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Can You Use a Ladder ON a Scissor Lift ? Scissor Lift VS Ladder: Which One Do You REALLY Need ?!

Ladders are very good at getting up to or down from scaffolds and elevated platforms. However, they mustn't be used to perform any work at a very high level, the risks of falling and having very critical injuries increase dramatically
with height increasing since they will be simply tipped and do nothing to protect you from falling.

Enter scissor lifts and boom lifts convenient platforms that give our staff a lot of stable, safer surface from which they can work. Scissor lifts have built-in fall protection from the guard rails that are a part of the operating platform. The rails Protect staff from falling over the edge as long as they're used properly.
Employees who are properly trained are less probably to engage in unsafe work practices, like climb over the rails, or standing on them while they work.

Whether young or old, short or tall, every employee has the right to be safe while performing tasks on the job site, and high-reach work in the construction industry is no exception. Proper ladder usage may seem like common sense, yet according to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), falls from a ladder remain the leading cause of death in the construction industry.

Why scissor lifts take first place?

The problem with ladders
There will always be a time and place for ladders and when set up and used correctly, they can be a great tool for getting high-reach work done. However, setup and usage are where the problems with ladders arise, and the result of not following proper guidelines can lead to injuries and costs.

According to a Bureau of Labor Statistics research of 1,400 ladder accidents, 66 percent who were injured had not been practiced on how to inspect and set up the ladder. It’s evident the idea that ladders are convenient and show up to the job site ready to go is a myth, which is why they should be considered last for any job. There is, however, equipment that does show up to the job site ready — low-level scissor lifts; and users get more than enhanced safety.

Low-level scissor lifts allow workers to reach working heights of about 6 meters, which accounts for about 90 percent of high-reach work. While many think a lift’s overall size is a setback, low-level units are compact and in some cases take up less space than a ladder. For instance, the legs of a 3.5-meter stepladder spread nearly 2 meters apart, which means the ladder consumes about 1.8 square meters of floor space. A low-level lift with a 3-meter platform, however, takes up just 70 square centimeters of space. Both offer the same working heights, yet the scissor lift has a 58 percent smaller footprint.

A ladder may be fairly simple to move by folding it up, but the taller it gets, the more cumbersome moving it becomes. Not only do ladders get heavier as they get taller, but those taller heights also make it challenging to get around corners and into tight spaces. Low-level lifts, on the other hand, take lifting and heavy maneuvering out of the comparison. Workers can easily lower the units down to an overall height as low as 1.6 meters, and if it’s a self-propelled lift, use the controls on the platform to navigate to the next area.

Low-level scissor lifts will never compete with ladders’ light-weight, however, a number of the lightest scissor lift models can be used on tile, laminate and raised floors without the danger of injury.

Ladders Don’t Size Up
Low-level scissor lifts enable operators to reach up to 20-foot working heights, which estimates for about 90 percent of high-reach work. While many think a lift’s overall size is a setback, low-level units are quite compact and in some cases take up less space than a ladder. For instance, the legs of a 12-foot stepladder reached nearly 80 inches apart, which means the ladder consumes about 19.43 square feet of floor space.

A low-level lift with a 10-foot platform, however, takes up just 8.24 square feet of space. Both offer 16-foot working heights, yet the scissor lift has a 58 percent smaller footprint, enabling it to be used in more confined areas.

But what about when it comes to navigating through doorways, around tight corners or throughout confined areas? A ladder may be fairly simple to move by collapsing it or folding it up, but the taller it gets, the more cumbersome moving it becomes. Not only do ladders get heavier as they get taller, but those taller heights also make it challenging to get around corners and into tight spaces.

Low-level lifts, on the other hand, take lifting and awkward maneuvering out of the comparison. Workers can simply lower the units down to an overall height as low as 63.6 inches, and if it’s a self-propelled lift, use the controls on the platform to navigate to the next area.

In addition, a zero-turn radius feature on some lifts, coupled with widths as narrow as 27.6 inches, means moving easily around 32-inch doorways and down hallways is hassle-free. A lift also decreases the risk of stress connected with lugging around a large ladder.

Low-level scissor lifts can never fight with ladders’ lightweight, but some of the lightest scissor lift models can be used on tile, laminate and raised floors without the risk of damage. Some push-around units weigh just 575 pounds and have wheel loads as low as 115 psi. Some self-propelled models are more impressive yet, with dual front wheels that permit them to achieve wheel loads as light as 62.7 psi.

