Mobile Elevating Work Platforms (MEWPs), also known as Aerial Work Platforms (AWPs), are designed to provide safe access for temporary work at height – but they are only a safe option if the work is planned and managed appropriately. Accidents can be prevented, through proper planning, risk assessment, and management and supervision of work at height, including operation, by trained and familiarized operators.
IPAF’s ‘Back to Basics’ campaign identifies six recognised potential hazards that must be considered if accidents are to be prevented. These hazards can be avoided if users and operators follow essential safe-use practices.
Assess Ground Conditions
Always check ground conditions as part of your site assessment to ensure proper MEWP selection, identify potential hazards, develop control measures, and provide the operator with warning and instructions before using the machine.
Avoid Crushing Hazards
It is essential users and operators identify obstacles that may pose a crushing hazard in any direction of movement with the work platform. Follow the best practice guidance to avoid trapping and crushing injuries in a MEWP available from IPAF’s website www.ipaf.org/safe.
Prevent Unauthorised Use
Consider using a machine capable of reading a Smart PAL Card so that only trained operators can activate machines. After use, always leave the machine in a safe and secure place and remove the key.
Assess the Risks
It is a user’s responsibility to ensure an appropriate risk assessment is performed by a competent person prior to the start of work. As well as doing pre-use checks of the MEWP, operators should also conduct a workplace inspection to identify any hazards prior to starting work.
Stay safe and keep any part of the MEWP away from the vicinity of power lines/energised conductors. Electrocutions can be prevented through proper planning, risk assessment, site management and continuous observation by the operator of potential electrical hazards.
Inspect Prior to Use
Ensure operators perform checks of the MEWP; both visual and function tests before every use. Conduct daily inspections of MEWPs and ensure any issues are identified and addressed prior to operation.