scissor lift harness

A scissor lift harness is one of the most powerful safety tools available. They allow workers to safely complete tasks at heights. The Occupational Health and Safety Administration has created strict requirements for these devices, as they protect workers from falls from aerial lifts. Not sure when to follow OSHA harness requirements for scissor lifts? Check out our related article here!

OSHA Scissor Lift Harness Requirements

OSHA scissor lift harness requirements state when and how lift operators must wear a harness. The requirements also state that it is an employer’s duty to protect workers from falls and other kinds of workplace accidents. Employers must also train and certify their workers before they begin using forklifts on the job. Failure to do so can result in expensive OSHA fines and penalties.

Does OSHA require a harness in a scissor lift? It’s a question we see a lot. As a part of its efforts to improve worker safety through accident reduction, OSHA established scissor lift harnesses requirements along with other personal protective equipment (PPE) to be worn while operating lifts. The regulation that requires wearing a harness in a scissor lift is OSHA standard 1926.451 (g).(1),which provides an overview of how and when to use fall protection and other PPE.

There’s a lot of confusion surrounding OSHA scissor lift harness requirements, but a thorough review of the OSHA standard, along with recent OSHA rulings have added some clarity to the issue. While OSHA doesn’t require safety harnesses for scissor lifts, they may be required due to contractor safety policies, local jurisdiction standards and other guidelines. From our perspective, it’s always a good idea to have a safety harness in place.

compliant. Enroll today, or reach out to our OSHA experts for additional guidance. We’re always happy to answer questions and point you in the right direction. Contact us online or call us at (602) 277-0615 now.

Types of Harness Required on Scissor Lift

Scissor lift operators can wear a full-body harness with a fall restraint or self?retracting lifeline/lanyard system. The scissor lift safety harness can be anchored to a scissor lift via a lanyard. The harness lets a scissor lift operator work at heights without limiting their mobility. If a scissor lift operator wearing a harness with a fall restraint falls from their lift, he or she cannot drop. This is due to the fact that the operator is connected to the lift.

A scissor lift harness won’t stop you from falling off an aerial lift platform. Instead, they work by “catching” the worker as they fall. Harnesses also prevent sips and trips. While some aerial lift operators think of these safety tools as a hindrance, others believe they’re real lifesavers. No matter where you land on the subject, it’s important to remember that OSHA requirements trump all opinions. Failure to abide by their rules could result in injuries, accidents, fines, and other penalties. believes that all aerial lift workers, as well as workers on the ground, are entitled to a safe working environment, and that includes enforcing OSHA requirements when it’s necessary to wear a scissor lift harness.

OSHA Platform Requirements

Do you need a harness in a scissor lift? The answer lies with the four elements of fall protection: fall arrest, positioning, suspension, and retrieval. Each of these elements is covered in detail in CMO’s Fall Protection Training Course. OSHA doesn’t ask that safety harnesses be worn when working from scissor lift platforms so long as there’s an adequate guardrail system. Even with such a guardrail available, it’s important to take fall protection training seriously. Learning how to react to a fall can literally save your life. 

Scissor lift safety harnesses remain a highly debated issue. Our training is designed to help employees foster safe working environments for their lift operators. That’s why we cover the following topics in our Fall Protection Training and Safety Courses:

The correct use of various fall protection safety devices

Safety devices that are needed and those that aren’t

Features and benefits of various fall protection safety devices

OSHA’s requirements for using harnesses on scissor lifts

Guidelines for using scissor lift harnesses

In addition to fall protection training, we offer Class 7 vehicle operating training and aerial lift and scissor lift operator training. We also provide our Train The Trainer course, which is an ideal program for employers who want their businesses to have a safety coordinator who’s also a certified in-house aerial lift and scissor lift trainer.

Why Invest in Scissor Lift Fall Protection Training

While scissor lift safety harnesses are undeniably useful, they’re only one component of a quality safety program. offers comprehensive scissor lift fall protection training that pairs perfectly with safety equipment used on your jobsite. We can teach workers when fall protection devices are necessary and how to use them properly. Our 100 percent OSHA-compliant training covers it all. 

