How to Operate a Scissor Lift: A Comprehensive Guide

How to Operate a Scissor Lift

A scissor lift is one indispensable piece of equipment in various applications and industries. It offers a secure and safe way to raise both employees and equipment at significant heights efficiently. To guarantee safety and encourage productivity, one must know how to operate a scissor lift properly. This guide below will take you through the critical steps and considerations needed in operation. Emphasis is laid on hydraulic scissor lifts, among the most popular types.

What is a Scissor Lift?

Definition: A scissor lift is a type of mobile elevating work platform that operates upon interlacing supports moving similarly to a pair of scissors. The means of powering this MEWP can be hydraulic, electric, and diesel. Hydraulic scissor lifts are the most common and reliable, giving good lifting power.

Scissor Lift Types

1. Hydraulic Scissor Lift

– A hydraulic system uses fluid to pump and move the lift.

– Proven for smooth performance and high lifting power.

– Can be used indoors and outdoors.

2. Electric Scissor Lift

– Powered by an electric motor.

– Excellent for indoor use because of the low noise and zero emission.

3. Scissor Lift in Diesel

– Can have an engine that is powered by diesel.

– Usually for off-road use, with greater power and land-scrabbing.

Pre-Operation Safety Checks

Before putting the scissor lift into operation, you should make a thorough safety inspection to check for any malfunctions or wear. The following actions need to be completed step-by-step:

1. Inspect the Elevator

– Ensure all hydraulic hoses and parts are free from damage and wear, especially scuff marks.

– A proper and undamaged platform and guardrails should be secure.

Look at wheels and tires for wear or damages.

2. Check the Controls

– Confirm the functioning of all control push buttons, levers, and switches.

– Try it: The emergency stop button must work as expected.

Check if the lower controls work for overriding the upper controls.

3. Observe Fluid Levels

– Make sure the level of fluid in the hydraulics is proper.

– Look at the engine oil for diesel-powered models and battery charge for electric models of scissor lifts.

4. Examine the Work Area

– Ensure stable ground and no obstacles.

– Notice any overhead hazards, such as power lines or structures.

– Make sure that the work area does not contain any unauthorized persons.

Employing a Hydraulic Scissor Lift

1. Mounting the Lift

– Use three points of contact: two hands and one foot or two feet and one hand, when climbing on to a platform.

– Ensure the gate or access chain is closed before operating this lift.

2. Carry the lift

– Put the key in the “on” position.

Gradually lift the platform to the extent required using the joystick or the control panel.

– Human factors are essentially based on environmental background checks to guarantee no overhead restrictions or obstacles.

3. Positioning the Lift

– If the lift must be repositioned, lower the platform to a safe height before moving it.

– Operate drive controls to move the lift. Pass will be free of obstruction.

– Once in position, deploy stabilizers or outriggers if so equipped, and secure the lift to ensure stability.

4. Working at Height

Be sure always to wear a harness and have it connected to the lift’s anchor points.

Detail with each, slow deliberate action.

-Do not lean over the guardrails—or even use tools— which may render you unbalanced.

5. Lowering the Lift

– Lower the platform slowly using the control panel once work is completed.

– Ensure the area below is clear of obstacles before lowering.

– The ignition turns off, and the parking brake is set upon complete lowering.

Safety Precautions to be followed while using a Hydraulic Scissor lift

1. Training and Certification

– Each operator for a scissor lift should be adequately trained and certified for operation.

– The training will be periodically reviewed for updates on new safety standards and procedures.

2. Loading Conditions

– Do not overload the lift up to the maximum excess.

– Keep account not only of the personnel but also of the weight of tools and materials.

3. Weather Conditions

– Do not use scissor lifts in bad weather such as strong winds, rainfall, or a storm which may cause lightning to appear.

– Keep the platform clean and dry without debris.

4.  Emergency Procedures

– Get used to the emergency descent procedure of the lift.

– Ensure that all staff become acquainted with the operation of emergency stop controls.

5. Communication

– Keep clear communication with ground personnel.

– Hand signals or radios can be used to coordinate hand/socket positions and ensure that the task is safe.

Common Problems of a Hydraulic Scissor Lift Resolved

Although these are heavily reliable, hydraulic scissor lifts do sometimes fail. Several common problems and solutions are discussed below:

1. Lift Will Not Raise or Lower

– Problem: Missing hydraulic fluid or air in the hydraulic system.

Solution: Look for the level of hydraulic-shaped fluid, top up as required, and then bleed the hydraulic system to remove excess air.

2. Jerky or Slow Movements

Problem: Hydraulic fluid contaminated or hydraulic components worn.

– Remedial measure: Replace hydraulic oil and filter. There are worn-out parts and bearings that have to be replaced.

3. Platform drifts down

– Problem: Leakage from hydraulic cylinder or valve.

– Solution: Examine and replace or repair the hydraulic cylinder and valve CONCLUSION.

4. Unresponsive Controls

– Issues: Electricity problems like blown fuses or defective wiring.

Solution: Check all the fuses and wiring connections. Change any damaged fuses or fix any faulty wiring.

5. Lift is noisy

– Problem: Air in the hydraulic system or worn components.

Solution: Bleed hydraulic system and check worn out or damaged components.

Hydraulic Scissor Lift Maintenance Tips

Regular maintenance will be essential in that it guarantees the safety and smooth functioning of the hydraulic scissor lift. In this regard, several maintenance tips are:

1. All performed on – Conduct a visual inspection of the hoist before any operation. – Inspect for any leakage, damage, or cracks.

2. Regular Maintenance: Observe the manufacturer’s arranged schedule for maintenance of service in hydraulic systems, fluid level checks, and filter replacement. • Record, in a log, all the maintenance activities.

3. Lub – Regular lubrication of any moving parts to prevent their wear and to achieve proper functioning. – Employ recommended lubricants where necessary from the producer.

4. Battery Care (electric forklift – Make sure batteries are cleaned and well-charged. – Inspect the electrolyte levels; if necessary, top up with distilled water.

5. Storage – Store the lift in a dry, safe place when not in use. – Keep it safe from the vagaries of weather and unauthorized access.


The safe and efficient operation of any hydraulic scissor lift requires proper training, routine maintenance, and following all safety requirements. You can operate a lift safely by understanding it and its mechanism, along with routine checks that will keep downtime to a minimum and ensure a safe working environment. Know more about some common hydraulic scissor lift problems and how to resolve them so the tool can be used well with the best performance. This is part of the reason hydraulic scissor lifts are such valuable tools in general—be it in construction maintenance work, or warehousing: they result in better productivity and, of course, improved safety.

Devin Haney

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