Driving scissor lifts and mobile plant whilst elevated


An elevated scissor lift overturned whilst being driven on a surface described as a sub-base which had been prepared for concreting. The task being performed at the time was the installation of the fire protection system to the warehouse which was under construction.

The result was two sprinkler fitters suffering serious and life threatening injuries.

Similar incidents have occurred in the past, where elevated work platforms have been driven into open trenches, backfilled trenches, live edges and open penetrations. The following information is to assist duty holders to provide a safe workplace under similar conditions, and for operators to be able to perform their work safely.

Some EWP’s have lock-out devices or interlocks that prevent them from being driven whilst elevated. Other types do not have these functions. It is not to be assumed simply because they don’t have interlocks, that they can be driven safely whilst elevated.


In this particular incident it appears the EWP had encroached into an area that had been excavated for the preparation of pouring concrete pads, and the excavated area designated by the use of string and flagging.

Risk Controls

  • Ensure a SWMS has been developed and reviewed for the system of work being undertaken, and all workers have been tool boxed and consulted into the requirements of the SWMS.
  • The requirements of the SWMS are adequately supervised and monitored as necessary to maintain a safe system of work.
  • Ensure operators have the appropriate level of competency to operate the EWP (see PPTEU Hazard Alert “Minimum Training Requirement for the Safe Use Of Boom Type Elevated Work Platform (WP) and Scissor/One Man Vertical Lift Type Elevated Work Platform”)
  • Ensure the type of EWP is suitable for the system of work being undertaken.
  • Consider the provision of a spotter on the ground.
  • If areas are back-filled, ensure compaction tests have been carried out.
  • If operating near live edges, voids, penetrations and excavations etc., implement a high level of hierarchy of control such as engineering controls including bump stops, water barrier, fencing etc. at an appropriate distance to prevent the EWP from entering such an area.

Steve Rocco V2 2016


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