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 IPAF - MEWPs the safest way to work at height

IPAF - MEWPs the safest way to work at height

29 August 2015 Email this article

Preliminary fatal injury rate calculations confirm that mobile elevating work platforms (MEWPs) are one of the safest ways to perform temporary work at height, according to a new analysis from the International Powered Access Federation (IPAF).

This latest analysis complements IPAF’s release of the 2014 MEWP-related accident data and indicates that although the total MEWP rental fleet has increased in size, the fatal injury rate has fallen.


Based on the estimated rental fleet size, the average utilisation rate and the average days worked per year, the number of days a rented machine was operated per year was estimated at 168.4 million worldwide for 2013. Taken with the 68 reported MEWP fatalities worldwide in 2013, the fatal injury rate (i.e. the number of fatalities per 100,000 days a rented machine was operated) was estimated at 0.040. For 2014, the number of days a rented machine was operated per year was 182.4 million and the number of reported MEWP fatalities was 64, to give a fatal injury rate of 0.035.

The comparison with fatal injury rates due to falls from height and fatalities at work showed MEWPs to be a safe way to work at height. In the US for example, the MEWP fatal injury rate per 100,000 of the workforce in 2013 (the most recent year for which data is available) was 0.03, whereas the fatal injury rate per 100,000 of the workforce due to falls from height was 0.4 (the number of fatalities due to falls from height involving MEWPs was excluded from this figure) and the fatal injury rate per 100,000 of the workforce due to fatalities of any kind at work was 3.27 (the number of fatalities involving MEWPs was excluded from this figure).

The accident data gathered enables IPAF to improve the content of training programmes, to develop technical guidance, to target specific high-risk professions or activities, and to provide research findings used to influence standards.