We’ve proven low-level scissor lifts can get into nearly all the same areas as ladders. But the impact these small machines can have on worker safety are much larger than their small stature

Rise above risk
High-reach work comes with challenges, and when using a ladder to perform that work, those challenges become compounded and can test the human body. For example, HVAC and plumbing technicians installing pipes and ductwork overhead need ample materials and tools as the job progresses. When they've completed one section, they need to step down, move the ladder, grab a lot of materials and climb duplicate. This not only is inefficient, but the repetitive climbing can cause injuries to knees and hips, and standing on the rungs for long periods can lead to painful plantar fasciitis. 

In addition, once operators are on the ladder their lateral reach is limited, restricting how much activity they can finish in one place. As a result, several people are tempted to overreach and risk the ladder toppling over.

These reasons are why odd ladder usage continues to make OSHA’s Top 10 most cited violations, year after year. In fact, according to the last study provided by the Center for Disease Control, 81 percent of all fall injuries among construction workers in 2011 involved a ladder.

Lifts can hold as much as 340kg and give as much as 1.5 square meters of platform space, including their extensions. That’s alots of capacity for ample materials and supplies. Also, loading scissor lift with those equipments is much easier and less taxing on the body. And because operators can load the lift with more materials, they make fewer trips up and down, which improves productivity. In addition, some models feature integrated pipe racks, that provide installers a place to rest longer materials. These types of features help boost efficiency while maintaining safety.

Don’t Pay the Price
Most would agree a low-level lift is substantially safer and more efficient than a ladder, but there is still one problem — accessibility to a low-level scissor lift. If a lift isn’t available on the job site, an employee isn’t likely to ask for it and wait around for it to show up. They will instead move ahead with what they have, which is often a stepladder; and just like that the risk of injuries from a fall on the job skyrockets.

It’s not just injuries owners need to worry about, though. Those falls aren’t cheap. Just one worker’s compensation claim can require tens of thousands of dollars, which is just a fraction of the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission’s estimated $24 billion in annual payments associated with ladder injuries.

Under the Occupational Safety and Health Act, owners are responsible for giving employees with a safe workplace. Making safer equipment, such as low-level scissor lifts, available to workers is just one element of the equation, however. Employers must also train employees on when and where to use that material and to understand that ladders should constantly be considered last. If a scissor lift can get in the area, it should always be used in place of a ladder.

In fact, many contractors who obviously understand the hazards and associated expense of ladders simply do not permit them on the job site unless absolutely needed and with specific protocols enforced.

Aside from minimizing injuries and worker’s compensation costs, there is one more benefit to offering low-level lifts not many talks about employee retention. The workforce is a different landscape than it was 30 years ago and keeping employees is harder than ever. The younger workforce simply doesn’t want to put their bodies through the day-to-day physical demands of construction work, and those who have been in the industry for years take a bit longer to recover from those tasks.

Providing all workers, whether 25 or 55, with equipment that permits them to do their works safely and efficiently, not only reduces their risk of injuries but also demonstrates that employers value their workers and the time they give to their jobs. The benefits of that are twofold — workers get a safe worksite and are commonly happier while employers get more productive employees.

Scissor lift vs Ladders

Why we prefer scissor lift over ladder?

even though we are biased, and feel that access equipment such as scissor lifts and boom lifts are usually the safest and most productive method of working at height, we will admit that sometimes a ladder may be appropriate.

Sure ladders have their place; the ladder has had uses in home repair, file retrieval, and many other quick fixes for reaching something at heights. That being aforementioned, however, ladders can’t be used for everything.

The tallest ladders that individuals have in their homes usually reach 15-20 feet. Taller ladders normally belong to construction companies. Many people try to jury-rig an extension for their ladders, which leads to extremely unsafe working conditions.

Before you never use a ladder again we can assure you that ladders do comply with OHS requirements and for some jobs can be the most appropriate form of getting the job done at heights, however, ladders can only carry a certain weight which does limit the supplies that can be carried whilst working at heights.

Access Equipment:
For anything a ladder can’t reach, or is just too awkward to work from you must use a scissor lift or maybe a boom lift. You don’t have to worry about falling off your ladder, which creates a much safer and more productive work site. Scissor lifts can reach higher places, and boom lifts allow the operator to work at an angle or higher than a ground obstruction.

