Types of Man Lifts


The construction industry utilizes man lifts to transport workers from one floor to another. According to the U.S. Occupational Safety & Health Administration, man lifts are power-driven and have either steps or platforms, along with handholds, for safe transport. (See Reference 1.) The type of construction work being carried out will determine what type of man lift to use for a project.

Electrically Insulated Man Lifts

  • According to Man and Material Lift Engineering, electrically insulated man lifts are a type of lift that is preferred for working with, or proximal to, electrocution hazards. (See Reference 2.) Electrically insulated man lifts protect workers against accidental electrocution as they are in compliance with the American National Standards Institute, A92.2 Category C, 46kV Rated. Electrically insulated man lifts have fiberglass insulated booms, fiber optic control cables and are operated on nonconductive hydraulic hoses that serve to reduce ground fault.

Scissor Lifts

  • Scissor lifts are a type of aerial man lift that move vertically and are meant to transport workers to hard-to-reach levels. The scissor lift got its name from the scissor-like design of the folding supports that serve to raise and lower the platform. To raise the lift, each folding support is opened to extend the platform to higher levels. The power system of scissor lifts can be either mechanical or hydraulic. Hydraulic systems allow scissor lifts to descend with only a release of hydraulic pressure, rather than relying on power. Consequently, hydraulic systems make safer scissor lifts because the potential of mechanical malfunctions preventing the platform from descending to the ground is eliminated.

Engine-Powered Boom Lifts

  • An engine-powered boom lift transports workers to their height destination quickly. Boom lifts have a wide range of mobility and can be moved in different directions. Boom lifts are ideal for fitting between narrow spaces. Each "joint" in the boom lift is controlled to adjust to varying heights in order to get the worker precisely where he or she needs to be to get the job done. The engine power system is what allows boom lifts to reach their full elevation in so short a time. Such lifts are commonly used by firefighters who need to rapidly ascend to heights for a rescue mission.


  • Man lifts are available in a wide range of weight capacities. Some man lifts have the capability to hold numerous amounts of weight, while others are only devised to hold one individual. Platform lifts, such as scissor lifts, are more conducive for transporting more bodies since boom lifts have limited space within the bucket.

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