Can Anyone Operate a Scissor Lift?

scissor lfit

Working on elevated platforms is a common necessity across various industries in Queensland, from construction and maintenance to retail and warehousing. The scissor lift is one of the most commonly used elevated work platforms (EWPs). But can anyone operate a scissor lift in Queensland? The short answer is no. There are specific requirements and regulations in place to ensure safety.

Understanding Scissor Lifts

A scissor lift is a type of mobile elevated work platform that can move vertically to provide workers with access to higher areas. It’s designed with crisscrossing metal supports that extend upward when raised and retract when lowered. These machines are invaluable for tasks that require reaching different heights safely and efficiently.

Legal Requirements for Operating Scissor Lifts

Licensing in Qld

In Queensland, operating a scissor lift typically requires a high-risk work (HRW) license if the platform height exceeds 11 meters. This license ensures that the operator has undergone the necessary training and assessment to handle the equipment safely.


Even if the scissor lift does not exceed 11 meters, operators must still be adequately trained. The training should cover:

  • Machine Operation: Understanding how to safely operate the lift, including starting, stopping, steering, and elevating.
  • Risk Assessment: Identifying potential hazards and understanding how to mitigate them.
  • Safety Protocols: Following guidelines for safe use, including wearing appropriate personal protective equipment (PPE).

Training programs are often provided by registered training organizations (RTOs) and usually include both theoretical and practical components.

Employer Responsibilities

Employers have a legal duty to ensure that all operators are competent and have received adequate training. This includes regular refresher courses to keep up with any changes in safety regulations or operational procedures.

Safety Regulations and Best Practices

Operating a scissor lift involves inherent risks, so adhering to safety regulations and best practices is crucial. Here are some key considerations:

Pre-Operational Checks

Before using a scissor lift, perform thorough pre-operational checks, including inspecting the lift for any signs of damage, checking fluid levels, and ensuring all controls are functioning correctly.

Load Limits

Always adhere to the manufacturer’s specified load limits. Overloading the platform can lead to dangerous situations, including tipping or mechanical failure.

Environment Assessment

Evaluate the work environment for potential hazards such as uneven ground, overhead obstacles, and weather conditions. Ensure that the operating surface is stable and capable of supporting the lift.

Safe Operating Procedures

  • Use Fall Protection: Even though scissor lifts have guardrails, using additional fall protection measures like harnesses can enhance safety.
  • Avoid Overreaching: Stay within the confines of the guardrails to maintain balance and stability.
  • Follow Manufacturer Guidelines: Always follow the manufacturer’s instructions for operation and maintenance.


While scissor lifts are essential tools for many industries, their operation in Queensland is strictly regulated to ensure safety. Not everyone can operate a scissor lift without proper training and, in some cases, a high-risk work license. Employers must ensure that operators are qualified, competent, and adhere to safety protocols to minimize risks.

If you’re considering operating a scissor lift, it’s crucial to undergo the necessary training and understand the legal requirements in Queensland. This not only ensures your safety but also compliance with state regulations.

For more information on training programs and licensing, visit your local regulatory body’s website or consult with an accredited training provider. If you have any questions about hiring a scissor lift for your requirements our friendly team of experts are here to help with your needs.

If you would like to speak with one of our expert team members, they are looking forward to chatting with you!

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