NIOSHTIC-2 Publications Search

Fall prevention and protection for scissor lifts.

Pan CS; Powers J; Harris J; Dong R; Wu J; Hartsell J; Chiou S; Keane P; Cantis D
Research and Practice for Fall Injury Control in the Workplace: Proceedings of International Conference on Fall Prevention and Protection. Morgantown, WV: U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Public Health Service, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health, DHHS (NIOSH) Publication No. 2012-103, 2011 Nov; :180-183
The fall hazards associated with work on scissor lifts are well recognized within the scaffolding industry [Burkart et al. 2004]. Surveillance data reveals the increasing risk of severe injury and death associated with the adoption of this equipment in construction, telecommunication, and other industries [Pan et al. 2007]. Pan et al.'s [2007] review of these data indicated that extensibility factors - the extended height of the lift or the vertical position of the worker as a result of extension of the lift - were significant contributing factors for fatal injury. These height factors accounted for 72% of the scissor lift cases in the Bureau of Labor Statistics Census of Fatal Occupational Injuries (CFOI) data; 83% of scissor lift cases investigated by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration and the NIOSH Fatality Assessment and Control Evaluation Program involved falls/collapses/tip overs within the height categories of 10-19 feet and 20-29 feet. According to CFOI data, 72% of scissor lift fatalities occurred in the construction industry; in the OSHA and NIOSH investigation data, 74% of scissor lift fatalities occurred in construction. Based on these data, NIOSH developed an aerial lift project focusing on a laboratory study of a commercially available 19-foot electric scissor lift. Since there is no body of scientific knowledge that establishes the efficacy of personal fall protection systems for use on scissor lifts (OSHA depicts scissor lifts as mobile scaffolds), the utility of fall protection equipment on scissor lifts has not been universally accepted by lift safety experts as an effective safety control practice for reducing fall-risk exposure for operators. Results from Pan et al's study [2007] indicated that, for a significant percentage (82% for OSHA and NIOSH investigation data) of fall-from-elevation incidents, safety controls did not protect workers because existing fall protection systems were not in use at the time of the incident. Only 4 out of 13 scissor lift injury/fatality cases from OSHA/ FACE reports showed the use of additional personal fall protection systems. Guardrails on the scissor lift platforms are enough to meet the OSHA mobile scaffold requirement (1926.451(g) (4)) for fall injury prevention for scissor lifts, and additional requirements for using personal fall protection systems currently are undecided by industry and standard committees (ANSI A92.6 and ANSI A10.29). This represents a serious concern for the lift industry. The objective of this study was to examine the structural and dynamic stability of a scissor lift subjected to fall arrest forces. Second, a dynamic simulation model of the scissor lift was developed to evaluate/predict the effects of scissor lift stability associated with various fall harnesses and lanyards during drop tests.
Accident-potential; Accident-prevention; Accidents; Accident-statistics; Biomechanical-modeling; Biomechanics; Construction-industry; Construction-workers; Ergonomics; Fall-protection; Injuries; Injury-prevention; Ladders; Mortality-data; Posture; Risk-analysis; Risk-factors; Safety-equipment; Safety-measures; Safety-research; Standards; Statistical-analysis; Surface-properties; Construction-equipment; Scaffolds
Publication Date
Document Type
Conference/Symposia Proceedings
Fiscal Year
Identifying No.
NIOSH Division
Priority Area
Source Name
Research and Practice for Fall Injury Control in the Workplace: Proceedings of International Conference on Fall Prevention and Protection
Page last reviewed: May 11, 2023
Content source: National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health Education and Information Division