How To Operate A Scissor Lift

Learning how to operate a scissor lift is not difficult. A scissor lift is a portable, hydraulic-powered lift with a platform that can be raised into the air directly above the base. It is very important that you learn and understand all of the controls and safety steps before you begin operating a scissor lift.

What is a Scissor Lift?

Wikipedia defines a scissor lift as a type of platform that can usually only move vertically. The mechanism to achieve this is the use of linked, folding supports in a criss-cross “X” pattern, known as a pantograph (or scissor mechanism).

The upward motion of a scissor lift is achieved by the application of pressure to the outside of the lowest set of supports, elongating the crossing pattern, and propelling the work platform vertically. The platform of a scissor lift may also have an extending “bridge” to allow closer access to the work area, because of the inherent limits of vertical-only movement.

How To Operate A Scissor Lift


  1. Pull out the emergency stop button on the control panel.
  2. Select “platform” with off/platform/base select key switch.
  3. Enter the platform.
  4. Pull out the emergency stop button on the platform control panel.
  5. Proceed with job using the required buttons, levers and controller located on the operator console.
  6. The Scissor Lift is equipped with a high and low range for travel. It can be used in high range in open travel ways, but should be used in low range in tight areas.
  7. If painting is being done while on the Scissor Lift, cover up the platform, handrails and controls to minimize overspray or splashing on the Scissor Lift.


  1. Fully lower the platform.
  2. Push the emergency stop buttons.
  3. Turn the base key switch to the off position.
  4. If you are finished with the Scissor Lift, clear all tools, debris, etc., from the platform and plug the Scissor Lift in to recharge the battery.

How to Reduce Hazards While Operating a Scissor Lift

Establish and follow safe operation practices that include, but are not limited to:

  • Inspecting controls and components before use
  • Selecting work locations with firm and level surfaces away from hazards that can cause the lift to be unstable (e.g., drop-offs or holes, slopes, bumps or ground obstructions, or debris)
  • Selecting work locations that are clear of electrical power sources (e.g., power lines, transformers) – by at least 10 feet – and other overhead hazards (e.g., other utilities, branches, overhangs, etc.)
  • Operating lifts only during weather conditions that are safe for use (e.g., not in high winds, rain, snow, sleet, etc.)
  • Moving the lift to/from a location safely, with the lift lowered, unless following safe practices allowed by the manufacturer
  • Setting the brakes and stabilizing the lift before raising it
  • Ensuring that the lift is not overloaded
  • Working safely from the lift (e.g., do not remove guardrails or stand on them for extra height)

Allow only trained workers to use scissor lifts, and make sure those workers show they can use a scissor lift properly.

Make sure that the scissor lift has a guardrail system that protects workers from falling.

NTR-Logo-230px-whiteborder2Scissor Lift Rentals

At Northside Tool Rental, we rent scissor lifts in the following sizes:

19-20’ Scissor Lift:standard warehouse scissor lift, holds 2 men and extendable to 20 feet  Must be used on flat surface!

25-26’ Scissor Lift:scissor lift elevates 2 men to 26′ high to get the job done.

32’ Scissor Lift: warehouse scissor lift, holds 2 men and extendable to 32 feet

Need something smaller?  We also rent a 12’ Vertical Mast Lift.

Here is a quick video featuring a scissor lift: