Scissor Lift Meaning & Definition | EcoOnline
Health & Safety Glossary

Scissor Lift


What is a Scissor Lift?

A scissor lift is a commonly used piece of equipment and is often found on construction sites. Scissor lifts are simply aerial platforms with a lifting mechanism attached to them. 

It’s commonly used for maintenance purposes, for hanging signs or for use in construction. Most scissor lifts have a sturdy enclosure around them, thus allowing workers to easily perform their tasks without worrying about falling over. 

It’s one of the many types of construction lifts that’s used to elevate workers to different heights. While boom lifts are also used in construction, most scissor lifts are generally different. For starters, they can’t reach as high as boom lifts. 

More importantly, they are widely considered to be a more practical and affordable option for use in projects where height isn’t a significant factor.


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What is the Importance of a Scissor Lift?

Scissor lifts are commonly used in construction projects and generally offer various benefits to users. Here are some of the many reasons why scissor lifts are so important. 

They Lift Workers to Heights They Can’t Reach Otherwise

One of the major reasons why scissor lifts are so popular is because they allow workers to reach heights that they won’t be able to reach otherwise. This offers greater flexibility and allows workers to complete their tasks much quicker.


Reduced Worker Fatigue

Without a scissor lift, workers would have to lift themselves up using makeshift platforms or ladders. This puts greater stress on their body, and even prevents them from working properly. 

Ultimately, all of this can result in increased worker fatigue. Due to their simple yet effective design, these lifts reduce worker fatigue and offer a greater range of movement.

Reduces Risk of Repetitive Strain Injuries

Scissor lifts allow workers to better position themselves at improved work angles. They don’t have to worry about awkwardly positioning their body to reach elevated heights. 

Improved Worker Safety

Apart from their benefits related to worker fatigue and reduction in injuries, scissor lifts are also suitable as they improve worker safety overall and reduce the changes of accidents.


Types of Scissor Lifts

There are several popular types of scissor lifts that are generally used on work sites. Here’s a brief description of popular scissor lifts.

Electric Scissor Lifts

Electric scissor lifts are a popular choice because they are generally fuel efficient. Instead of requiring diesel or petroleum, they have an electrical powertrain that works noiselessly. 

It doesn’t emit any fumes or make any noise, and they are a suitable choice for use indoors. Electrical scissor lifts generally need to be plugged into an outlet or charged before they can be used. Owing to their more efficient design, these scissor lifts are also easier to transport and don’t take up much space.


Hydraulic scissor lifts have an engine-powered hydraulic system. Some even have a hand-operated system in place that allows the platform to move up or down. Owing to its relatively simple mode of operation, these lifts don’t require any training to use.

However, because of the nature of hydraulic systems, these lifts are generally ideal in projects where speed isn’t a major concern. 


Diesel-powered scissor lifts are incredibly common, and are generally used on larger construction sites. They have a cross-braced system that lets them reach heights of up to 30 feet. 

Certain models can even reach heights of up to 60 feet. However, these are not eco-friendly; traditional diesel fuel is generally quite inefficient, and releases harmful fumes into the air. 

That’s one of the main reasons why diesel-powered scissor lifts are generally used in outdoor areas, where noise or fumes can dissipate more conveniently. Because of their larger size, they can accommodate more workers on the same platform.


Pneumatic scissor lifts use air pressure to lift higher. The lift doesn’t emit any harmful fumes and is widely considered to be eco-friendly. They simply compress atmospheric air to achieve lift. 

However, because pneumatic lifts are solely powered by air pressure, they are generally not as sturdy or as versatile as diesel or electric scissor lifts.


Factors to Consider When Selecting a Scissor Lift

It’s important to consider different factors when selecting a scissor lift for a project. Here are some factors to consider.

Platform Size

The platform size is important and has a major impact on worker safety. If there are several workers on a smaller platform, there’s always an increased risk of incidents.

Weight Capacity

Make sure that you choose a scissor lift that can support the appropriate weight depending on the number of workers that will operate on the platform.


As mentioned above, some lifts can go as high as 60 feet. It’s important to choose a lift that can reach suitable heights based on the project’s requirements.


Load stability is an important factor. For instance, if you’re going to work with heavy weights on an elevated platform, it’s important that the lift has a load stability mechanism in place. 

Fuel Type

Finally, you need to consider the fuel type for the scissor lift.


Prevent Worker Injuries on Scissor Lifts and Other Equipment Through EcoOnline’s Health & Safety Software

EcoOnline’s Health & Safety Software is a modular, cloud-based solution for companies that want to improve workplace safety. It lets companies manage an asset register and include information about specific equipment, such as scissor lifts.

It can also be used to provide guidance to employees about the best ways to use scissor lifts and to record, report, and analyze any incidents.