How To Operate A Scissor Lift

Scissor lifts are versatile aerial platforms, effective in various industrial settings. From warehouse tasks to construction projects, understanding their operation and lift safety is crucial. The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) requires operator training before workers can use any scissor lift. Here, we explain best practices for operating a scissor lift to help ensure worker safety and task efficiency.

What Is a Scissor Lift?

A scissor lift is an aerial machine powered by hydraulics. It rises, resembling the motion of scissors. It offers workers a higher elevation for tasks like:

  • Inventory management 
  • Ceiling work
  • Window maintenance

How High Does a Scissor Lift Go?

A scissor lift from Fitzgerald Equipment Company can elevate workers to impressive heights. Fitzgerald Equipment offers working heights up to 51 feet, with options starting at 25 feet.

When Should You Use a Scissor Lift?

You can use scissor lifts for tasks requiring elevation in confined spaces. They’re ideal for:

  • Indoor warehouse operations
  • Sign Maintenance
  • Outdoor assignments

Their design ensures straight vertical ascent. That makes them a reliable partner for you to make precise height adjustments.

How to Use a Scissor Lift

Operating a scissor lift entails understanding its controls and safety protocols:

Safety Inspections

  1. Before operations, inspect the lift.
  2. Check for functional controls.
  3. Look for any leaks.
  4. Ensure guardrail systems are intact.
  5. Review other essential components.

Boarding Safely

  1. Before boarding, ensure a three-point contact: two hands and one foot. 
  2. Once stable, secure the gate and stand without leaning.

Familiarizing Yourself With the Controls

  1. Scissor lifts have controls on their base and platform. 
  2. The base contains emergency stop buttons, key switches and lift settings. 
  3. Platform control includes drive/steer switches, joysticks for maneuvering, speed adjustments and steering capabilities.

Positioning and Movement

  1. Engage the drive mode using the joystick.
  2. Steer by pressing the respective buttons.
  3. Position the lift as required.

Raising and Lowering

  1. Switch to lift mode.
  2. Push the joystick forward to elevate.
  3. Pull back to descend.
  4. Always check for overhead obstructions.
  5. Maintain a safe distance from electrical sources.


  1. After use, lower the platform entirely.
  2. Engage the emergency stops.
  3. Turn off the machine.
  4. Proceed to recharge or refuel the scissor lift.

Elevate Safety With Fitzgerald Equipment Company

Knowing how to operate these machines safely ensures you can tackle any task. Equip yourself with knowledge and let us elevate your work capabilities. Contact us today for a free quote.

Rockford, IL
4650 Boeing Drive
Rockford, IL 61109