Contact us About us Media far fa-map-marker-alt Find a Branch far fa-phone-alt 13 15 52 far fa-user-alt Coates Connect far fa-shopping-cart Hire Now

Equipment for Hire

Access Earthmoving Lighting Site Accommodation Air & Air Accessories Floor & Cleaning Materials Handling Tools & Equipment Concrete & Masonry Generators & Power Distribution Pipeline Testing Traffic Management Confined Space Entry Ladders & Scaffolding Propping & Structural Support Trucks Vehicles & Trailers Compaction Landscaping Pumps & Fluid Management Welding Construction Lasers Lift & Shift Shoring View All Equipment

Engineering Solutions

Design & Installation Water Management Traffic Management View all Engineering Solutions      

Industrial Solutions

Project Planning Equipment Solutions Systems & Experience View all Industrial Solutions      

Training Courses

Asbestos Removal Electrical Safety Laser Safety Underground Assets Confined Space Elevated Work Platforms Load restraint & plant safety VOC Construction and Small Equipment Forklift Traffic Control Work at Heights       View all Training Courses


Iot and Smart Job Sites Coates Connect SiteIQ Drones and digital twins Product technology View all Technology

28 JULY 2020



Scissor lifts are a popular type of access equipment for working at height. But as most of us know, as the working height increases – so does the risk. As recently as January 2020, an Australian worker was killed whilst operating access equipment – highlighting the importance of spotting the hazards and knowing how to work safely.

Here are five tips to keep people safe on and around scissor lifts. 

  1. Knowledge is power

Choosing the wrong equipment is a major factor in many workplace safety incidents. To work safely on scissor lifts operators must be clear on the type of equipment they need to get the job done – and be familiar with this equipment before work begins. 

Here are some examples of the questions that need to be asked in choosing the right access equipment:

  • What load capacity do you need?
  • Will you be working indoors or outdoors?
  • What height will you be working at?
  • What are the likely ground conditions?

Regularly refreshing training and maintaining the correct licencing is also important to operator safety. This means obtaining a yellow card for working at heights under 11m, and a high risk licence for 11m and above.


  1. Remember to look down at the ground


According to Dan Goodfellow, Coates Hire Group Manager - Products, the weight balance of access equipment is tightly engineered. “As you go up or extend out, it doesn’t take a big change in ground conditions to disturb the weight distribution and cause a boom or scissor lift to tip,” he says. “The results can be devastating.”

So whilst it’s intuitive to look up when we move up, looking down at ground conditions is equally – if not more important – to scissor lift safety. Here are some examples of pre-flight ground condition checks to perform: 

  • Are you working on flat, solid ground?
  • Are there any drop downs (gutters, edges or embankments) in your work zone?
  • Have you checked for concealed hazards like drains and electrical cavities?
  • Has an exclusion zone been created around your workspace?


  1. Know the hazards – and actively watch out for them 


There are many, many hazards associated with operating scissor lifts. Some common examples include:  

  • Operators being crushed or pinned by objects when moving up.
  • Falls from height when workers reach too far out from the platform.
  • Inappropriate loads destabilising and tipping equipment.
  • Environmental hazards – like sudden changes in the weather.
  • Changing or unstable ground conditions.

Understanding these and other hazards can help operators to spot possible safety incidents before they occur. It also allows hazard mitigation strategies to be developed before equipment is used. 

  1. Use a spotter


Spotters offer a vital line of defence to scissor lift operators. With unobstructed views of work zones, spotters can help to identify hazards from the ground once scissor lifts are in use. They can also provide timely assistance if an incident occurs. Spotters should always be trained in how to lower the EWP from the ground.


  1. Engineered safety controls


Engineered operator safety technologies – like shield bars; guards; contact alarms; detection systems; height restrictors; and overhead warning systems – offer yet another layer of protection for scissor lift operators. 

As part Coates Hire’s continued commitment to improving industry safety, from July 1 2020, operator protection systems will be installed on all new electric slab terrain scissor lifts, positioning Coates Hire as an industry leader in operator protection for mobile elevated work platforms. This system will also be retro-fitted throughout Coates Hire’s existing scissor lift fleet over time.

“It’s vital that the equipment we supply to our customers is safe, and that we’re meeting their needs and their demand,” says Dan. “We want our customers to have the peace of mind that their operators will have another layer of protection when they hire access equipment, and that it will help them to make safer decisions.”

For advice on scissor lift operator safety and for all your access equipment needs, contact Coates Hire today. Or find your local branch.


{{ socialIcon(api.type) }} {{ socialIcon(api.type) }} {{ socialIcon(api.type) }}
Find out how we can help with your project fas fa-phone-alt CALL US 13 15 52 Submit Enquiry

By submitting this enquiry you agree to Coates's Communications Terms & Conditions

Give us a call
fas fa-phone-alt 13 15 52 fas fa-check 24/7 Online Services fas fa-check Safety Standard Guarantee fas fa-check Same day delivery available
far fa-times-circle Your enquiry has been submitted

Thank you for your enquiry. One of our team members will get back to you as soon as possible.