Scissor Lift Accidents: The Silent Killers in Construction

by | Jun 4, 2024 | Workers Compensation, Construction Accidents, Industrial Machinery

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Just Imagine! Can a machine designed for efficiency and utility suddenly turn into a machine of disaster?

That’s what happened in the unexpected event of scissor lift accidents.

From large-scale construction sites to small workplaces, scissor lifts serve as silent workhorses, helping employees reach towering heights and inaccessible corners. But these metallic giants transform into great hazards when misused or inadequately maintained.

This scissor lift accident claim blog is not meant to frighten you but to bring forth scissor lift hazards and control measures, rigorous training, and diligent maintenance in your daily practices.

What are Scissor Lifts?

A scissor lift is considered an important machine among all other construction site machinery. Scissor lifts are platforms that help workers move up and down and rest on crisscross support.

Scissor lifts are useful both outdoors and indoors. It is used to elevate people to different heights in order to accomplish a range of work-related tasks, such as

  • painting
  • changing lights
  • replacing or fixing signs
  • drywall installation
  • maintenance

Scissor lifts act as portable scaffolds that transport employees, tools, and a few lightweight supplies. Their ability to lift heavy objects is typically restricted.

Scissor lift weight limit

The weight limit of the scissor lift totally depends on the type or model of machine. Scissor lift platforms can carry weights ranging from 500 to 2,000 lbs.

Are scissor lifts dangerous? Scissor lifts can be utilized for a variety of tasks, but if they are the wrong size, capacity, height, or other parameters for the job, the outcomes can be adverse.

Scissor Lift Accident Statistics

According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control & Prevention (CDC), 1,380 workers had injuries as a result of using an aerial lift or scissor lift between 2011 and 2014. Falling from one level to another when slipping, tripping, or falling caused 360 of these injuries.

How many scissor lift deaths per year? Eighty-seven workers lost their lives between 2011 and 2014 as a result of using an aerial lift or scissor lift. Slips and falls from one level to another were the cause of 48 of these fatalities.


What are the Causes of Scissor Lift Accidents?

The causes of Fatal scissor lift accidents can be diverse and multifaceted, ranging from operator error to mechanical failure. Here are some common causes:

Tip over or collapse: Can a scissor lift tip over? Due to severe weather and uneven surfaces, the equipment frequently tips over. The entire machine can topple over and fall if the load is not balanced or a worker leans out too far from the lift. Sometimes scissor lift collapses can happen due to overloading the weights beyond the instructed limit. Scissor lift tipping accidents can also occur due to mechanical failures.

Electrocution: A major contributor to accidents and fatalities involving scissor lifts is electrocution from overhanging power lines. It may result from improper attire, failure to adequately examine the area for overhead electrical lines, or direct contact between an employee or a piece of equipment and the power line.

Manufacturing defect: Scissor lifts are used by site managers and operators to boost production, promote safety, and reduce costs, but they are only effective if the tools they employ are the proper ones for the job.

Falls: Fall accidents are the most common typeof injury while using a scissor lift. When the lift becomes unstable due to bad weather or uneven surfaces, falls are most frequently caused. A scissor lift fall accident can also happen due to a tip over or when a scissor lift collapses.

Improper training: Proper training about working on scissor lifts should be given to the workers because accidents might happen due to a lack of training and instructions on safety tips.

Struck by: As a result of the scissor lift’s proximity to other items like walls or machinery, workers risk becoming trapped or pinched. If the worker is not paying attention to their surroundings or the lift is not properly positioned, the chance of entrapment increases.

OSHA Scissor Lift Requirements

OSHA published a guide titled “Hazard Alert: Working Safely with Scissor Lifts.” This guide indicated that the agency looked into 30 accidents in a year, all of which were wholly avoidable. However, 20 resulted in injuries and ten deaths. Sadly, all of these incidents were caused by employers who neglected to address three crucial safety factors.

According to OSHA’s investigations, employers’ failure to address safety issues with scissor lifts was to blame for most injuries and fatalities.

The three safety issues are:

  • Fall Protection
  • Stabilization
  • Positioning

Utilizing a scissor lift safely requires performing routine maintenance according to the manufacturer’s recommendations, training employees, providing necessary personal protection equipment (PPE), and practicing safe work practices.

Injuries from Scissor Lift Accidents

Large pieces of equipment, like scissor lifts, lift workers to enormous heights in the air, so if something goes wrong, the consequences could be disastrous. Injuries are frequently severe because falls from significant heights account for most construction accidents involving scissor lifts. They might consist of the following:

  • Amputation
  • Blood loss
  • Soft tissue injury
  • Spinal cord injury
  • Traumatic brain injury
  • Broken bone
  • Death

Accidents with scissor lifts can be life-threatening and fatal. You can suffer severe injuries that need expensive medical attention. You can lose your ability to work permanently or for a few weeks. These accidents can cause significant pain and suffering.

