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Emergency Descent Symbol

Safety decal to help locate emergency descent controls

After consultation with members, IPAF has produced a new symbol that may be used to signpost the location of emergency descent controls. This symbol is designed to help operators locate the emergency descent controls in the event of an emergency. It should be clearly visible from the outside of the machine. Limited numbers of free copies are available from IPAF to rental and manufacturer members.


“Even experienced operators sometimes have difficulty locating the emergency descent controls that every mobile elevating work platform is fitted with,” said Tim Whiteman, IPAF managing director. “This new symbol is a practical visual aid and a prime example of an industry initiative to make access equipment even safer. We encourage manufacturers to fit this as standard on new equipment and rental companies to fit this decal to their existing fleets.”

Emergency descent systems can be found on all types of mobile elevating work platforms. They differ in terms of where they are located on specific machines and how they operate. The decal should be positioned to clearly indicate the location of the emergency descent controls. Operators should ensure that somebody at ground level is properly trained on how to use the controls in an emergency.

Lessons learned from the London 2012 Games construction project

Following lessons learned from a fatality on a non-London 2012 project involving a mobile elevating work platform (MEWP), an emergency drill was carried out in the Olympic Park. It was found that not enough of the workforce knew how to lower a MEWP in an emergency. Further training of operators was recommended to mitigate this health and safety risk.

See The lowering of mobile elevated working platforms in an emergency, published by the Olympic Delivery Authority in October 2011, ODA 2010/374.


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