*Note that the elements above are not an exhaustive list.
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Identify the Task to be Undertaken
As the first stage in the planning process, the task should be clearly identified, together with the location and timing, taking into account the number of personnel, tools and equipment to be elevated to the workplace.
The decision to specify the use of a MEWP should not be adopted simply for convenience but should be the result of a thorough planning and selection process considering typically:
Has the plan of work considered an alternative to working at height?
Can working at height be designed out?
Can working at height be reduced in scope?
Can the programme of works wait for permanent or easier access?
Is there an alternative method of access that reduces the overall risk?
Have the alternatives been considered, risks assessed and residual risks compared?
Where a MEWP is used it must be ensured, so far as is reasonably practicable, that MEWP operations are appropriately assessed and the risks including their level are identified with controls and constraints clearly communicated to any user of the MEWP.
Select Correct MEWP
There are many different types of MEWP with various rated capacities, working heights and outreaches.
Some jobs are extremely challenging to access. Knowing which machine to apply to each given situation makes a huge difference in terms of ease of access, time taken to complete the work, and ensuring site safety.
At the same time, selecting a MEWP with the right operating characteristics can substantially reduce the risk of entrapment. When selecting a MEWP, account should be taken of the manufacturer‟s instructions and, in particular the operating parameters and limits specified.
Conduct Risk Assessment
The hazards and risks associated with the task and the specific type of MEWP have to be identified and evaluated prior to the start of work.
Risk assessment must cover all stages which include but not limited to loading and unloading, on site familiarisation, travelling to and from work area, working at height and refuelling.
Prepare Safe Work Procedure
Having identified the hazards, evaluated the risks, and determined the control measures and emergency rescue procedures required to carry out the task safely, these components should be developed into an appropriate plan.
Once the plan has been developed it should be recorded in a suitable safe work procedure (SWP).
The SWP should be based on risk assessment and identify the
• type of MEWPs to be used,
• hazards that need to be taken into account, when travelling to,
• accessing or working in the work area,
• control measures to be adopted,
• competence and training requirements for those involved in the work, and emergency arrangements.
The SWP should be communicated to all persons involved in the planning and management of the work tasks.
The hazards identified and control measures to be adopted should be communicated to those who supervise and carry out the work tasks.
Rent from Audited Rental Company
An audited rental company provides assurance to customers at every stage of the Mobile Elevating Work Platform (MEWP) rental process.
What is IPAF Rental+?
• The powered access industry’s guarantee of a high-quality hire/rental company.
• Proof a hire/rental company has been independently audited and meets rigorous health and safety, quality, and environmental standards.
• A mechanism for continual business improvement.
Benefits of choosing an IPAF Rental+ hire/rental company
• Assurance that the hire/rental company complies with health and safety, quality and environmental standards within the industry.
• Certified proof that the hire/rental company employees are trained to the required level and that quality MEWP equipment will be supplied.
• Ease of locating IPAF Rental+ depots and verifying IPAF Rental+ certified companies
• Knowledge that the hire/rental company satisfies most UK tender pre-qualification requirements (SSIP certification) and alignment with the Common Assessment Standard (UK only).
• Confidence that the hire/rental company has access to relevant technical guidance, industry standards and good practices, and governance within the industry.
Ensure Operators are Trained & Competent
An operator of a MEWP is required to have attended and passed a MEWP training course conducted by an Approved Training Organisation specific to the type of MEWP he is operating, prior to operating the MEWP.
The employer shall ensure that the operator has been trained under the direction of a qualified person in accordance with the Curriculum Training Assessment Centre (CTAG) for MEWP Training developed by the Approved Training Organisation before operating the MEWP.
MEWP Operators must:
• be competent to operate the MEWP in the working conditions to which they are exposed,
• be instructed in local hazards and site rules,
• have attended the MEWP operator course specified by the local authority, and
• be familiar with the make and model of MEWP they are authorised to operate.
Set a System to Certify Operators’ Familiarisation with Specific Models
An operator of a MEWP shall be familiarised with the controls, functions, safety features and emergency lowering procedure of each model of MEWP he is required to operate. Familiarisation instruction shall be provided to the operator by a competent person who is trained and competent in the model of the MEWP. The trainer-to-trainee ratio should not exceed 1:10.
Emergency Rescue Plan & Drills
Planning is critical to a prompt rescue of someone who has become trapped and timing can make a very significant difference to the injuries sustained – in some cases, the difference between life and death.
- Establishes a rescue plan as per the requirements of the safe work procedure (SWP) and fall prevention plan (FPP).
