IPAF webinar offers reassurance over MCWP safety

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The International Powered Access Federation (IPAF) is to offer a free webinar aimed at re-establishing full confidence in the safety and efficiency of mast-climbing work platforms (MCWPs) as a means to offer work at height solutions on construction-project façade work, following the UK HSE safety alert that was issued earlier this year.

IPAF convened several meetings in response to UK HSE BSCD1-2022 issued in May, and continues to offer co-ordinated support as MCWP manufacturers, rental companies and end users ensure that all ongoing use of the equipment is safe and fully complies with the technical and safety requirements outlined in the UK HSE alert.

Now IPAF is offering a free webinar entitled Why MCWPs are the best access system for façade work on 14 October at 1pm GMT+1, in order to give an update on the work the industry has done since May to maintain compliance with UK HSE guidance and to reassure contractors and end users that the equipment is still the safest and most effective way to conduct façade work on major construction projects.

Angel Ibañez, IPAF’s Representative for MCWPs and Related Products, who has helped to lead IPAF and the wider MCWP industry’s response, comments: “When
the UK HSE alert was issued, it was initially a significant shock for the industry to deal with. Many construction projects were threatened with delays and uncertainty, particularly as manufacturers and rental companies in the UK, made or owned fleets disproportionately consisting of the types of equipment referred to by the safety alert.

“Manufacturers, hire companies and contractors attended the several meetings that IPAF convened, in which it was decided the industry needed to measure the likely impact of the safety alert – for instance, how many of the types of machines covered by the safety alert were in use in the market – as well as ensure awareness of the issues raised across the whole sector worldwide. IPAF moved quickly to help reassure end users and the UK HSE that all machines deemed unsafe would be stood down, while trying to co-ordinate a robust response from a safety and technical perspective.

“As you’d expect, some manufacturers and rental companies were affected more than others, depending on which designs of MCWP equipment they make or hire out. Some machines were unaffected by the UK HSE alert, while others that were proved relatively easy to upgrade or modify, with the manufacturer having a solution ready to go quite soon after the alert was issued.

“IPAF has worked closely with members as they try to resolve all technical issues; and in the past few months we have provided a link between our members and the UK HSE to clarify some aspects of the safety alert, and to relay information back to the UK HSE about how some of our members are implementing measures to comply with the alert.

“We are pleased to say that, from a position earlier this year when a significant part of the UK MCWP fleet was effectively grounded, that the UK MCWP rental fleet is now back almost at full capacity. IPAF believes this means the industry is now even safer than it was prior to the alert being issued, and this is testament to the rapid response to the alert and the collective effort of all those involved in finding solutions.

“Throughout the past five months IPAF has been helping our members to implement these strategies and providing that link to the UK HSE regarding certain technical issues. IPAF commits to continue supporting its MCWP members, and to represent as effectively as possible the often-disparate interests of the industry – not just in the UK but worldwide.

“Contractors in the UK have been particularly grateful that IPAF has offered them the chance to be involved in the discussions and as a result we wish to reassure all contractors and end-users of MCWPs out there that the equipment remains the most effective way to carry out construction façade work in the UK today.

“IPAF continues to emphasise the importance of all users of MCWPs to adhere to acknowledged safety procedures including elements of installation and demonstration, quality training and safe systems of work.

“The webinar on 14 October is aimed at getting this message out to the widest possible audience; it will be available to view on the IPAF YouTube channel after broadcast. We urge all participants in the MCWP market to join the webinar, and to share the link with their clients and end-users as part of any campaign to promote the safe and effective use of MCWPs and construction hoists for façade work and related construction tasks.”

● To find more information about the IPAF webinar: Why MCWPs are the best access system for façade work please click here, or click this link to register. The webinar will be broadcast via Zoom in English, with a recording being made available on IPAF’s YouTube channel after the initial broadcast on 14 October at 1pm BST.

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