A safety trail demonstrating the importance of proper planning ahead when conducting temporary work at height using Mobile Elevating Work Platforms (MEWPs) and a virtual reality (VR) MEWP simulator were among the main draws on the International Powered Access Federation (IPAF) stand at Vertikal Days 2018 at Donington Park near Derby, UK, 16-17 May.
IPAF’s safety campaign for 2018-19 outlines why operators and managers should carry out full risk assessments, choose the correct equipment for the job, conduct site and machinery inspections, use trained and familiarised operators under proper supervision and implement adequate segregation from other plant machinery and traffic.
There was a dedicated six station safety trail using MEWPs set up next to the IPAF stand to demonstrate key risk scenarios and how proper planning can mitigate or eradicate most common causes of accidents. IPAF’s larger-than-life Andy Access mascot also toured the show meeting visitors and exhibitors and posing for selfies.
IPAF also offered visitors to the stand a range of safety and technical guidance materials, and promoting a new online spreader pad calculator, which is available free at pads.ipaf.org.
Andrew Delahunt, IPAF’s Technical & Safety Director, says: “From IPAF’s accident data analysis, we’ve identified four key accident causes that can result in falls from the MEWP platform. These accidents can be prevented by proper planning and safely managing the use of MEWPs. We are highlighting these factors so that managers and operators know the risks and know their responsibilities.”
As part of IPAF’s ongoing industry-wide consultation on the possible applications for VR and MEWP simulators in MEWP safety and training, there was also be a state-of-the-art simulator for delegates to try their hand at MEWP operations without ever leaving the ground. Developed by various IPAF member companies, the VR simulator featured at the recent Intermat 2018 expo in Paris, France, and wowed visitors there, while the slightly upgraded version on the stand at Vertikal Days proved equally popular with exhibition-goers on this side of the channel.
All those who visited the IPAF stand to try out the MEWP simulator and VR headset are invited to give feedback at www.ipaf.org/VRconsultation
Tim Whiteman, CEO of IPAF, comments: “This technology has the potential to transform the way powered access training and safety instruction is delivered; it’s important that we gather feedback about the potential of this ‘next generation’ technology from across the industry and our 1,000-plus accredited training instructors worldwide are key to this.
“By bringing the MEWP simulator to key industry events such as this, we hope to spark debate on how to adopt and adapt this technology. I urge anyone visiting Vertikal Days this year who sought out the IPAF stand and tried the MEWP simulator for themselves to fill out the short survey online at www.ipaf.org/VRconsultation – IPAF and our members look forward to your input.”