- Communicates the rescue plan to the parties involved.
- Ensures competencies and availability of emergency Personnel.
- Ensures operators and emergency personnel go through the familiarisation instruction on emergency lowering and retrieval.
- PRACTICE the plan regularly.
Provide Advanced Training for Operators in Challenging Work Environment
Most MEWP Operator Course is generally a basic operation course. Operators who work in higher-risk environments like confined areas, steel structure and congested workplaces, need to be trained in a more advanced level.
Contractors are demanding for a recognised qualification demonstrating advanced operator proficiency and signifying a certain level of experience in using different types of MEWPs in a variety of challenging environments and scenarios.
Verify Operators Proficiency
Many competent MEWP operators do not use a MEWP on a daily basis as part of their work. They are skilled painters, installers, electricians, plumbers, etc. They use MEWPs only when their jobs are required to be carried out at height.
The number of years of their licence do not reflect the years of operating experience.
Most MEWP operators may not have been operating a MEWP for months or even years.
As a result, their proficiency level dropped and it is important to have their proficiency be verified before operating a MEWP.
Perform MEWP Toolbox Talks & Display MEWP Safety Posters
Toolbox meeting is one of the best ways to communicate the importance of safety. It should be conducted daily first thing in the morning or before the start of the work shift. It allows safety managers or MEWP supervisors to deliver key messages at the start of a shift.
Ensure Supervisors/Managers are Trained in MEWP Management
It is the responsibility of the users to ensure that any of his employees who supervises or manages the use of MEWPs is competent in the methods which may be adopted when using the MEWPs, any risks which such use may entail and precautions to be taken.
Supervisors/Managers need to know the safe and effective use of MEWPs on site, including planning the job, conducting a risk assessment, selecting the right equipment for optimum cost-efficiency and mitigating all possible risks.
Engage Competent Transport Company to Load/Unload MEWP
The activity of loading/unloading and transporting MEWPs onto trucks and trailers has long been considered a high risk activity, as findings from the IPAF accident reporting database show. About a third of the accidents recorded by rental companies take place during the delivery and collection process.
Established Maintenance Checks, Inspections & Documentation System
The MEWP shall be maintained and inspected as required to ensure proper operation. The frequency of maintenance and inspection shall be determined by the manufacturer’s recommendations and operating conditions and the severity of the operating environment.
Preventive maintenance is a critical factor in ensuring MEWP safety. Any owner of the MEWP is responsible for ensuring that the preventive maintenance is carried out. The rigour of the preventive maintenance regime may be increased based on the severity of the use of MEWP or operating environment.
Proper inspection is a critical factor in MEWP safety. Users and owners of MEWP are responsible for ensuring that the relevant inspections are carried out in its required frequency. The rigour and frequency may be increased based on the severity of the use of MEWP or the operating environment.
Records pertaining to information on the MEWP, the maintenance, servicing and inspection shall be kept for not less than 5 years. Operational records such as risk assessment and safe work procedures shall be kept as well.
Verify Inspectors/Engineers are Competent
A six-monthly statutory examination shall be performed on the MEWP no later than six months from the date of the previous six-monthly inspection. The inspection shall be performed by a competent person qualified for the specific type and model of MEWP. The inspection shall include all items specified by the manufacturer for an annual inspection.
Set Up Faulty/Defects Reporting System
The operator shall report to a supervisor of any malfunctions, faults or safety-related problems that occur during operation. The MEWP shall be duly checked by a competent person before the MEWP is again operated.
Keep Up with Safe Use Standards/Guidance & Manufacturer Safety Bulletins
Respective countries have it own Safe Use of Mobile Elevating Work Platforms Standard and Guidance. highlights the importance of operational planning, choice and selection of MEWP, maintenance of MEWP, legal and administrative requirements, training and most importantly, the responsibilities of various stakeholders.
At the same time, owners of MEWPs should register their machines with the manufacturers or their dealers in order to establish communications to receive updates on the latest safety bulletins. The manufacturers' representatives or dealers will then register with the manufacturers and be responsible for the timely transmission of all safety related bulletins and any following actions to the owners.
Report Accidents & Near Misses to IPAF’s Accident Reporting Portal
Using MEWPs for temporary work at height is a proven safe method for a wide range of activities. IPAF and its members share data on incidents involving powered access with the goal of identifying areas of risk and common trends. The accident reporting project commenced in 2012 and the knowledge gained has been used to create safety awareness campaigns and inform all the work that IPAF does, including developing industry guidance and training.