Joint statement from manufacturers on the issue of operator entrapment
AEM and IPAF create guidance around the training, assessment and planning of work at height
The Association of Equipment Manufacturers (AEM) and the International Powered Access Federation (IPAF) have released the following joint statement on the issue of operator entrapment:
Manufacturers of mobile elevating work platforms (MEWPs) have been active in addressing the issue of operator entrapment. Both individually and collectively through IPAF and through representatives from the Manufacturers of Elevating Work Platforms Council (MEWPC) Engineering Committee, an industry group under the AEM, they have helped create guidance around the training, assessment and planning of work at height; created or approved various forms of integrated and aftermarket devices; and are currently working with the UK Health & Safety Executive (HSE) to investigate the issue more thoroughly.
MEWPs currently sold into the European market must be in conformance with the Machinery Directive, including additional devices installed on these units. Many manufacturers have approved the use of multiple devices on their equipment, and appropriate action has been taken to ensure that these entire approved systems, along with the MEWP, comply with the Directive.
Certainly, contractors or hirers can choose any of the approved measures to be used on their equipment or at their work sites. Application of any secondary protection devices remains subject to a thorough workplace hazard assessment by the machine user to ensure that the proper device has been chosen and specific training for operators to ensure that they continue to practise vigilance in identifying and avoiding obstructions regardless of whether a secondary device is installed. Prescribing one specific method of mitigation for all instances is not an appropriate strategy to ensure the safety of operators, occupants and bystanders of MEWPs.
IPAF offers guidance regarding this risk assessment and also training for those managers who will be supervising the use of MEWPs on their work sites. This information can be found in the Industry Best Practice Guidance produced by the UK Strategic Forum with the assistance of IPAF and endorsed by the HSE. This is available in seven languages and in a separate US edition.
About the Author
IPAF is the parent organization of North America's Aerial Work Platform Training (AWPT). Both are not-for-profit member organizations that promote the safe and effective use of powered access equipment. Find more information at www.ipaf.org.