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Management must lead on anti-entrapment

2012/11/21

Management must lead on identifying and responding to anti-entrapment issues as there is no simple solution available a group of more than 30 contractors was told by the UK’s Health & Safety Executive at a seminar convened by IPAF today.

More than 30 contractors were represented at the meeting which took place at London’s Heathrow airport. Speakers included Joy Jones, from the HSE’s Construction Safety Team, Chris Wraith, IPAF’s Technical Officer, and Giles Councell, IPAF’s Director of Operations.

Introducing the event, IPAF CEO Tim Whiteman, reminded delegates that MEWPs are recognised as an extremely safe way of doing temporary work at height and have made a great contribution to safety. This was echoed by Joy Jones who noted that it would be a retrograde step if contractors ever stopped using MEWPs because of concerns about entrapment issues: “Going back to ladders in the belief that MEWPs are dangerous would be the worst outcome” said Jones.

Delegates all received a copy of the industry best practice guide issued by the UK Strategic Forum in 2010 and available to download here. The document was endorsed by the HSE at the time of its publication and Jones re-iterated that it represented current best practice.

“Management must identify that working in restricted overhead spaces is a high risk activity and undertake appropriate risk analysis” said Whiteman. “As we have heard today, the solution is for appropriately trained managers to ensure that an appropriate MEWP has been selected, that the operator has appropriate experience and training, that there are suitable work systems in place to minimise risk and prepare for any emergency, and to consider whether any additional devices will assist in reducing the risk of entrapment”.

Jones encouraged companies present to consider enrolling staff on the IPAF MEWPs for Managers course as part of a co-ordinated response to the issues raised at the Seminar. There was also much interest in the PAL+ advanced operator course which a representative of the UK Contractors Group (UKCG) said was likely to become a requirement for certain trades operating on UKCG sites in 2013.

Resources

Our collected materials on the issue of trapping/crushing can be found here.

The papers presented at the seminar can be viewed below in PDF format:

www.ipaf.org – International Powered Access Federation (IPAF)