IPAF guidance helps keep festive decorations work safe

Christmas lights in Covent Garden for 2022 PR (Credit - Star Platforms)

Workers and managers using Mobile Elevating Work Platforms (MEWPs) to install and remove seasonal decorations and lights are being urged to download a comprehensive new technical guidance booklet that can help to avoid safety issues and to mitigate risks involved in work at height in public areas and alongside roads.

The Safe Use of MEWPs in Public Areas guidance document is a 24-page digital booklet developed and published earlier this year by the International Powered Access Federation (IPAF). It is free to view or download via www.ipaf.org/resources and is also available in a professional print-ready format that can be co-branded with issuer’s company logo and shared with end users and contractors.  

Brian Parker, IPAF’s Head of Safety & Technical, comments: “As we all know, installing or taking down seasonal decorations and lights can quickly turn into a festive hangover if those tasked with the work do not know how to select the correct type of machine or overlook the need to use professionally trained operators and supervisors.

“At this time of year, there is often undue pressure placed on operators to try to save time and money by omitting to do a site assessment or disregarding safe use practices. IPAF is keen to remind users of powered access to carry out temporary work at height that they should ensure that all operatives are trained, supervised, and act in accordance with industry-recognized safe practices, particularly when working alongside roads and in public places.

“This year, as minds begin to turn towards the holiday season, we know many companies and municipal authorities will already be well underway with planning this work, and that we will start to see high streets in towns and cities, village squares, public buildings and shopping precincts adorned with lighting and festive decorations over the next weeks and months.  

“This work is often carried out during the hours of darkness or inclement weather, and often operatives feel time pressured to keep up with demand and in order to meet their own festive commitments with family and friends. However, there is no shortcut to safety, so we urge all those planning and undertaking such operations to view the new document, which contains information on the key risks involved and the recommended ways to minimize, mitigate and manage these.”

Peter Douglas, CEO & MD of IPAF, comments: “We hope that the IPAF Safe Use of MEWPs in Public Areas document might help to prevent serious injuries or fatalities from occurring. We have made the document available in multiple languages and free of charge for all to view or download, in order that all those involved in putting up or taking down decorations this season do so as safely as possible.”

● Visit www.ipaf.org/safe for further details about IPAF safety campaigns, or see www.ipaf.org/resources for a comprehensive range of free-to-use guidance and resources including Andy Access safety posters and Toolbox Talk briefings. See www.ipaf.org/training for IPAF’s courses and to find your nearest IPAF Training Centre.

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