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Scissor Lifts: Top Tips for Maintenance and Safety

Prioritize safety, maintenance, and training to get the most out of your scissor lift for your line of work.
scissor lift tips

For an elevated piece of heavy equipment, work crews can count on scissor lifts to take a job to new heights. Whether you’re repairing a power line, completing plumbing work, hanging signs, replacing a light fixture, or doing structural work on a building, the list of projects goes on when you have a great machine at your disposal. To ensure your unit retains its value and dependability, Equipment Trader has rounded up this list of tips for maintenance and safety when using your scissor lift.

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Routine Maintenance for Scissor Lifts

Expand the lifespan of your scissor lift with proper care and a daily, weekly, and monthly checklist, which not only promotes safe and efficient operations, but prevents maintenance issues and downtime for repairs.

1. Daily Inspections

For starters, a daily inspection can be conducted at the start and end of the workday by your personnel. It should entail a visual check of scissor lift components, along with careful note of how the machine performs for a specific job.

  • Visual Check: Look for loose bolts, hydraulic leaks, and mechanical or cosmetic damage to your scissor lift. Make sure the platform, guardrails, and controls are intact, responsive, and functioning.
  • Fluid Levels: Checking your hydraulic fluid level every day after your equipment’s use can help you detect a leak or a bigger problem with the hydraulic system. Top up the scissor lift with an OEM-recommended hydraulic fluid.
  • Battery Maintenance: For electric scissor lifts, inspect the batteries to see that they’re fully charged and the terminals are free of corrosion. You can use distilled water to maintain correct fluid levels in lead-acid batteries.
  • Tires and Wheels: Look for signs of damage, punctures, excessive wear on the tread, or low pressure on your scissor lift’s tires and wheels. Correct tire inflation is critical to safety, stability, and safe maneuverability.


2. Weekly and Monthly Checks

Aside from daily inspections, perform weekly and monthly checks on specific scissor lift components as per your owner’s manual or OEM instructions.

  • Lubrication: Lubricate moving parts like the scissor arms, rollers, and pivot points. This will help prevent premature wear and corrosion.
  • Operational Testing: Ensure your scissor lift is functioning with all its potential by raising and lowering the platform and testing the controls, including the emergency stop function. Listen out for unusual noises that might be a sign of a mechanical issue.
  • Structural Integrity: Take a close look at your lift’s welds and bolts, and tighten them if necessary. See that the safety pins and locking mechanisms are in place and secure.
  • Electrical System: Make sure the wires and connections are properly functioning, and aren’t tangled or frayed. Have a certified professional make a replacement if this is the case.


Take Additional Safety Measures

Along with your maintenance procedures, go over safety measures and protocols with your workforce for handling your scissor lift. Education, training experience, and reminders help protect your crew, improve efficiency with your machine, and extend its longevity either for future jobs or when you decide to list it for sale. 

1. Training and Certification

If someone on your staff is operating your scissor lift, they should be properly trained and certified. Start with the Occupational Safety and Health Administration’s (OSHA) online resources regarding operational practices; emergency procedures; wearing safety gear like a helmet, vest, protective eyewear, gloves, boots, and a harness; and performing routine maintenance checks. Proper training reduces the risk of accidents and ensures operators are aware of the equipment’s limitations and capabilities.

2. Environment and Usage Guidelines

Even with a pristine machine and proper training, there are several environmental factors you need to consider when using your scissor lift on the job.

  • Stable Surface: Operate the scissor lift on a stable, level surface. Avoid operating the lift on uneven ground, slopes, or surfaces that might not support the weight of the lift and its load.
  • Weather Conditions: Never operate your scissor lift in high winds, rain, snow, or on ice. Inclement weather makes your work on your scissor lift dangerous and can cause accidents.
  • Load Limits: Always follow the OEM’s load limits for your machine. Overloading can cause a tip-over or mechanical failure. When you work on your scissor lift, keep the load evenly distributed and secure before lifting the platform.


3. Schedule Professional Maintenance

While you can perform routine daily, weekly, and monthly checks to see that your machine is in working order, have a professional mechanic perform regular maintenance as recommended by the equipment manufacturer. Certified technicians can identify potential issues and make extensive repairs.

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Protect your work crew and get more out of your scissor lift by following up on this checklist for maintenance and safety procedures. Regular upkeep and familiarity with your machine will improve efficiency and ensure your lift continues to function at its best. For all of your heavy equipment needs, visit Equipment Trader for a selection of new and pre-owned units for sale from dealers and private sellers nationwide.


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Ryan Miller
Ryan Miller

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