The International Powered Access Federation (IPAF) has confirmed that it has updated one of its most widely used global safety stickers for use on Mobile Elevating Work Platforms (MEWPs) – launching a redesign of the decal that is applied to machines to indicate where the auxiliary lowering controls are located.
Andrew Delahunt, IPAF’s Technical & Safety Director, says: “The new design has been developed in consultation with IPAF members via its technical committees, and provides an easy-to-comprehend and clearly visible reminder to operators, managers or supervisors of MEWP operations as to where the auxiliary lowering controls are on the particular machine being operated.
“The existing decal design has been subtly improved and continues to be aligned to international safety standards; we urge manufacturers, dealers, distributors, rental companies and owners of MEWP equipment to update the machines in their fleets with the new decal at their earliest convenience.
“The decal was initially developed by IPAF after our CEO Tim Whiteman observed an experienced operator had difficulty in finding the auxiliary lowering controls while carrying out a routine pre-use inspection. Despite the fact this particular operator had carried out thousands of such inspections before, a temporary ‘blind spot’ meant he was forced to consult the owners’ manual in order to find the controls.
“Obviously, any such delay in a situation where the auxiliary controls are required while someone urgently searches for them is undesirable, necessitating clearly labelled controls so a supervisor or colleague on the ground knows what to do and can step in quickly if the machine loses functionality or cannot be operated from the platform.
“Over the years, IPAF’s auxiliary lowering controls decals have become widespread in our industry, and have no doubt been a useful aid in numerous situations where temporary work at height has gone wrong or posed a risk to operator safety.
“IPAF advises that a clear rescue plan must be in place before using the MEWP. A rescue plan will include all the actions required to recover the platform in the case of machine malfunction by using the auxiliary controls, and equally importantly how to operate the MEWP from the ground in an emergency.
“It is critical that someone on the ground knows what to do and is familiar with the ground controls of the MEWP before the platform is raised. It is important to note that it may not always be advisable to operate the platform using the auxiliary controls in all emergency situations, so always check the manufacturer’s recommendations when setting out a protocol for emergencies and devising your rescue plan.
“Planning ahead for safety is IPAF’s key campaign for 2018-19, and this is certainly one eventuality that should be considered as there is no excuse for an operator to be stranded in a MEWP platform with no-one on the ground that has been shown how to lower the MEWP safely or to otherwise safely effect a properly planned rescue.”
For more information on the full range of IPAF safety stickers please contact your nearest IPAF office. Visit www.ipaf.org/contact or check www.ipaf.org/safe for the full range of stickers, safety messages and Andy Access posters available free of charge.