For those of you who are exhibiting with an outdoor space at a trade show it is common to think attracting attention by putting a large banner on a couple of scissor lifts extended up high would be the perfect way to get your brand out with a bang. WRONG. You could be putting your visitors at risk, without even intending to.
Scissor lifts are a safe way to perform work at height when used properly by trained personnel. However, they are not designed to hold banners or advertisement boards.
Some scissor lifts are designed for indoor use only at zero wind speed. Those designed for outdoor use might be at risk of being blown over in an elevated position when the maximum safe wind speed is exceeded. Do you know what the maximum safe wind speed is of the aerial lift you are using? Have you risk-assessed the weather conditions and can you accurately measure the outdoor wind speed on site, which could change?
We are urging exhibitors at trade shows not to attach banners to scissor lifts, as this could create a “sailboard” effect which could destabilize the lift and cause it to turn over. It is time to stop abusing aerial equipment at events, or simply not using this equipment correctly.
Scissors lifts are safe, but improper use of this equipment can make them very dangerous. Don’t put yourself and those around you at risk. A machine with a banner attached to it could get blown over even in modest winds. Aerial lifts are not toys for joy rides or hanging banners and displays.
In April this year, two people had to be rescued after an aerial crane ride broke down at an international construction equipment show (bauma in Germany). The ride had reportedly come to a standstill after a flag got caught between the hoist line and sheave, leaving two people stranded around 130 feet up in the air. The Munich fire service had to be called in to use a ladder platform to rescue them.
In short, purpose-built elevated work platforms should only be used by professionally trained operators under proper management of the work to be done. They should never be used for fun or entertainment.