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Using scissor lifts safely

Working with certain types of machinery can pose significant risks. New Jersey workers who routinely have to use scissor lifts as part of their job duties should be aware of the danger they pose.

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration examined over 20 avoidable injuries and ten preventable deaths that occurred as a result of various incidents involving scissor lifts over a 12-month period. The results of the investigation indicated that a lack of sufficient training was the cause of a majority of the injuries and fatalities that took place.

In order to select the right type of equipment for workers to complete their tasks, employers should evaluate a job site to identify any potential hazards. Employers who require the use of scissor lifts should examine and implement the effective controls for stabilization, positioning and fall protection. Scissor lifts should be used only by trained workers who are able to demonstrate that they are able to use them correctly. Safe usage requires proper maintenance of the equipment, the implementation of safe work policies, adhering to the manufacturer's instructions and the provision of training and personal protective equipment for the workers.

Some scissor lift safety tips include the installation of guardrails to prevent workers from falling and staying within easy reach of work in order to avoid leaning away from the lift. Scissor lifts should be used only on hard, level surfaces and isolated from other equipment when in use in order to ensure stabilization.

Most people who are injured on the job are entitled to receive workers' compensation benefits under their employer's insurance coverage. Acceptance of these benefits in most cases takes away the right to sue an employer for safety violations such as improper or negligent training. An attorney for an injured victim can analyze the circumstances of a workplace accident in order to determine which path to take.

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