A Step-by-step guide on how to use an electric scissor lift


Electric scissor lifts are invaluable tools in various industries, offering a safe and efficient way to work at heights. Whether you’re accessing high shelves in a warehouse, performing maintenance, or involved in construction, mastering the use of an electric scissor lift is crucial for safety and productivity. In this guide, we’ll lead you through the essential steps to operate an electric scissor lift with confidence.

Step 1: Pre-project assessment

Understanding your electric scissor lift is the first step to ensuring a safe operation. Start with a thorough inspection of the lift’s features and controls. This checklist can guide you through the process:

  • Verify Controls: heck all buttons and joysticks for responsiveness, ensuring the lift moves as expected in all directions. AWS Nationwide provides comprehensive training for these controls.
  • Inspect the safety features:Make sure guardrails, emergency stop buttons, and outriggers (if present) are in optimal condition and familiarise yourself with their operation.
  • Check the power source: Confirm that the lift’s batteries are fully charged or properly connected to a power source..
  • Verify the load capacity: Understand the lift’s maximum load capacity and adhere strictly to it.

Step 2: Choosing the right spot

Selecting an appropriate location for your scissor lift operation is critical. Consider these factors:

  • Ground stability: Ensure the ground the lift is operating on is level, stable, and capable of supporting the weight of the lift and any loads you intend to carry.
  • Clearance: Before you start, make sure that there is enough space overhead to operate your lift safely without any obstructions.
  • Avoid slopes and inclines: Scissor lifts are designed for use on flat surfaces. Avoid operating on slopes, inclines, or uneven terrain.
  • Clear pathways: Make sure there are clear and safe pathways for the lift to operate in without obstacles or obstructions.

Step 3: Secure the work area

Before using the scissor lift, establish a safe work zone. This includes:

  • Secure the area: Use cones, signs, or barriers to cordon off the work area and keep unauthorised personnel away.
  • Communicate: If you are working with a team, establish clear communication methods and signals to coordinate movements and tasks safely.
  • Maintain a clean workspace: Remove debris and hazards from the work area to prevent tripping or accidents.


Step 4: Operating the scissor lift

Once you’ve completed the pre-project assessment and set up your work area, you can now operate the scissor lift:

  • All aboard! Climb onto the platform, ensuring that you have your Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) on, including a safety harness if required.
  • Start the lift: Turn on the power and familiarise yourself with the lift’s controls. Gently raise the platform to your desired height using the lift’s controls.
  • Move and adjust: Use the lift’s controls to manoeuvre the platform into the right position. Take care to avoid overhead obstructions and ensure that you maintain balance.
  • Perform the task: Once the platform is in the correct position, carry out the task at hand, whether it’s maintenance, picking items from shelves, or any other work.
  • Lower and exit: After completing your task, carefully lower the platform to the ground, and ensure that it’s stable and secure. Exit the platform safely.

Step 5: Post-operation tasks

After using the electric scissor lift, don’t forget to perform these important post-operation tasks:

  • Clean and maintain: Clean the lift, and if you notice any issues during operation, report them to maintenance.
  • Secure the lift: Park the scissor lift in a designated area, and if required, lock it to prevent unauthorised use.
  • Charge the batteries: If the lift is battery-powered, make sure to charge the batteries for the next use.

FAQs About Electric Scissor Lifts

Q: How do Electric Scissor Lifts Work?
A: Electric scissor lifts operate using a series of linked, folding supports in a criss-cross ‘X’ pattern. This mechanism is known as a pantograph. When the pantograph extends, the lift rises vertically, allowing operators to reach higher areas safely. These lifts are typically powered by electric batteries, making them suitable for indoor use due to their low emissions.

Q: Are Scissor Lifts Easy to Use?
A: Yes, scissor lifts are designed for ease of use. They come with straightforward controls for maneuvering and lifting. However, proper training and familiarisation with the specific model’s controls and safety features are essential for safe operation.

To summarise…

Electric scissor lifts are indispensable tools when used correctly. By adhering to these steps for preparation, operation, and post-operation care, you can ensure a safe and efficient use of the electric scissor lift. Always consult the manufacturer’s guidelines and receive proper training before operating any heavy machinery.