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February 21, 2012 2:00 PM CST

IPAF launches MEWP incident database

Project will build a comprehensive record of known AWP incidents


The MEWP incident database will help improve and promote the safe use of MEWPs worldwide.

The MEWP incident database will help improve and promote the safe use of MEWPs worldwide.
The International Powered Access Federation (IPAF) has begun a systematic project to collect worldwide data on accidents/incidents involving mobile elevating work platforms (MEWPs), also known as aerial work platforms (AWPs), with the aim of improving the safe use of equipment.

Manufacturers, rental companies, contractors and users are encouraged to report any known MEWP accidents or incidents using the standard form that is available at IPAF Incident Database. In the initial phase, IPAF is calling for reports of any known serious accidents and fatalities involving MEWPs in the UK, and any known fatalities involving MEWPs worldwide.

“I applaud and encourage the efforts your industry is making to collect and analyse your own data,” wrote principal inspector Joy Jones of the UK Health & Safety Executive (HSE) in an open letter to IPAF members. “Obtaining accident/incident data to identify trends and prioritise remedial action is a perennial problem… Companies sometimes have reservations about sharing their accident/incident data but in my opinion, the reputation of industry representative organisations is enhanced when they base and prioritise their activities on evidence and evaluation.”

“This project will enable IPAF to build a comprehensive record of known MEWP incidents and store them in one location and in one common format, something which does not exist currently,” said IPAF technical officer Chris Wraith. “Based on the data gathered, IPAF will then be able to analyse and look for common trends, and propose possible actions to further improve and promote the safe use of MEWPs worldwide.”

“Powered access offers one of the safest and most efficient ways to work at height,” noted IPAF CEO Tim Whiteman. “When an accident happens involving a platform, it tends to become a spectacle and grabs the headlines. However, powered access actually accounts for a small percentage of all accidents related to work at height, and this project intends to uncover hard data to support that anecdotal evidence and to inform further safety initiatives.”

The construction industry has one of the highest rates of fatal injuries to workers. In the UK for example, it accounted for 50 of a total of 171 fatal injuries in 2010/2011, according to HSE statistics. Of the reported major non-fatal injuries, the most common involved slipping or tripping (40%) and falls from height (16%). Less is known about the nature of the accidents involving falls from height and the type of equipment involved, which is one aspect that the IPAF initiative seeks to address.

Did an incident involving a MEWP happen at your workplace? Do your bit for safety. Report it at IPAF Incident Database.

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


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