Scissor lift mixes the functionality of a ladder with worker safety, enabling employees to work at higher areas.

Here are five reasons to choose scissor lifts over ladders

Scissor lifts are safer than ladders as they’re equipped with safety apparatus to protect operators from workplace accidents, falls, injuries and fatalities. The entire scissor lift work platform is protected by railings with a gated area, used by operators to mount and dismount the lift. Operators are required to wear safety harnesses above 2.4 meters.
These harnesses can simply be clipped onto scissor lift railings for fall protection.
Scissor lifts are available in different lift heights and capacities. several scissor lift platforms can simply contain 2 to 4 people and range anywhere between 2 to 18 meters lift height. Operators also have the option to pause the lift at different heights to work seamlessly.


Scissor lifts are favorable over a ladder with large platform space. A larger platform area means more than one worker can simply be accommodated along with the material. Operators also avoid wasting time by covering a wide wall or ceiling section without having to reposition the scissor lift; something a ladder can’t give.


Scissor lifts can be easily stored in small worksite areas. Businesses can also save a lot of time and manual labor, directly proportional to the production rise. A scissor lift is an essential tool for manufacturing and stocking industries and it adds to the flexible functionality with its adaptability to different terrains.

Electric scissor lifts don’t emit fumes and are perfect for indoor use. A scissor lift with a narrow work platform is another choice for tight indoor spaces. Electric options are extremely quieter than engine-powered scissor lifts and most indoor lifts come with non-marking tires to prevent floor damage.

Why You Must Use an Aerial Lift Vs Ladder?
Ladders and scaffolds are old tools that are used for working at heights for several years. Modern advancements and increased mechanical demands have pushed the Markert for what these tools can do safely, and have brought mechanical aerial lifts to the market. There are such a large amount of reasons to prefer aerial lifts vs. ladders for a large array of raised jobs, with two of the main points being increased safety and capabilities.

Aerial Lifts Are designed for Stability and Holding Weight
Aerial lifts are made up of metal or reinforced fiberglass and feature a sturdy base that carries the load of the extendable boom arm or platform with strength and durability. Workers don't depend upon their own positioning skills to make sure the safety of an aerial lift, nor can their weight alone risk the stability of the lift.

While it's necessary for aerial lift operators to stay in mind weight limitations, it’s even a lot of imperative for work on ladders, which can buckle at the slightest weight overload. Industrial ladders will hold up to three hundred pounds while several aerial lifts will hold the maximum amount as 1,000 pounds safely. Aerial lifts are created for withstanding a load of staff as well as their instrumentation and tools.

Aerial Lifts Are a lot of Mobile Than Ladders
Workers on ladders have to be compelled to perpetually climb up, down, disassemble and reassemble once moving with progressing work. The constant movement can cause operator fatigue and increase the danger of falls and severe injuries. Aerial lifts vs. ladders can lower to almost ground level for employees to tread on the platform, raise and lower with the push of a button and can move around a worksite without requiring the operator to get in and out perpetually.
Aerial Lifts Can Accommodate Fall Protection Equipment
Even though ladders do not require fall protection equipment, falls are a very real hazard when working on them at heights, especially on ladders as tall as 40 feet. With aerial lifts, body harnesses and lanyards are required and are simply connected to access points on the lift platform to protect employees from falling and significantly reduce the number of injuries and fatalities on worksites

Aerial Lifts Provide More Flexibility Than Ladders
When comparing aerial lifts vs. ladders, lifts are much more flexible when it involves positioning for reaching heights. Aerial lifts can be placed directly beneath or within the most optimum position for accessing the work area and can be raised to the exact operating height required. Ladders are trickier. Using too short of a ladder will tempt employees to stand on the highest rungs or overstretch to reach the workspace. A ladder that is too tall may be set up against a wall and can slip out from underneath the worker

Scissor Lifts - Safely Reach Heights Without Cutting Corners

scissor lifts provide a safe, efficient, and reliable platform for your employees working at heights. When not used properly, your employees are at risk of serious injury and even death.

Many scissor lift injuries have occurred as a result of staff cut corners in hopes of saving time. Some examples include mounting on the rails that surround the platform, standing on ladders or buckets to gain additional height, and by relocating the lift before lowering it so workers can exit.

