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Construction Depot

Safety and health newsletter for the Oregon construction industry

May 12, 2015

tipped over scissor lift

Scissor lift safety: preventing tip overs

What happens when you tie an extension cord to a raised scissor lift platform and it snags in moving equipment? Expect an accident. Consider the following scenario, which is a composite of a number of similar incidents that have happened over the past nine years.

The scenario

Two workers raised themselves on a scissor lift 26 feet above a concrete floor to continue demolition work on a structure above them. To do the work, they brought with them hand tools that required long electrical extension cords for power. They connected the extension cords to outlets in a spider box on the floor about 30 feet away from the lift and looped the other ends around the platform's top guardrail.

Meanwhile, a skid steer loader entered the area to remove debris that had piled up on the floor near the lift. As the skid steer drove over the extension cords, a cord got caught in one of the vehicle's tires. Unaware of what was happening, the skid steer operator drove away with the extension cord tethered to the tire.

Within seconds, there was no slack left in the cord and when it reached its maximum length, it pulled the lift over. The workers fell 26 feet and were hospitalized with multiple fractures.

The workers could have prevented the accident if they had used the extension cords properly, set up a barricade, and done a visual inspection of the area to identify any existing hazards.

Preventing tip-overs: best practices

Extension cords


Put up a barrier to keep other workers and moving equipment out of the area if they could interfere with the operation of the lift.

Visual inspection

Look for:



In this issue:

Reprinting, excerpting, or plagiarizing any part of this publication is fine with us!

But remember: the information in this newsletter is intended to highlight safe work practices, but it does not replace Oregon OSHA workplace safety and health rules.

For information about Oregon OSHA services and answers to technical questions, call (503) 378-3272 or toll-free within Oregon, (800) 922-2689.