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The Safe Use Of Man Lifts

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Man lifts, also called scissor lifts, are incredibly useful in construction. They are compact and nimble, and can create an aerial platform on which to work in areas that larger machinery cannot access. Sheet metal workers and plumbers can assemble lines of ducts or pipe on the ground and lift them into place, instead of assembling them piece by piece in the air, balancing precariously on ladders. Electricians can use man lifts to install electric lines without the need of ascending and descending ladders constantly.

Man lifts are safe when used properly, but the potential for injuries or even fatalities is always present. A man lift operator must follow all safety precautions in order to keep themselves and other workers safe. Safety precautions include:

  • Be aware of your surroundings

You must be constantly vigilant when operating a man lift. When moving it across the floor or ground, you must be sure that there are no obstructions that may be hit, or holes or dips in the surface on which you are traveling. You and anyone else on the platform could be thrown over the side rails. When raising the man lift, beware of protruding objects or electrical equipment overhead. Injury or electrocution can result from contact with such objects as roof beams or live electric lines.

When using ground controls on the side of a man lift, always be sure that you have proper clearance, in case you move it the wrong way. You could be crushed against a wall or another stationary object.

  • Drive safely

When traveling more than a few feet, lower the lift completely, then raise it again when you have reached your destination. Take corners slowly with the platform raised, even when traveling short distances . Don't travel at maximum speed, even on stable or open ground. Whenever you enter the lift platform, latch the safety chain before moving the lift in any direction.

  • Watch out for other people

People are unpredictable, and may do foolish things. Don't attempt to perform work with people below you. You could drop tools or materials on them, or run over them if they walk in front of the lift. Never raise or lower the lift with anyone near it. It is called a scissor lift for a reason. If someone inadvertently put their hand or arm into the crossed bars as it operates, the hand or arm will be crushed or amputated.

On a lighter note, they are fun to operate, but are not quite so fun when they run out of power far away from an electric supply. Don't forget to keep them charged.