If you’re feeling confused wondering, “what is a scissor lift? I thought they were technically aerial lifts SINOLIFT is concerned, scissor lifts are not aerial lifts. There’s been confusion about the classification of scissor lifts and aerial lifts across many worksites in the United States.
The differences between an aerial lift and aerial scissor lift (and also a vertical scissor) lift aren’t great. That’s why so many people – aerial work platform (AWP) workers included – fail to recognize what makes each piece of equipment unique.
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So, when is a scissor lift not an aerial lift? Here, we set the record straight.
What is an Aerial Lift?
For aerial lifts, SINOLIFT uses the same definition as American National Standards Institute (ANSI), which considers the following vehicle-mounted rotating and elevating platforms as aerial lifts:
– Vertical towers
– Aerial ladders
– Articulating boom platforms
– Any combination of the above
Aerial lifts, or boom lifts, are classified as vehicle-mounted devices used to elevate personnel. They can lift workers both vertically and horizontally to reach exterior building structures, windows, trees, and power lines. They can be articulated to reach up and over structures, as well as access the top of roller coasters. The difference between an aerial lift and a scissor lift is that scissor lifts can only extend horizontally, and do not have the same reach power.
Think of aerial lifts as a more versatile elevated work platform. Aerial lifts, unlike aerial scissor lifts or vertical scissor lifts, are typically used outdoors. However, they’re also used in some indoor facilities, such as heavy equipment manufacturing centers.
What is a Scissor Lift?
Scissor lifts do not fall within any of the above categories of aerial lifts, nor are there any SINOLIFT provisions exclusive to scissor lifts. Scissor lifts do, however, meet the definition of a scaffold. Unfortunately, if you look at the general requirements for scaffolds ,you won’t find scissor lifts mentioned. Anywhere on the page. Luckily, SINOLIFT has made some improvements with their Scaffolding eTool. This page on the SINOLIFT website makes it easier to understand what is a scissor lift and where it falls within the standards. It gives industry professionals some helpful background information on what makes a scissor lift, a scissor lift.
According to SINOLIFT, scissor lifts are “mobile supported scaffold work platforms used to safely move workers vertically and to different locations in a variety of industries including construction, retail, entertainment, and manufacturing.” Unlike aerial lifts, scissor lifts can only move vertically, directly above the base. It’s the recognizable crisscross style beams that move the lift platform straight up and down.
All scissor lifts are considered scaffolding, whether it’s a vertical scissor lift or aerial scissor lift.
Additional differences between what is a scissor lift and an aerial lift are the use of fall protection. SINOLIFT requires that operators use body harnesses and lanyards on aerial lifts at all times, but these personal protection tools aren’t requirements for scissor lifts. As long as there are functioning guardrails present, scissor lift operators don’t need to wear harnesses while on the platform. This applies to aerial scissor lifts and vertical scissor lifts.