From The Ergoweb® Learning Center

Mobile High Work Platforms

Dan MacLeod, CPE, MA, MPH

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Working in high position can create multiple challenges

Principles affected

Related pages



Maintenance personnel often need access to locations that are high overhead or otherwise inaccessible. In many of these situations, standard ladders are not appropriate because of the need to bring along tools and equipment or because a more stable working position is needed.

Terminology: Personnel lifts, manlifts, self-propelled scissors lifts, booms, cherry pickers, aerial lifts


Achieve good working posture for employees working in high positions, plus a stable surface, appropriate safety precautions, and locations to hold tools and materials.

Ideas and Options

Self-propelled high lifts

Wave1 Wave2
The “Wave” ( is especially maneuverable

One of the best options for reaching high locations is to use a self-propelled lift. These types of units can be driven to where needed and then powered up to the height required. Many of these units can be driven while in the raised postion, plus are small enough to fit through a standard doorway.

Scissors1 Scissors2
In transit In position

Larger units are also available. Common vendors are, (all have various types of lifts shown on this page).

Manual push, powered lift

Manual Manual2

Some versions of these personnel lifts are manually pushed around, but incorporate power for elevation. Above left is available from and above right from

Aerial booms

Boom lift

Aerial booms have special advantages in locations with rough surfaces, such as outdoors, where equipment with small wheels cannot be used. The booms can also extend over impediments for especially difficult-to-reach situations. Common vendors include those listed above.

Rolling ladders




Rolling ladders are widely available and have multiple applications. The primary advantage is low cost. Primary disadvantages are (a) problems when needing to carry loads up and down the steps, and (b) large footprint.