Posted on: 24 June 2022

Safety Matters in Construction

The majority of the accidents and fatalities that take place on construction sites can be avoided if simple workplace health and safety precautions are implemented.

The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) is Britain’s national regulator for workplace health and safety. According to the HSE Health and safety report 2020-21, the construction industry is the most dangerous sector to work in.

Furthermore, working at heights and handling heavy materials might expose your employees to a variety of hazards. Scissor lifts are often found on construction sites as they are ideal for completing precise tasks at high elevations. However, they can also be a dangerous piece of machinery if not used correctly. So, in this article we are looking at how to use scissor lifts safely while working at heights in warehouses or outside.  

About Scissor lifts 

Scissor lifts are ideal for working in tight spaces since they are so agile. They help workers perform tasks at great heights. However, they can be dangerous when used inappropriately, or by an untrained operator, or when not properly maintained and serviced.  

Construction businesses mainly use three types of scissor lifts: 

  1. The Hydraulic, which lifts the platform with hydraulic fluid. So, warehouses, construction sites, and outdoor spaces are all areas where hydraulic scissor lifts are used.
  2. Mechanical, includes both electrical and diesel-powered versions. The electrical ones are small and narrow, best used indoors while diesel-powered ones are suitable for outdoor sites as they produce exhaust fumes.
  3. The Pneumatic is the one which raises the platform with air pressure. These lifts work without any electrical system or hydraulics so require less maintenance. In addition, they are an environmentally friendly option with lower carbon emissions.

Scissor lift safety precautions

Businesses should understand that all work at height on a scissor lift must be planned, supervised adequately, and carried out in a reasonably safe manner, according to the Work at Height Regulations 2005. So, to protect yourself against unexpected situations related to Scissor lifts incorporate the following practices: 

  • It is a good exercise to always perform a pre-work inspection. Inform your employees to never use a scissor lift without first ensuring that its components are in good operating order. This will decrease the risk of any accidents or injuries by a significant margin.

  • As a business it is your responsibility to train your workers to a high degree before they can operate any machinery. So, only permit the use of the lift if the operator is trained. Reading the manufacturer’s operating guidelines can ensure workers’ safety.

  • If the lift is being used outdoors, the environment around it really matters. So, choose a workspace that is free of electrical power sources, such as power lines, transformers, and other overhead hazards such as branches and overhangs should be kept free of the lift.

  • As mentioned, Hydraulic and Mechanical scissor lifts can be used outdoors. Therefore, never use a scissor lift during severe weather. An elevated scissor lift can easily be knocked down by the wind. If there is a chance of rain or strong winds, avoid using the scissor lift outside. The wind rating on most scissor lifts is 12.5 m/s or less. 

  • This might sound like stating the obvious but don't put too much weight on the lift. Consult the lift's specifications guide to find out how much weight can be loaded onto the platform.

  • The lift supervisor should ensure that the operators are fit on the day to use the lift. If your operator reports feeling uneasy or mentally stressed, it is best for them to avoid using the lift, as it could result in incorrect use or injury.

HSE responsibilities of businesses at Construction sites 

With construction being the most dangerous sector in the UK, businesses must abide by laws such as:

These laws establish general health and safety rules for both employers and employees in the workplace.

The CDM regulations are specifically for construction businesses, and the law places duties on everyone involved in the construction process. The duties include preparing the construction phase plan, identifying risks, and liaising with stakeholders. 

Construction insurance with Premierline 

When working in an industry such as construction, any tradesman will know the smallest mistake can have major consequences, meaning construction insurance that covers the risks that your business faces should be a top priority. 

At Premierline, we are passionate about helping you protect the business that you have built. We provide insurance advice and will assess your insurance needs to make sure that you are covered should the worst happen. Our business insurance advisors work with some of the UK’s most well-known insurance providers to find you a competitive construction insurance quote.

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