cannot exceed 13 months from the date of the last inspection.
  • Inspections should be performed by mechanics who are rated on the make and model of the lift. They can also inspect lifts with similar design features.

Every scissor lift comes with an owner’s manual that lists all items to be inspected. All problems must be corrected before returning a damaged or broken lift to service.

Extra Tips for Scissor Lift Safety

Using a scissor lift maintenance checklist provides a good start on safety. These tips can further enhance your scissor lift safety:

  • Provide the right safety gear.Make sure anyone working on the lift has the proper gloves, helmets, harnesses, and other safety gear. If a job requires a certain piece of equipment, make sure it’s always on hand.
  • Examine your lift after every job. Get in the habit of inspecting the lift after each job. This ensures that small problems don’t transform into big ones.
  • Use manufacturer-approved replacement parts. Don’t skimp on cheap parts that can risk the safety of your workers.

Most of all, never allow an untrained worker to operate a scissor lift. Even the best-maintained lift can be deadly in the hands of an inexperienced worker. That’s why is the best option for improving on-the-job safety. Our scissor lift training is OSHA compliant. It covers all scissor lift guidelines. And the courses can be taken anywhere you have an Internet connection.

Fast, Affordable Scissor Lift Training is the leader in online aerial lift training. Companies all over the U.S. use our courses to train workers on scissor lift maintenance and safety.

Our online courses cost only $75 for per worker.  They are available 24/7. They cover all the skills your workers need to safely operate scissor lifts.

See why CMO is #1 for lift maintenance safety training. Visit our Certify Me Online contact page to learn more. Or call our scissor lift safety experts at (602) 277-0615.



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