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Scissor lift safety in the workplace

Scissor lifts can be deadly for workers in North Carolina and across the United States, according to a hazard alert issued by the U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration. However, the agency says employers can keep their workers safe by implementing effective controls, such as fall protection and proper training.

Over a 12-month period, OSHA investigated 10 preventable deaths and 20 preventable injuries involving scissor lifts. The agency reports most of those incidents were the result of inadequate equipment training by employers. To prevent accidents, employers need to assess the work site to identify potential hazards when using scissor lifts. They also need to thoroughly train workers on the proper use of the equipment.

OSHA emphasizes that all scissor lifts must have guardrails installed to prevent falls. Employers should also ensure that scissor lifts are stable to prevent them from tipping over. To avoid crushing hazards, employers must train workers to be aware of scissor lift positioning at all times. Employers should also make sure scissor lifts are properly grounded and do not come into contact with electrical power sources. To avoid collapse, scissor lifts should always be used as intended, and load ratings should be strictly obeyed.

On-the-job injuries can force employees to miss weeks or months of work. However, most such employees have the right to file a workers' compensation benefits claim, which covers medical expenses and a percentage of an employee's salary as they recover. Some people find it beneficial to consult with an attorney before filing their claim to ensure all necessary documentation is included and that it is filed within the applicable time period.

Source: Construction Equipment, "OSHA Hazard Alert - Scissor Lift Safety," Feb. 7, 2017

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