Scissor lift users receive OSHA warnings

Pennsylvania companies that rely on scissor lifts to help their staff access elevated jobs may be able to do more to protect their personnel. The Occupational Safety and Health Administration says that of the more than 20 scissor-lift injuries and 10 fatalities it investigated in a single year, the majority were caused by employers not providing proper fall protection, placement or stability safeguards.

OSHA’s recommendations for fall protection include the installation of safety railings around lift platforms and teaching workers not to climb or lean over these devices. Training also plays a role in providing adequate positioning protection, as workers need to know to avoid contact with power lines, fixed structures, vehicles and other hazards that can deal serious injuries. Tools like traffic controls, electrician training, movement guides and work-location selection were all cited as effective work practices.

OSHA also noted the potential for environmental factors to contribute to accidents. In one 2010 example, a student employee perished after high winds toppled his lift while he was filming at his university. In addition to not using lifts in wind speeds of 28 miles per hour or higher, employers need to pick work spots with stable ground, maintain safety systems and only move devices when they are in an appropriate, manufacturer-vetted position.

Workers who get hurt on the job are often not at fault. Many employers ignore OSHA guidelines and other federal rules about maintaining safe working conditions. People who have been injured on the job due to these types of violations may want to speak with a workers’ compensation attorney about the best method of seeking compensation for their financial losses.