IPAF set for High Voltage! safety campaign push at APEX

APEX 2023 Logo

The High Voltage! global safety campaign highlighting the risks of working with MEWPs near power lines will be the main message promoted by the International Powered Access Federation (IPAF) at APEX 2023, 6-8 June, in Maastricht, Netherlands.  

Visitors to the IPAF indoor stand (210) will be invited to take a quick five-question quiz about High Voltage! enabling them to claim an exclusive Palazzani co-branded water bottle while stocks last.  

The High Voltage! campaign was launched in March during Conexpo in Las Vegas, NV, USA. Power lines are a danger when working at height using mobile elevating work platforms (MEWPs), and the campaign identifies associated hazards and risks and explains how to work safely to avoid these.  

The campaign is underpinned by a new IPAF Toolbox Talk work site briefing and Andy Access safety poster, as well as a comprehensive new technical guidance document entitled The Safe Use of MEWPs in the Vicinity of Power Lines.  

Peter Douglas, CEO and Managing Director of IPAF, comments: “Powered access incidents involving electrocutions and electric shocks associated with power lines have notably increased since 2015, according to analysis of data gathered via IPAF’s Accident Reporting Portal. This year’s global safety campaign, and the guidance that underpins it, is another example of how ongoing analysis of incident data gathered worldwide influences a great deal of the work IPAF does, including safety campaigns, technical documents and our training programme.”  

Brian Parker, IPAF’s Head of Safety & Technical, adds: “If a MEWP or its occupants come into contact with power lines the result can be instant death, electric shock, or other injuries caused directly or indirectly by electricity. This can occur without direct contact with power lines as arcing or flashover may result if a MEWP is closer to the power line than a minimum of 10 feet, or 3 metres. 

“Incorrect identification of power lines is also a risk as they can be mistaken for telecommunication lines. Other risk factors include power lines that may be hidden from view by vegetation, a lack of work site supervision and operator complacency. 

“To reduce the risk of electrocutions and shocks, our campaign outlines some simple steps to follow: Plan thoroughly – conduct a site survey and risk assessment, machine selection is critical, contact the Energy Supply Authority (ESA) before work commences and ensure all operatives are made aware of the presence of power lines in the vicinity.  

“Ensure operators are trained – anyone involved in the safe use of MEWPs must be properly trained on the MEWP they are using and must have received a machine-specific familiarisation.  

“Stay outside exclusion zones – the prescribed safety envelope around live electric power lines (minimum of 3m/10ft for operators). Know your rescue plan – if someone has been electrocuted by arcing of electricity or has been in contact with a power line, call the emergency services immediately and call the ESA to have power turned off.  

“And finally, if a machine or occupant comes into contact or near-proximity with power lines, follow these simple instructions: Stay in the platform, or if on the ground, do not approach the MEWP and remain a safe distance away; call the emergency services; and wait.” 

In addition to the High Voltage! safety campaign, IPAF representatives at APEX are ready to tell visitors more about IPAF’s Women in Powered Access initiative, IPAF training, and to give information on available support, technical guidance, advisory leaflets, stickers, Andy Access safety posters and Toolbox Talk site briefings. IPAF members in selected membership categories are also eligible to claim a free digital version of the recently published IPAF Rental Market Report 2023.” 

IPAF is also hosting a dedicated breakfast event aimed at providing a networking space for women working across powered access during APEX, as part of its Women in Powered Access initiative, inspired by IPAF President Karin Nars. The event will be hosted 8-9.30am on Thursday 8 June in the Brasserie Saam restaurant at the MECC, click here to reserve one of the last few remaining places. 

● Visit apexshow.com for more details about APEX 2023, 6-8 June, at the MECC in Maastricht, Netherlands. See www.ipaf.org/safe for more information about High Voltage! and all of IPAF’s other global safety campaigns, and to see a range of free supporting resources. Click www.ipaf.org/events for details about all upcoming IPAF events appearances and webinars. 

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