With no books or materials to buy, students can begin learning right away. Courses are available online 24/7 from any device with an internet connection. In as little as one hour, participants can learn when and how to use scissor lift harnesses and other safety devices designed to prevent injuries. It’s one of the best investments you can make in your employees.

Scissor Lift and Harness FAQs

Still confused about when a scissor lift safety harness is required? We’ve got you covered with our handy FAQ section: 

Do Workers Need to Wear a Harness Every Time They Use Scissor Lift?

We’re often asked if harnesses are always required to be worn while operating scissor lifts. Workers are understandably concerned about restraints that might slow them down, while employers want to avoid potential penalties and fines by complying with OSHA scissor lift harness requirements.

OSHA harness requirements for scissor lifts were enacted to prevent falls and serious worker injuries. A 2005 OSHA memo stated the following: “When working from an elevated scissor lift, a worker need only be protected from falling by a properly designed and maintained guardrail system. However, if the guardrail system is less than adequate, or the worker leaves the safety of the work platform, an additional fall protection device would be required.” In addition, OSHA platform requirements guideline 1926.451 (g) (1) states that any worker elevated 10 feet or more above the ground or a platform below shall be protected from falling to the lower level.

Does OSHA Require Workers to Wear a Harness on a Scissor Lift?

OSHA considers guardrails to be scissor lift fall protection, partly because scissor lifts, in OSHA’s view, are considered scaffolding – not necessarily aerial lifts. Assuming there’s an adequate guardrail system in place, scissor lift harnesses aren’t required by OSHA, but for all other situations, a personal fall restraint system is mandatory. At, it’s our opinion that fall restraint safety systems should be used whenever possible. Even when a there isn’t a harness required on scissor lift, it’s a good idea to don PPE whenever possible.

The reason harnesses aren’t always required while onboard forklifts and scissor lifts is that their reach capabilities are far less than boom lifts, bucket lifts and other aerial lifts. These types of lifts are all used to raise and lower workers, cargo and equipment, but scissor lift platforms are larger and much closer to the ground than platforms on other aerial lifts and bucket lifts.

Sturdy guardrail systems are generally all that’s needed to keep scissor lift operators from falling off the platform. We believe, however, that it’s better to be safe than sorry. If something unexpected were to happen while working from a scissor lift platform, only a secure PFRS would arrest a fall and prevent the operator from being injured by falling and hitting the ground.

At What Height is a Harness Required on a Scissor Lift?

Since falls are one of the leading causes of death in the construction industry, fall protection systems are usually required in some form. While OSHA scissor lift harness requirements are mum on exact heights, it can be helpful to look to fall protection system requirements. OSHA says that any job performed more than six feet off the ground warrants the use of a fall protection system. 

Even when no harness is required on scissor lift, it’s a good idea to wear one out of caution. A harness and attached lanyard can provide a safety net for those working when no guardrail is in place, or when a guardrail is insufficient. Harnesses also come in handy when a worker needs to leave their platform. If you’re hoping to avoid falls and other kinds of workplace accidents, it’s a good idea to go the extra mile with safety tools like harnesses.

When Should I Wear a Scissor Lift Harness for Safety?

When the platform is more than six feet above the surface and there isn’t a sturdy guardrail system in place

When a scissor lift harness is required by the employer and is a part of the  company’s safety policy

When recommended by the scissor lift’s manufacturer

When a worker leaves the lift’s platform while it’s elevated

When it’s required under local workplace safety standards

Even when it’s not specifically required, always using a safety harness when working from a scissor lift is recommended as an extra measure of job safety.


Sign Up for Scissor Lift and Harness Training Now

If you’re feeling overwhelmed by the decision to wear a scissor lift safety harness, you’re not alone. Plenty of people feel confused by OSHA’s requirements. That’s why we create a comprehensive training course for new and experienced scissor lift operators alike. If you’re hoping to protect yourself and your colleagues from workplace accidents and injuries, has the resources to help keep you safe.

In as little as one hour, your entire team can become OSHA-compliant. Enroll today, or reach out to our OSHA experts for additional guidance. We’re always happy to answer questions and point you in the right direction. Contact us online or call us at (602) 277-0615 now.