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A Guide To Choosing The Right Scissor Lift For The Job.

Preparing to work at height? Well, the likelihood you might need a scissor light might just come into mind. But where do you start? To help maximise your productivity and to get the most out of your rental, we have devised this article “a guide to choosing the right scissor lift for the job”. So let’s get you set to reach for the skies with these unique pieces of equipment.

To start with, if we understand what a scissor lift is we can get a better idea of how it can benefit your project.

What is a scissor lift?

Scissor lifts are specialised pieces of equipment consisting of a raised platform which is mounted on hydraulic extendable legs. Somewhat like an accordion. These legs are attached to the platform in a crisscross manner and are extended using hydraulic fluid. Hence the name “scissor lift”. This allows operators to work at whatever height they need to with ease. Especially when required to be flexible.

Unlike aerial lifts and boom lifts, scissor lifts support their platforms directly underneath themselves, allowing for larger platform capacity. These high manoeuvrable pieces of equipment allow users to navigate within the tightest of spaces, either in or outdoors. However, before jumping in to hire a scissor lift there are some considerations you need to consider.

Factors to consider when choosing a scissor lift

To ensure that you get the exact scissor lift you need for the job, you should bare in mind the following factors:

Working height?

What is the maximum height that you need to work from? It may seem like an obvious consideration, however, there may be obstacles that you may need to consider to get the machine to where it needs to be operated. If this is for indoor work, you will need to know the size of the access and exit points. It is always worth noting the minimum working height to cover the smaller parts of your project. This will avoid you splashing out for additional equipment.

Width of the platform?

Scissor lift platforms are designed to be housed vertically within the machine’s base. However, sometimes accessing some parts of your project from one fixed position can be troublesome. It is worth noting if the equipment that you intend to hire has an extendable platform feature. This will allow you to be more flexible when working at height. Extendable platform features can affect your overall reach as the centre of gravity changes as it extends. It is worth discussing the specification of the available equipment with your supplier to ensure it can fulfil your requirements.

Load Capacity

Knowing the load capacity of a scissor lift will help you determine, how many people, or how many materials can be lifted to the machine’s maximum reach. The last thing you need is a machine that doesn’t offer the capabilities you need. This could effectively slow your project down and cost you money overall. You can discover load capacities on the specifications of scissor lifts, however, if you are unsure, you should speak to your supplier directly.

Working environment

As we have previously mentioned, scissor lifts are ideal for both indoor and outdoor applications. However, assessing the environment that you are working in is important to guarantee the machine is suitable. The most common scissor lifts are electrically powered and are not suitable for uneven surfaces. Therefore, you may need to reconsider your options if this is the case. If you are working on smooth flat surfaces, you will be good to go.

Who might use a scissor lift?

Scissor lifts can be used in several different applications for both indoor and outdoor work. Some examples of applications are:

  • Indoor and outdoor ceiling maintenance
  • Warehouse organisation and storage
  • Shopfitting
  • Window maintenance and fitting
  • Event production
  • Delivery
  • Retail
  • Transportation

Can anyone use a scissor lift?

If you are considering using a scissor lift, the great news is that you don’t need a licence to hire or rent one. However, if you intend to use a scissor lift for commercial application, then to remain compliant with government legislation, you will require an NPORS operator’s licence.

An operator’s licence can be obtained through an accredited training organisation and only take 1 day to complete. An NPORS certificate lasts 5 years and is a standard requirement to be able to operate this equipment. If you are looking to obtain an NPORS certificate for scissor lifts, WHC Hire recommends Vally Plant Training which offers on-site training and testing in the UK.

How much do scissor lifts cost to hire?

Scissor lifts can start from as little as £90.00 +VAT per day or £180.00 +VAT per week. This cost excludes delivery, or additional requirements such as generators to charge the machine without access to power. For the most up-to-date costs to hire a scissor lift, you should always contact your supplier directly.

6m Electric Scissor Access Platform JCB S1930E
10m Electric Scissor Access Platform JCB S3246E

Scissor lift safety

Just like any other piece of equipment out there available to hire. Several potential hazards and safety protocols need to be adhered to, especially when working at height. You must put your safety first when it comes to operating a scissor lift.

The most common hazards that you should be aware of are:

  • Falling from the work platform
  • Tip overs
  • Contact with powerlines
  • Crushing

Falling from platform

As you are probably already aware, the construction industry is one of the most dangerous sectors to work in. With the addition of working at height, the risk only increases. Specific safety protocols should always be followed. It is essential that when from a scissor lift that the correct PPE and safety harness is worn to prevent falling from height.

Falls are one of the top causes of fatalities in construction, therefore you should always take care when operating the machine. In addition to securing yourself, you should ensure that any tools or materials that are being used on the lift are secured safely. Unsecure tools or materials could cause injury if they are to fall on anyone working close to the base of the machine.

Tip overs

Even though scissor lifts are designed to raise workers and materials, you must always adhere to the weight restrictions. The same applies to machines that have an extendable platform in some cases, you may not be able to have two men work from the platform if you require the platform to extend.

Surpassing the recommend and tested weights will risk the chance of the machine tipping or falling over. If at any point you feel unsafe whilst using a scissor lift you should stop and wait until it is safe to do so. Tipping can be a common risk during heavy winds and stormy weather. Remember if it is not safe to use the equipment, do not risk it.

Contact with powerlines

If you are working close to a power line with a scissor lift, you must understand the additional risk. Before even hiring a scissor lift, you must understand the voltage of the powerline you have to navigate. Remember, electricity can jump therefore a safe working distance needs to be established. For more information on working near electrical cables, we advise you to read the health and safety guidance on working near powerlines.

Can scissor lifts be used on grass?

Most scissor lifts are operated by electricity, which is ideal for a cleaner and more eco-friendly operation. However, they do have their limitations. The vast amount of electric scissor lifts is not suitable for work on grass.

Electric scissor lifts are only suitable for use on flat even ground such as inside buildings, on smooth paved areas or on tarmac. If you are working on rough terrain, then you may need to reconsider what type of aerial equipment you may need to complete your project.

Where to rent a scissor lift for your project in the UK?

Looking to hire a scissor lift in the UK? WHC Hire Services offers a range of electric JCB scissor lifts ranging from 19 to 34FT for all types of construction and maintenance applications. Our continuous investment into the quality of our plant and tool hire equipment, allows us to bring our customers the latest equipment available on the market.

For more information on our scissor lift product range click here or to get your hire underway, call 01684377977