Choosing the Right Scissor Lift

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Many industries require workers to be lifted above ground level to complete a task, such as stacking items in a warehouse, reaching M&E installations, cleaning windows and a wide range of construction activities.  

A-Plant Powered Access extended platform scissor lift in yard

As most industries move away from the use of ladders and steps, scissor lifts can provide a safer and more practical alternative. This blog will help you learn all about scissor lift hire and the key factors you need to consider to select the right equipment.

What is a Scissor Lift?

Scissor lifts are a type of Mobile Elevated Work Platform (MEWP) which can be raised and lowered using a set of cross supported pivots, like the two halves of a pair of scissors. Scissor lifts are ideally suited to situations where a straight vertical lift is required. They provide a safe and secure platform for the operative to work from, specifically designed to help protect the worker from falling. The platform has a railing around the perimeter and a gated area where workers mount and dismount the lift.  

A scissor lift is free-standing, which means the operator is not relying on their own balance as they would need to if they used a ladder for same task. The operator’s movement is therefore not restricted, and they are able to complete tasks much more efficiently and safely.  

There are a wide range of scissor lift models available on the market, and it pays to consider some important factors before hiring, such as the height of lift required, the various power options available, your work location and operator training requirements.

Read on to discover our top 5 tips on what to consider for your scissor lift rental…  

A-Plant Powered Access scissor lifts with A-Plant telehandler

1. Consider how high you will need to reach, and the safe working load required

The size and specification of the scissor lift you require will depend on the height you need to access. Scissor lifts come in the following size categories:

  • Under 10m
  • Between 10m and 15m
  • Above 15m and up to 30m

If you need to access different heights to complete a range of tasks, select a scissor lift that can be paused at a various heights, as required. Using a scissor lift allows the operator to reach a wide expanse of a wall or ceiling without having to continuously re-position the unit, which is a real problem with ladders. Some scissor lifts also have extendable decks which allow even further horizontal reach.

Each scissor lift has a safe working load attributed to it to help you calculate how many operatives it can lift along with any necessary tools and equipment. When hiring equipment, you can select the specification which suits your exact requirements to ensure you get the job completed safely and quickly and the hire team can advise on the right specification.  If you need to reach both vertically and horizontally, or up and over an obstacle, then you would need to consider a powered access machine with a telescopic or articulating boom.

A-Plant Powered Access collapsed scissor lift

2. How do you want the machine to be powered?

If you are working indoors in a warehouse or manufacturing facility with limited ventilation, you may be required to hire an electric scissor lift to avoid the fumes generated from a diesel engine.  Electric scissor lifts are ideally suited for indoor use and as well as being fume-free, they also have low operational noise levels and non-marking tyres to protect expensive flooring.  You will, however, need to check the weight bearing capacity of the floor; some commercial properties have raised or suspended floors and so a heavy machine might not be suitable.

Diesel scissor lifts can be used both indoors and outdoors but are perfectly suited if you need to negotiate uneven terrain to access the work area. Some diesel options have four-wheel drive and standard oscillating axles to provide additional stability on rough ground.  Wheel covers can be provided to protect flooring if you need the power of the diesel scissor lift for an indoors location. If using a diesel scissor lift indoors, assess ventilation options to ensure you can maintain a safe and comfortable working environment.

3. Consider your work location

Aside from the work location affecting if you would select an electric or diesel scissor lift, the location would also influence several other factors: 

  • Work space available: If restricted, you can select a narrow scissor lift model, such as the 9.75m Narrow SkyJack Electric Scissor Lift, to improve manoeuvrability. 
  • Access: If you are working indoors, you will need to consider how the machine will access the building, including the width and height of doorways.
  • Overhead obstructions: When working outdoors, consider any overhead obstructions such as power lines and trees that could cause safety issues and prevent access to the designated area.  If trying to access over or around obstacles, a boom lift may be more appropriate.

4. Operator Training Requirements

The Work at Height Regulations 2005 apply to all work at height if there is a risk of a fall liable to cause injury. The regulations state that all work at height must be properly planned and organised and that the operator is trained and competent.  

To operate a scissor lift, it is recommended that the operator has achieved IPAF 3a training, a qualification which is recognised by CITB and the HSE as demonstrating the required competence.  Alongside our range of powered access equipment, A-Plant (and Plantfinder in Scotland) can also advise on training and our fully accredited and award-winning training centres provide a one-stop-shop solution for powered access.

A-Plant Powered Access Scissor Lift on site

5. Hire from a reputable rental company to access reliable and safe scissors lifts

A-Plant and Plantfinder constantly invest in the newest equipment on the market, and so hiring from us means you get the reassurance of reliable and safe equipment which meets all current LOLER and PUWER requirements.  When hiring equipment, you will receive certifications to demonstrate that all safety checks and maintenance requirements have been undertaken, and we will guide you through how to undertake the necessary safety checks each time the equipment is used.

In order to minimise risk and comply with Work at Height regulations, our team will help you find the safest solution for the job you need to complete.  An understanding of the activity you need to complete at height, and the specific safety factors associated with it, means we can advise which mobile access equipment will get the job done and reduce the risk. 

You can browse the full range of equipment supplied by A-Plant Powered Access and Plantfinder here: and

How to Hire from A-Plant Powered Access

To hire all types of powered access equipment including scissor lifts, you can visit our service centres and leave a deposit relative to the equipment value, or alternatively you can set up a credit account. This is a simple process that can be completed via email or in a service centre location. You will need to provide references and confirmation of insurances and then your credit account can be approved and activated within 24 to 48 hours! 

Once your account is set up, you can hire from any of 33 dedicated Powered Access service centres across the UK, and also access the thousands of other products available to hire from across the specialist A-Plant divisions. 

For more information on the scissor lifts available in our range, or to find out more about our extensive range of low-level access and powered access equipment, get in touch with our team and call 0370 050 0797.

1 comment

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Dennis Sanchez

I thought it was interesting when you explained that it is important to check the specifications of a scissor lift before use because each one has a working load that needs to be followed. It makes sense that following the regulations for these would be important in preventing accidents occurring while in the air. It would be interesting to learn more about the projects that utilize these lifts.

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