If your workplace regularly partakes in scissor lift hire, it is important that you have the right sort of fall protection on hand. The reason for this is that it is actually extremely easy to fall out of these lifts if you slip or aren’t paying being careful. Depending on how high you are off the ground, a fall could result in a serious injury (such as broken bones and disfigurement) or even death. This is not something that we would wish on anyone, which is why you need to make fall protection a priority. It is actually required by national consensus for “manufacturers to provide, and operators to wear, operator restraint systems”, although there isn’t an Occupational Health & Safety (OH&S) standard specific to scissor lifts in place at the moment.
Instead, the use of operator restraint systems is enforced through a general section of OH&S documentation, requiring employers to furnish their employees with a place of work that is free from recognized hazards that are likely to cause death or serious physical harm. In addition to this standard, OH&S documentation also requires that employers provide their employees with appropriate training. This should cover operating instructions, warnings and precautions that have been listed in the operator’s manual (which should also be available for employees to look at). It should also cover the appropriate use of any operator restraint systems that have been put in place. Some of the restraint systems that employees are likely to come into contact with include:
- Guardrails – These are generally permanently fitted to the platform of your scissor lift hire and form a cage of sorts around the employee. It should come above waist height, as this will help to prevent someone from tumbling over the edge.
- Harnesses – These are only a requirement if the guardrails will have to be removed from the lift for some reason. The harness is worn by the employee and attached to the platform; if they were to fall over the edge, they would be stopped.
- Safety Gear – Whilst this sort of equipment doesn’t really come under the category of operator restraint system, it can help to protect them in the case of an accident. Hard hats, safety goggles, gloves, steel-toed boots and high visibility vests are important.
It is important to note that, at the present time, OH&S documentation does not list any exclusions regarding the use of an operator restraint system. This means that there are no exceptions to their use and they must be used at all times (or whenever the lift has been raised above the ground). Whilst it is recommended that employees use both the guardrails and a harness OH&S standards understand that this is not always possible, as some applications can only be completed if the guardrails are removed. For more information regarding fall protection and your scissor lift hire, please contact the company you are hiring your equipment through or refer to the OH&S standards for Australia or your specific state.