Scissor Lift Safety Tips

Workers must know how to operate the scissor lift and must have knowledge of how to avoid scissor lift accidents. Workers must put on the appropriate scissor lift harness and connect to the lift to decrease the frequency of fall-related injuries and fatalities.

Operators must receive proper training and follow safety procedures; equipment must be frequently examined and maintained; and the working environment must be carefully assessed before usage to prevent scissor lift accidents.

Operators must ensure there are no overhead dangers, such as live power wires, that might worsen an accident. They should never go beyond the load limit. Never drive on elevated platforms, and never go beyond safe distances.

Employees shouldn’t operate the equipment in heavy winds or on uneven ground to prevent scissors lift tip over accidents. Workers must ensure that the machine is ready for work and follow the instructions provided by the lift manufacturer.

When a worker is hurt at work, their employer’s workers’ compensation insurance may pay for their medical bills, missed wages, and other losses.

If you’ve suffered an injury while operating a scissor lift, it’s imperative to consult a scissor lift claim attorney to ensure that you receive the compensation you deserve.

What to Do After a Scissor Lift Accident?

Following scissor lift accidents, it’s crucial to take immediate steps to ensure the safety of all involved and prevent similar incidents in the future.

Scissor lift accidents may result in serious injuries. Get medical attention for your injuries; that should be your top priority. Report the accident immediately to your supervisor or the person responsible for safety at your worksite. Provide them with a detailed account of the incident.

Gather information about what happened. This can include taking photos, writing down details of the incident, and collecting statements from witnesses. Record the time, date, and location, and note any environmental factors that might have contributed to the accident.

If you’re an employee and were injured on the job, you should file a workers’ compensation claim. This provides benefits for medical care and a portion of your lost income while you’re unable to work.

To learn more about the legal information, contact a scissor lift accident claim attorney. He will help you recover the highest possible scissor lift injury settlement.

Boom Lift Accidents

Boom lifts are essential in the construction industry, but at the same time, they can be very dangerous.

Accidents that happen when using boom lifts can lead to substantial compensation. To file a boom lift accident claim, you must first notify your employer.

It’s essential to then consult with an experienced boom lift claim lawyer, specializing in boom lift injury lawsuits, to assist with the workers’ compensation claim and conduct a thorough investigation of the accident.

Seeking a specialized boom lift lawsuit attorney can greatly benefit the claim process. They will investigate the accident, determine liability, gather evidence, build a case, and calculate the claim’s value.

Liability in Scissor Lift Accidents

Liability in a scissor lift injury lawsuit can depend on a range of factors. Different parties can potentially be held liable, depending on the circumstances. Here are some possibilities that can help you understand the topic much easier.


Depending on the situation, your employer can be liable for negligence. You must prove that your employer’s carelessness contributed to the scissor lift accident in order to receive compensation. Scissor lift lawsuits typically arise from mishaps involving aerial lifts that are the fault of undertrained or careless workers.


If the worker uses the heavy equipment in an improper manner, he may be held liable. If the operator of the scissor lift was not following safety protocols and operated the machine under the influence of drugs or behaving negligently, he may be held liable.

Property Owner

If the property owner’s negligence caused the accident, he could be held liable. If the surface where the lift operated was unstable and the owner knew or should have known about this but failed to inform the operator or the employer, the owner may be held liable.


Defective scissor lifts were extremely dangerous. If a scissor lift fails due to design flaws, poor manufacture, or other issues, the manufacturer of the machine may be held liable in a product liability lawsuit. In most cases involving defective products, a comprehensive investigation and expert testimony are required to determine what caused the accident and who is accountable.

Medical record review can serve as critical evidence in legal proceedings related to the accident, providing objective data on the physical impact on the victim. In essence, the comprehensive review of medical records creates a narrative that can enhance prevention efforts, guide policy changes, and promote a safer working environment.

Have you ever been injured at work in a scissor lift accident? You can receive benefits from workers’ compensation. Contact a scissor lift claim lawyer immediately to file a lawsuit.

In conclusion,

The frequency and severity of scissor lift accidents underscore the critical need for rigorous adherence to safety measures. This equipment, though tremendously beneficial in many fields, is not without risks. Proper training, regular equipment maintenance, and safety culture are paramount.

It’s essential to remember that behind each statistic is a person whose life has been impacted, a reminder that every precaution we take in preventing scissor lift accidents is not merely a protocol but a commitment to preserving human life and well-being.

Let’s design a world where accidents are rare, and every worker can boldly say, ‘I am safe at my workplace.’ Because at the end, safety isn’t just about preventing workplace accidents – it’s about safeguarding lives.

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