Can Scissor Lifts Be Used Outside?

Scissor lifts are a very versatile access platform, allowing great vertical height and stability making it a popular choice of MEWP. This safety and stability along with their convenient maneuverability make them a good alternative to more traditional access solutions such as ladders or scaffolding. Whilst there are many indoor uses for scissor lifts, they can also be readily used outside too. We’ll take a look at how to choose the best scissor lift for outdoor usage as well as some safety factors for using scissor lifts outside.

Types of scissor lifts for outdoors

There are lots of sizes of scissor lifts available with a variety of attributes. The main three factors to consider when choosing a scissor lift for outdoor usage are height, power and tyres/terrain.
  • Height: different projects will need scissor lifts of different working heights. You will need to know the working heights you require before hiring your scissor lift to make sure you pick the best platform for the job. Whether you require large working heights for construction projects or low heights for maintenance work, there will be a machine to match your needs.
  • Power: scissor lifts are available with different power sources, with the most common choices being electric/battery powered, hybrid/bi-energy and diesel. Indoor scissor lifts should be battery-powered as they will not create any fumes. However, outdoor scissor lifts have no such limitations and can be fueled by any form of power source - just check the manufacturer's guidelines for your purposes beforehand.
  • Tyres/terrain: a scissor lift’s tyres will influence the type of terrain it can and should be used on. For example, indoor scissor lifts may have special non-marking tyres to protect delicate flooring. If you’re working outside on relatively flat and even surfaces such as concrete slabs or tarmac, you will have a wide range of scissor lifts available to you. If you need something that can handle slopes or uneven ground, look out for machines described as ‘rough terrain’ lifts.

Can scissor lifts be used on uneven ground?

Scissor lifts can be used on uneven ground, provided you choose the right model. As mentioned above, some scissor lifts are specially designed to be able to handle the rough, uneven and sloping ground. These rough terrain scissor lifts are ideal for outdoor projects and for use on construction site work.

Can scissor lifts be used on grass?

Scissor lifts can be used on grass if you choose a rough terrain machine. You will have to make a judgement on the condition of the grass though, as if it’s too wet or boggy it would not be advisable to use heavy access equipment on it. If the grass and ground is dry and fairly even, you should be fine to operate a scissor lift on this terrain. Should you want to protect the grass from tyre marks or ruts, a good solution is to put down mats where you will be driving and positioning your scissor lift. For more information on ground conditions for MEWPs, check out the IPAF guidance.

Are scissor lifts waterproof?

In a perfect world, we’d always have warm sunny days for using scissor lifts. However, British weather means that you’ll likely want to use a scissor lift in the rain at some point. Scissor lifts designed for outdoor usage should be waterproof to a certain degree; you should check the manufacturer’s operator guide for your machine’s restrictions though, or ask your access platform hire company for advice. There may be some additional set-up and weatherproofing to be done on areas such as the control interface. When it comes to operating scissor lifts in wetter weather, you should take extra safety precautions when it comes to inspecting ground conditions and considering traction. You should also ensure operators wear a safety harness and suitable footwear on the lift platform which could be slippier with rain.

Scissor lifts and wind

Strong winds are one of the biggest hazards for scissor lifts. You should avoid using the access platform when there’s windy weather as it can compromise the stability of the lift and even cause it to tip over. Check the manufacturer’s wind rating for your machine before using it in windy weather. Generally, outdoor scissor lifts should only be used at wind speeds below 28mph.   If you are interested in hiring a scissor lift for your next project, Star Platforms have a wide range of high-quality access platforms to choose from. Whether you’re looking to hire or buy, or for an indoor or outdoor model, we can help you find the best scissor lift for the job. Just get in touch with our helpful team today.