10 mistakes people make when using lifts

There are many things that can go wrong when using a lift at work. We have seen many strange incidents, and unfortunately it is often human error that leads to dangerous situations and accidents. Here we have summarised some of the most common mistakes and explained how to avoid them.

1. You forget to keep feet firmly planted on the ground

The support legs of the lift must always be firmly planted on the ground, with equal weight distribution on each leg.


2. You forget to be in balance

For the lift to be safe to use, it must be levelled. Ensure correct positioning of the lift, do not exceed the weight limit in the basket and try to distribute the weight in the basket as evenly as possible.

3. You forget to look at the ground

The ground must be able to support the weight of the lift and any outriggers. If the ground is weak, the lift or its outriggers may sink into the ground, causing imbalance – and in the worst case, a rollover.

4. You do not have a good assistant

The cause of many accidents is lone working. If the person working in the basket is injured, it is very important that they get help as soon as possible. It is important to have a good helper on the ground to keep an eye on you and to lower the basket.

A lift accident happened in Moss in 2014, when a drunk man climbed up a lift while the lift operator was working in the basket – again, it would have been nice to have a person on the ground to prevent the situation from occurring!


5. You don’t know what you are doing

The Working Environment Act requires workers to have satisfactory training and practice in the use of work equipment. Many types of lifts are large and sophisticated machines that require the user to know what he/she is doing.

Take a lift course today: www.instantkurs.com


6. You attach yourself incorrectly

You may want to use fall protection equipment when working at height, but you should not attach yourself anywhere on a lift. Check where the attachment point of the lift is before using it (information on this will be in the user manual and is often marked on the lift itself).

Take a fall protection course today: www.instantkurs.com


7. Driving too fast

Many self-propelled lifts can be driven quite fast while standing in the basket. However, even a slight unevenness in the ground can create great instability when the basket is raised. In the worst case scenario, you can create a “catapult effect” and be thrown out of the basket.

8. Forgetting to use common sense

Lifts are practical aids, which are safe in normal and sensible use. Following the lift’s instructions and using common sense will get you far (and high!).

9. Modify the lift

Some creative souls modify the lift, change settings and build on the lift. This should never be done! Even small changes can create major challenges to the stability and safety of the lift.

10. You think the lift can be used for everything

  • The lift is not a staircase
  • The lift is not a scaffold
  • The lift is not a crane

… and it should not be used as such! Always make sure you use the correct work equipment for the job you are doing.

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