What your employees need to know
All work must be performed standing with each foot firmly on the platform.

Workers mustn't stand on the guardrails and work must be kept within simple reach to avoid any leaning far away from the lift.
Buckets, step stools, or ladders should NEVER be utilized in a scissor lift as the simplest way to gain additional height to reach work surfaces
Scissor lifts must be placed in areas wherever, even if fully extended, they will not come into contact with energized power lines.
(Minimum of 10 feet away from power lines).

Weather conditions are also a factor. Do not use a scissor lift unless wind speeds are below twenty-eight miles per hour.

What your employees need to do
Before work begins, make sure the weather conditions are appropriate. The lift should be parked on the stable ground, free from any potential hazards such as holes, slopes, bumps, or debris.

Then, inspect the lift to make sure the guardrails are securely in place and there's no damage to the platform or the other part of the unit.

While on the job, take these additional steps:
  • To avoid leaning over the guardrails, move the entire lift to create a safer and more comfortable working position.
    Never move the lift when extended or if individuals are on the platform. Lower the platform first so those working on the platform could exit before it’s moved.

  • To avoid standing on buckets or ladders, have the operator extend the lift so you can reach higher spots.

    If the lift cannot reach any part of the work area or gets too close to power lines, postpone the work until a safer method can be identified. 

    (For example, a longer lift may be needed or the power company might have to temporarily de-energize the lines).
  • Never exceed the weight limit of the platform identified in the manufacturer’s manual.
    Provide correct control if the lift is operating near a street, to avoid a collision that may throw workers from the lift.


These are just a number of safety tips to stay in mind when operating your scissor lift at maximum safety levels. Slow and steady wins the race every time. Don't let the desire to finish up your job ahead of schedule cloud your judgment. Your health and ultimately your life a

1. Always, and we mean always, wear your safety harness
We can’t believe how many times we see a scissor lift operator not wearing a security harness. Whether you’re using a 19, 26, 32 or 40-foot scissor, a fall from any of these heights will cause severe injury and even death. Why take the chance when a simple and inexpensive safety harness can offer you the peace of mind of knowing that you're being as safe as possible.

2. never use a scissor lift for any task it wasn't supposed to perform
scissor lift accident disasters if you’re using a scissor lift in a manner it was not intended to be used for – you’re probably risking an accident and injury. Most accidents and injuries are easily preventable by simply using common sense. If it’s a windy day and you’re working around power lines, why take the chance? If you would like to move the scissor lift a distance over rough or rocky terrain, why not walk it there rather than moving the unit while aboard the lift? You may think you’re saving time by taking shortcuts but in reality, you are risking more downtime and injury by not working intelligently.

3. never use a scissor lift you see to be unsafe and unfit for the work at hand

Before attempting to utilize any aerial work platform, whether you own one or you intend to rent a scissor lift, make sure you do a full walk-around inspection prior to each use. Some things you should be checking for are leaks in the hydraulic hoses and fittings, gouges or excessive wear in the tires, poor or loose battery wiring, a properly working control box especially the protection stop button, as well as the various steering and braking components. Never move forward unless you're absolutely satisfied that you simply have a good operating unit with no safety issues. You could save yourself from a trip to the E.R.

4. Always familiarize yourself with the operators and owners manual
Genie scissor lift workers manual read the operators manual, plain and simple! They put in a central location where it can easily be seen for a reason – it’s extremely important. You'd much rather learn the way to work the scissor lift directly from the manufacturer than from somebody on the job-site claiming to be an associate expert? Make sure to abide by its rules and suggestions, ie. Do not use planks, ladders, scaffolding or any other device on the platform to extend your reach, always keep both feet on the platform floor while working and travelling with the scissor lift, and keep platform, steps, and shoes free from oil, mud, grease and different slippery substances, etc. etc.

5. Respect the manufacturer’s specifications
The manufacturer has tested, re-tested and tested again the machine specifications during initial R&D, during the manufacturing process and then extensively after the lift has left the factory. If they state the maximum number of operators allowed are two then abide by their specifications. If the maximum platform capacity is 550 lbs, make sure you do not exceed this weight. If the unit was supposed to carry 600 lbs, the manufacturer would list the platform capability as such and not 550lbs.

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