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IPAF identifies four top causes of accidents, and how to prevent them

IPAF identifies four top causes of accidents, and how to prevent them

29 April 2018 Email this article

The International Powered Access Federation (IPAF) has identified four key causes of accidents when working at height using Mobile Elevating Work Platforms (MEWPs) and how to prevent them.

The four key areas identified were:

-       Risky behaviour such as overreaching or leaning out of the platform, climbing on guardrails, tying gates open or overriding safety controls.


-       Exiting at height: To avoid falls from height while using MEWPs, operators should only enter or exit the work platform at access positions at ground level or on the MEWP chassis – apart from during a rescue operation, where it may be necessary to exit the platform and descend by other means.


-       Setting up near other machinery or vehicles: MEWPs are frequently positioned in proximity to moving machinery or alongside vehicular traffic but a collision between a MEWP and a crane, other plant machinery or a road vehicle can be catastrophic. Therefore always restrict movement of machinery and/or traffic near the MEWP.

-       Mechanical failure: To avoid accidents through mechanical failure and to ensure MEWPs are maintained in safe working order – which is the owner’s legal obligation – all MEWP owners should implement a rigorous inspection, maintenance and thorough examination regime. The period and scope of the inspections are stipulated by government legislation and by the MEWP manufacturer will be listed in the MEWP operator’s manual.

Discussing their analysis of the data, the organisation’s Technical & Safety Director, Andrew Delahunt, commented:  “From IPAF’s accident data analysis, we’ve identified four key accident causes that result in falls from the MEWP platform. These accidents can be prevented by proper planning and safely managing the use of MEWPs. We are highlighting these factors so managers and operators know the risks and know their responsibilities.”