A lift table is a device that employs a scissors mechanism to raise or lower goods and/or persons. Typically lift tables are used to raise large, heavy loads through relatively small distances. Common applications include pallet handling, vehicle loading and work positioning. Lift tables are a recommended way to help reduce incidents of musculoskeletal disorders  by correctly re-positioning work at a suitable height for operators. Lift tables lend themselves to being easily adapted to a specific use. They can work in hostile environments, be manufactured in stainless steel and have equipment like conveyors, turn-tables, barriers and gates easily added to their deckplates.
Lift tables can come in a vast array of configurations and can be built to suit various highly specialized industrial processes. The most common lift table design incorporates hydraulic cylinders and an electrically powered pump to actuate the scissor lifting mechanism. Lift tables can also be driven by pneumatic sources, trapezoidal-threaded screw drives, push chains or by hydraulic foot pump when the load is not heavy. Lift tables can be mounted in a pit for floor-level loading, especially useful for access by manual pallet-pump trucks and the mobility impaired or wheelchair users.
Industries that commonly use lift tables include woodworking, upholstered furniture manufacturing, metalworking, paper, printing and publishing, warehousing and distribution, heavy machinery and transportation.
Common uses of lift tables include
- Vehicle loading and docking operations
- Mobility impaired access (see below)
- Work positioning and ergonomic handling
- Load positioning (e.g. when integrated into conveyor systems)
- Materials positioning in machine feeding applications
- Pallet and roll cage handling
- Furniture upholstery
Mobility impaired access
Lift tables are widely used as wheelchair lifts and to assist with raising and lowering mobility impaired persons. In this case special attention needs to be given to the extra features and precautions that should be taken to assist a visually or mobility restricted person.
In Europe there is a published standard BS EN 1570: 1998 + A2: 2009 Safety requirements for lifting tables. Standard EN 1570-1 is now EN 15701-1:2011+A1:2014. It is a Type C standard and compliance with this standard confers conformity with the Machinery Directive, 2006/42/EC. Work is already being undertaken to revise this standard and possibly split it into 3 parts. It specifies the criteria for the raising and lowering of goods and/or persons associated with the movement of goods carried by lifting tables. When using lift tables for uses not covered by International / Regional standards e.g. EN1570 then further consideration may need to be given to the associated Risks and hazards.
The most common types of accidents involving a scissor lift
- Caused by misapplication of the machine, obstacles
- Misuse of the equipment
- Lack of maintenance
This article needs additional citations for verification. (January 2012) (Learn how and when to remove this template message)
- "Scissor mechanism in particular for lift tables - United States Patent 4858482". Free Patent Searching. Retrieved January 2, 2012.
- "Muscoskeletal disorders". Health and Safety Executive.