IPAF Safe use of MEWPs to manage trees and vegetation

Tree Worker on a MEWP
Added 21 Sep 2022
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Mobile elevating work platforms (MEWPs) are a safe way of providing temporary access at height for tree care work and vegetation control. Overgrown or overhanging trees and vegetation require management and MEWPs provide an ideal solution for this. This task is necessary in both urban and rural locations – often in public areas close to pedestrians and passing traffic. Pruning or removing branches can be a hazardous task, especially if trees are in the proximity of power lines or communications cables or the platform is poorly positioned in relation to the work area. 

The most common type of MEWPs used for this task are static (1b) machines such as vehicle-mounted platforms, tracked and trailer-mounted MEWPs. These machines are favoured for ability to drive across rough terrain and to be set up on uneven ground. 

The three most common types of injury for those using MEWPs for tasks of this nature are:

  • Electrocution – contact with or arcing from power lines;
  • Falls from the platform – platform occupants not using or incorrect use of personal fall protection equipment (PFPE);
  • Hit by falling objects – such as tree branches or sections of trunk.

Ref: TE-1107-0822-3-en