Can I use our scissor lift indoors?

There are two main problems with using a scissor lift indoors: fumes from its motor and the floor it is going on.

Scissor lifts designed for use indoors generally have an electric motor. They might be all electric, i.e. the same motor powers them outside too, or hybrid, with a diesel engine which you can run when you're outside.

If you have a good enough ventilation, you can run a diesel scissor lift inside, but you need really good ventilation. You do not want to be in a confined space with diesel fumes, they are very bed for your health and especially so when you're working at height, as the fumes can make you stupid, so you are much more likely to make a mistake and as we all know, making a mistake when you're up in the air, whether that's three metres or fifteen, can be fatal.

So, if you need a scissor lift inside and you haven't got an electrically driven one, just hire the right machine rather than using a model that might hurt you.

If your ventilation is good or your scissor lift is electric, consider the floor. It needs to be strong enough to take the machine – even a light scissor lift made for internal use like a Power Tower is almost half a tonne, plus you've got to lift a person up with it too. Bigger scissor lifts like the Skyjack models can be 2-6.5 tonnes.

If you are sure your floor can take the weight, do remember that the tyres on some scissor lifts can mark the floor. These are industrial machines, so they're not made to be delicate, the bigger units are made for factories and warehouses where getting the odd mark on the door doesn't matter. Check whether your unit has non-marking tyres if that is going to be a problem. Many do, but not all, so check before driving it on to a decent floor you'll need to repair.

Finally, but an item you're going to be used to if you drive an access machine regularly – plan your route. If you're trying to get a large scissor lift that usually works outside through a tight area, bear in mind that it's not as manoeuvrable as a machine that's made for inside work. Make sure there's nothing breakable in the way, or near any of the corners you're going to need to take the machine through.

So, can you use your scissor lift indoors? Yes, as long as you've checked it's safety for internal use, and whether where you want to use it is going to be accessible for the machine without anything getting damaged.

Malcolm Brown has worked fixing a variety of machines, including forklifts, racing karts, cherry pickers and scissor lifts. He has a blog coming out soon.