Companies must invest in training for workers to outline all scissor lift safety procedures, offer scissor lift safety tips, and invest in scissor lift fall protection for its operators.
The Center for Construction Research and Training (CPWR) reports that an average of 26 per year results from aerial lift accidents representing 2 to 3% of all construction deaths. Fatalities from scissor lift accidents were mainly caused by falls, collapses, tip-overs and electrocutions.
Modern Scissor lifts have interlocking safety mechanisms built into them. However, it is still possible for human operators to override tight-knit safety controls. Eliminating the possibility of human error is why regular training and certification is critical to refresh this safety knowledge among employees and third-party contractors.
Below are some recommended scissor lift safety tips to enforce in your company’s scissor lift safety procedures:
In addition to the safety tips above, The Canadian government outlined comprehensive safety measures in the Occupational Health and Safety Act to protect employees and companies from injuries, deaths, and litigation. The best practice is to engage the services of legal personnel to help you develop safety standards in line with government regulations and industry practices.
Always review your company’s safety measures and policies to ensure they’re up to date and within the legal jurisdiction of your region. The Occupational Health & Safety Act (OHSA) requires companies to review their safety policies annually and safety programs at least every three years.
The OHSA requires employers to place fall-protection systems for structures requiring workers to operate from 3m above ground. So which fall protection ensures maximum safety?
Guardrails are stationary systems used to secure workers from falling when working on a scissor lift. The Canadian Centre for Occupational Health and Safety(CCOHS) recommends guardrails for scissor lift fall protection because they’re visible and do not require extensive training on using them.
On the other hand, fall arrest/protection systems are components designed to restrain operators from falling or in case of a fall and are used where there’s a risk of free fall from an elevated position.
A guardrail is a sub-category under fall arrest systems and is the first consideration when implementing fall arrest systems in your scissor lift safety procedures. There are two types of guardrails – manufactured guardrails and job build guardrail systems.
Manufactured guardrails have parts made from various materials such as metal, mesh, or netting, while job build guardrails are mainly made of wood.
From guardrails, the following safety sub-category required to protect workers is personal fall systems. These are used in conjunction with guardrails to provide more fall protection, primarily when workers need to move away from the scissor lift platform. Personal fall protection systems are made up of:
Fall protection legislation requires companies to use some or all of the measures below, depending on the project or industry:
Personal Protection Equipment (PPE) is any device, accessory, or equipment designed for wear during work operations to protect workers from hazards likely to injure or endanger their life. Scissor lift operations require specialized PPE to provide an additional layer of protection. In as much as a scissor lift has guard rails and fall arrest systems, workers need extra safety to protect them from hazardous materials, falling objects, and bodily harm. PPE for scissor lift operators include:
These include harnesses, lanyards, retractable, rescue loops, fall protection anchors, tool tethers, vertical and horizontal lifelines.
Equipment under this category includes masks and goggles designed according to safety specifications. Eye and face protection must meet the impact resistance criteria outlined by the Canadian Standards Association (CSA). Common hazards that covered my face and eye protectors are flying objects, molten material, chemical burns, abrasive materials, glare, and harmful optical radiation.
Foot protection covers work-related injuries from punctures, sprains, crushing, cuts, slips, and falls. Scissor lift operators need sturdy footwear that holds firmly on the surface since they’re operating on a limited surface area. Footwear specially designed for workplace protection must meet these CSA standards:
Scissor lift operators face potential hazards from falling objects and materials. The CSA Standard Z94.1-15 “Industrial protective headwear – Performance, selection, care, and use” stipulates the requirements for correct PPE headwear. Factors to consider in headwear protection equipment:
Workers operating scissor lifts need to wear hearing protection due to loud machinery and electric noises that can cause noise-induced hearing loss (NIHL). The occupational noise exposure limit is 85 decibels, so anything above that will cause damage. Criteria for selecting the right noise protection equipment includes:
The factors determining hazardous PPE effectiveness are their permeation rates and degradation. Permeation is the rate at which the chemical moves through the material to contact the skin, and degradation measures the level of physical degradation to the material. Hazardous PPE is also an essential addition to scissor lift safety to protect workers from chemical leakages while working on elevated surfaces in industries that handle hazardous materials.
The EU directive overseeing personal protective equipment excludes the following items from the PPE category:
In Canada, employers are required to provide and maintain the PPE in good order, and workers are required to use PPE during relevant job operations. Workers are also prohibited from removing PPE and should report to their employer or supervisor in case of defective PPE.
Secondary fall protection systems are backup safety measures used to catch workers if they’ve already fallen off from a scissor lift. Secondary scissor lift fall protection options should only be used if the primary fall protection fails or when the immediate protection cannot be used due to structural or technical reasons.
The two fall options should be independent of each other so that if the primary level fails, the secondary option should work without any hindrance.
Secondary scissor lift fall protection systems include guardrails, protection covers, safety nets, and any other barrier restraining an operator’s travel to the fall hazard.
The scissor lifts safety has dramatically improved over the years thanks to technology and innovation. A company looking to purchase scissor lifts for their projects must factor in all the aspects documented above to prevent deaths, injuries, and costly legal challenges.
Handling Specialty builds custom scissor lifts to strict standards that consider a client’s business application, the protection of operators, and applicable occupational health and safety regulations.
Our design capabilities, engineering expertise, and time-tested reputation have established us as leaders in building made-to-order material handling equipment for all types of industries. Contact us today for more information.