Inspection and maintenance 'key to avoiding fatalities', says IPAF
Fatalities when working with Mobile Elevating Work Platforms (MEWPs) can be prevented with rigorous inspection and maintenance regimes, according to IPAF.
This comes after a rental company manager was jailed for two years over safety failings that led to the death of one construction worker and seriously injured another.
Donald Craig, 57, of Hamilton-based Craig Services & Access Limited, was found guilty of a breach of health and safety legislation and sentenced to the maximum penalty of two years imprisonment at Airdrie Sheriff Court, over an accident in 2012 in which Gary Currie, a safety net rigger, and Alexander Nisbet, a self-employed operator, were in the basket of a platform removing netting from the facade of the Buchanan House office in Glasgow when a boom section buckled, causing the basket to fall 28 metres to the ground. Alexander Nisbet was seriously injured and Gary Currie suffered fatal injuries.
Chris Wraith, IPAF Technical & Safety Executive, said: “This case was especially upsetting as in the view of both the HSE and the courts the incident was entirely preventable. IPAF cannot emphasise strongly enough the importance of maintaining a rigorous inspection, maintenance and thorough examination regime to any rental company or regular owner-operator of this type of equipment, in order to ensure defects are quickly identified and reported and that proper repairs are made to prevent mechanical failures, which can have tragic and far-reaching consequences.
“MEWPs are generally one of the safest options for temporary access to work at height, but this case serves to highlight why IPAF is in constant and ongoing consultation across the industry to ensure the technical and safety guidance is right for rental companies and operators alike. IPAF has been closely involved in the drafting of new inspection maintenance and thorough examination guidance. The new guidance was initiated through the UK strategic forum for plant safety at the request of the HSE; IPAF has been the technical author of the document which is due for publication in the next two to three months.”