Scissor Lift Harness Requirements

As a part of its efforts to improve worker safety through accident reduction, the U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration 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. OSHA makes one thing perfectly clear regarding the regulation, which is that it’s the employers’ responsibility to see that their equipment operators are properly trained and certified by ensuring they get the necessary training for operating aerial work platforms (AWPs). The training includes the importance of understanding why wearing a harness in a scissor lift.

If your company has gaps in aerial lift operator training that need filling, or if you have employees who need scissor lift fall protection and safety harness training, enroll them today in’s Fall Protection Training. Our OSHA compliant training program offers online convenience, affordable prices and can be completed in as little as an hour. Most importantly, you’ll have a safer and more productive working environment!

There’s an ongoing debate over the use safety harnesses. Some aerial lift operators think personal fall restraint systems (PFRS) such as safety harnesses are a hindrance rather than something that helps prevent injuries from falls. Others feel that aerial lift operators are the only ones who need to use harnesses and other fall protection equipment. 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 scissor lift harness requirements when it’s necessary for them be worn.

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When is a Harness Required on a Scissor Lifts

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 regulations, including observing scissor lift harness requirements.

OSHA scissor lift harness requirements 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 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.

These OSHA guidelines are the basis for scissor lift harness requirements, but is a harnesses actually required to be worn while on board a scissor lift? Read on – the answer just might surprise you!

Is a Harness Required on a Scissor Lift?

OSHA considers guardrails to be scissor lift fall protection. 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.

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.

When Wearing a Harness in a Scissor Lift is Recommended

Here are some of the conditions under which operators should wear safety harnesses while working on scissor lifts:

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

2. Wearing a harness is required by the employer and is a part of the company’s safety policy

3. Wearing a harness is recommended by the scissor lift’s manufacturer

4. A worker leaves the lift’s platform while it’s elevated

5. 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.

More About OSHA Scissor Lift Safety Harness Requirements

The four elements of fall protection are fall arrest, positioning, suspension, and retrieval, all of which and more, including OSHA’s scissor lift harness requirements are covered in detail in CMO’s Fall Protection Training course. OSHA doesn’t require safety harnesses to be used when working from a scissor lift platforms if there’s an adequate guardrail system in place. Fall protection training is still important, however, in order for operators to understand fall prevention and how to react to a fall in the event of an accident. 


We understand that the use of scissor safety lift harnesses is a much-debated issue, so our training is designed to help employers establish the safest working conditions and workplace environment for their scissor lift operators. Here’s some of what’s covered in our Fall Protection Training and Safety Courses:

1. The correct use of various fall protection safety devices

2. Safety devices that are needed and those that aren’t

3. Features and benefits of various fall protection safety devices

4. OSHA’s requirements for using harnesses on scissor lifts

5. Guidelines for using scissor lift harnesses

6. In addition to Fall Protection Training, we also offer Class 7 vehicle Operating Training, Aerial Lift and Scissor Lift Operator Training and 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.

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What’s Covered in’s Scissor Lift Fall Protection Training

Have you been wondering if wearing a harness in a scissor lift is required?” You’ll get the answer to that and  a lot more when you enroll your employees in CMO’s scissor lift operator training. When you choose to train your workers, you’ll know exactly when and where safety harnesses and other fall protection devices are required, as well as how to use them properly. Our 100% fully OSHA-compliant Fall Protection Training program covers all aerial lift and scissor lift harness requirements in detail.

There are no books or other materials to buy. All classes are accessible online 24/7 using a smartphone, tablet or similar digital device. Your entire workforce can complete CMO’s fall protection training in as little as one hour. They’ll know when and how to properly use scissor lift harnesses and other safety devices designed to prevent injuries from fall-related accidents.

CMO offers low prices, customer satisfaction and a 100% pass rate. Our scissor lift fall protection program and other AWP training courses have received outstanding reviews from employers and employees alike! Our scissor lift harness requirement and other training modules were designed to help your workers receive the most comprehensive online OSHA-approved aerial lift and scissor lift-related training available anywhere.

Ready to have your company become OSHA compliant in as little as an hour? Enroll your employees now! If you still have questions about OSHA’s scissor lift harness requirements or CMO’s other training classes, call at (602) 277-0615 to speak with one of our OSHA experts who will be pleased to help you.

Thank you for considering CMO. We look forward to assisting you with your company’s scissor lift harness requirements and other aerial lift training needs.

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