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License Requirements For Operating Scissor Lifts & Cherry Pickers In The UK

Scissor lifts, cherry pickers and other types of mobile elevating work platforms (MEWP’s), are versatile and efficient machines used in various industries. However, a question we’re often asked by those looking to purchase or hire a scissor lift or cherry picker in the UK is whether they require a license to operate the equipment.

Access platform licensing requirements.

In this article, we’ll explore the regulations surrounding MEWP operation in the UK and shed light on the need for licenses to ensure safety and compliance.

Understanding Licensing Requirements

The operation of scissor lifts and cherry pickers falls under the scope of the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974, which imposes a legal duty on employers to provide adequate training and ensure the competence of their employees. While specific licenses are not required by law, sufficient training and certification are necessary to meet legal obligations and promote a safe working environment.

The International Powered Access Federation (IPAF) offers the most widely recognized training and certification program for operating powered access equipment in the UK. While this is not technically a license, the IPAF PAL (Powered Access License) Card serves as proof of completion of an accredited training course.

Holding a valid PAL Card is strongly recommended by CPSLift and many other industry experts to demonstrate competence and ensure compliance with safety standards.

Training & Competence

Undertaking a certified training course is crucial to acquire the necessary skills and knowledge for safe scissor lift/cherry picker operation. IPAF-accredited training courses provide comprehensive instruction on equipment operation, safety protocols, hazard awareness, and emergency procedures.

While completing a training course is highly recommended, gaining practical experience is equally as important. Reputable employers should provide opportunities for hands-on experience whilst under supervision to enhance competence and familiarize operators with the specific scissor/cherry picker model they will be using.

Continuous Learning

The safe operation of MEWP’s should also involve ongoing education and awareness of industry best practices, helping operators keep up to date with training refreshers so they can become familiar with any new regulations and technological advancements with the equipment they are using.

Here at CPSLift, we believe this aspect is just as crucial as preliminary training for maintaining competence and ensuring safe operation over the longer term.

Benefits of Certification

Proper training and certification significantly reduce the risk of accidents and injuries associated with scissor lift and cherry picker operation. Certified operators possess the necessary skills to handle the equipment safely, identify potential hazards, and respond appropriately in emergency situations.

Holding a valid PAL Card or equivalent certification demonstrates compliance with legal requirements and industry standards in the UK. It also enhances an individual’s professional reputation and employability within the industry.

Here at, we offer IPAF operator training courses for the following categories of powered access platforms:

  • Static Vertical Booms (1b)
  • Scissor Lifts (3a)
  • Self-Propelled Booms (3b)

If you are interested in obtaining a PAL card for you or your employees, you can find out more about our IPAF Operator Training courses here.


While a specific license is not mandatory for operating a scissor lift or a cherry picker in the UK, the importance of proper training and certification cannot be overstated. Employers have a legal responsibility to ensure the competence of their workers, and individuals should prioritize their own safety and professional development.

Undertaking an accredited training course, such as those provided by IPAF, equips operators with the necessary skills, knowledge, and confidence to operate MEWP’s both safely and effectively.

Remember, investing in training and certification not only promotes safety but also enhances professional competence and the reputation of your business. Prioritizing proper education and maintaining up-to-date knowledge will contribute to a safer working environment for all those involved.

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