Do I Need a License to Operate a Scissor Lift?

Published: 25th October 2010
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As with any powered access machinery, the scissor lift has a degree of danger associated with it and requires proper handling to avoid damage or injury. As a result, companies hiring this equipment will often ensure that you have the necessary qualification to do so.

The qualification to use a scissor lift is provided by the International Powered Access Federation (IPAF) and is known as the Powered Access License (or PAL card). To attain this you need to attend a training course being provided by one of the 400 approved centres throughout the world. The PAL card will be valid for five years and the training course(s) can often cost a few hundred pounds to complete.

It would be irresponsible of any hire company to allow their equipment to be used by anybody who doesn't have the necessary qualifications to operate it properly. The scissor lift is a motorised vehicle and obviously rises to a significant height, so safety standards have to be understood and fully observed when hiring the equipment. Failure to do so could lead to damage to the lift or injuries for users.

The scissor lift itself is a platform that offers vertical lifting courtesy of the hydraulically assisted scissor-like struts. They can reach up to 18 metres, depending on the type of machine you choose, allowing you to work at significant heights - indoors or out. As previously mentioned, the lift can be manoeuvred into position using the motorised base.

This is all controlled from a single control mounted on the lifting platform. Whilst this is straightforward enough for experienced users, it requires a certain amount of knowledge to ensure that it is done correctly.

PAL card carriers are in demand, so adding this qualification to your current credentials is certainly not without its benefits. If a business is reliant on using scissor lifts, cherry pickers or any other form of powered access, then it is important that they also have members of the team qualified to operate. This means that hiring staff with the necessary license or indeed training current employees is vital to ensure effective operations.

Obviously there is an expense involved in this; however the end result is a qualification that will allow you to use and hire powered access machinery. Whilst it might not be necessarily beneficial for a company looking to use it on an infrequent ad hoc basis, for others it certainly can be. You can often enquire about bringing in a qualified operator temporarily to carry out the necessary tasks.

There are a variety of IPAF training courses available to help guide users through the different operations, instructions and dangers of operating powered access machinery. This includes guidance on regulations, how to inspect the vehicle and of course how to operate it properly. The course itself will often be held in a single day, allowing you to experience every aspect of using the machinery and then being rewarded with a PAL card and IPAF Certificate if you can successfully prove that you fully understand all aspects.

So if you are considering scissor lift hire, make sure that you've got the necessary qualifications to do so. Any respectable hire company will usually ask this prior to hiring and then ensure that you have the card on delivery/collection. They are liable also as the equipment is extremely expensive and if damage is caused by negligence, they will be partially accountable.

If you, or nobody else within the organisation, don't have a license currently then seek out an accredited IPAF course provider and get signed up. Once you hold the necessary certificate you will be able to use and hire powered access equipment for five years, an extremely useful asset for any business or employee.

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