The most significant MEWP (Mobile Elevated Work Platform) dangers arise from operation and use of the machine rather than from their movement as a site vehicle. The law says that these hazards must be properly controlled. However, a safe workplace for all vehicle operations needs be established by separating pedestrians and vehicles and providing hazard-free traffic routes. The Key issues which we address when training on all types of MEWP are: MEWP hazards, Controlling the risk, Training and competence and Inspection, Maintenance and Examination
What you need to know
Operators have died when trapped in the MEWP basket or when the machine has overturned. Great care must be taken to select the most appropriate MEWP and ensure that use of the machine is properly planned and managed. Operator instruction and training are very important requirements.
These hazards should be identified within a risk assessment and suitable control measures put in place.
Most fatal and serious injuries involving MEWPs arise from:
- Entrapment: operator trapped between part of the basket and a fixed structure, e.g. when manoeuvring in confined overhead areas of steelwork. Operators may become trapped against the platform controls, and if this happens they may not be able to stop the machine running.
- Overturning: the machine may overturn throwing the operator from the basket;
- Falling: an operator may fall from the basket during work activities; and
- Collision: the vehicle may collide with pedestrians, overhead cables or nearby vehicles.
Controlling the risk
It is important to select the right MEWP for the job and site. Have a plan for rescuing someone from a MEWP and practise it – someone on the ground should know what to do in an emergency and how to operate the machine’s ground controls. There are a number of precautions that can reduce the risk from MEWP hazards.
- Confined overhead working
- Ground conditions
- Arresting falls
- Falling objects
- Handling materials
- Nearby hazards