How to Use Pump Jacks


Pump jacks have numerous applications, from installing siding on a house to washing windows. Specifically, the jack is used to raise and lower a platform attached to a scaffolding system. Unlike a ladder, a pump jack and scaffold allows you to work at a set and constant distance from the building. While a pump jack and scaffold often provide more security than a ladder, follow all safety precautions and read the pump jack's owner’s manual.

Using a Pump Jack to Raise a Scaffold Platform

  • Check the poles and scaffold to ensure it's secure and set up properly. Before attempting to raise the jack, make sure the crank handle is locked into place. If the handle isn’t locked, you won’t be able to raise the platform with your pump jack.

  • Stand on the scaffold platform and face the pole. Slip a foot into the strap on the upper foot lever of the pump jack.

  • Lift up your leg and push down to work the jack. Continue pumping with your foot until you’ve raised the platform about 12 inches.

  • Remove your foot from the strap and go to the other pump jack. Insert a foot in the same manner as before. Pump until the platform is level. If you’re using more than two pump jacks, the platform won’t be level until you’ve raised each jack.

  • Raise the platform 12 inches at a time until reaching the desired height.

Using a Pump Jack to Lower a Scaffold Platform

  • Face the pump jack pole. Make sure the upper foot lever is all the way up and the crank handle is in the locked position.

  • Hold the pole to steady yourself, Use your right foot to push down on the upper foot lever. Keep your foot on the upper lever. If you don't keep pressure on the upper foot lever, it may spin out of control and cause an injury.

  • Slip your left foot into the lower foot lever. Push down on this lever until you feel it’s about to release. At this point, grab the crank handle, disengage the locking mechanism. Crank it clockwise until you’ve lowered the platform about 12 inches.

  • Reset the crank handle and locking mechanism. Lift your left foot off of the lower foot lever. Release the upper foot lever, making sure it returns to the up position.

  • Repeat the process for the other pump jack, lowering it 12 inches at a time until the platform is level. If using more than two pump jacks, lower each 12 inches at a time. Lower until you've reached the desired height or are 12 inches above the ground.

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