Be Aware of the Dangers of MEWPs

Mobile elevating work platforms (MEWPs) is a mechanical device used to provide temporary access for people or equipment to inaccessible areas, usually at height. There are distinct types of mechanized access platforms and the individual types may also be known as a “cherry picker” or a “scissor lift”.

All MEWPs have the potential for accidents. In particular, 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.
  • Collision: the vehicle may collide with pedestrians, overhead cables or nearby vehicles.

Apply these Control Measures to Protect Your Staff

The use of MEWPs is regulated by the Health and Safety at Work etc. Act 1974 as well as Regulations 5, 6 & 20 of Provision and Use of Work Equipment Regulations 1998.

You must identify your MEWP hazards within a risk assessment and make sure that suitable control measures are put in place.

In particular:

  • Select the right MEWP for the job and site
  • Have a plan for rescuing someone from a MEWP and practice it
  • Brief operators on the hazards
  • Make sure the MEWP is used on firm flat ground
  • Use outriggers and extend them before raising the platform
  • Make sure the platform is fitted with guardrails and toe boards
  • Provide harnesses to arrest any falls
  • Take into account bad weather
  • Consider site hazards such as overhead cables
  • Make sure the operators are competent
  • Inspect and maintain your MEWPs.

MEWPS are a great way of carrying out work at height safely, but only if the risks are properly assessed and precautions put in place.

Contact us if you require assistance.



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