IPAF updates its global emergency lowering sticker
The International Powered Access Federation (IPAF) has confirmed it has updated one of its most widely used global safety stickers for use on Mobile Elevating Work Platforms (MEWPs) – launching a redesign of the sticker that is applied to machines to indicate where the auxiliary ground controls are located in case of emergency.
Discussing the change, Andrew Delahunt, IPAF’s Technical & Safety Director, said: “The new design has been developed in consultation with IPAF members and safety experts to provide an easy-to-comprehend and clearly visible reminder to managers or supervisors of MEWP operations of where the lowering controls are in case of the operator in the platform becoming incapacitated.
“The sticker has been subtly improved and continues to be aligned to international safety standards; we urge manufacturers, dealers, distributors, rental companies and owners of MEWP equipment to update the machines in their fleets with this updated sticker at their earliest convenience.
“The sticker was initially developed by IPAF after our CEO Tim Whiteman observed an experienced supervisor had difficulty in finding the emergency lowering controls while carrying out a pre-use inspection. Despite the fact this particular operative had carried out thousands of inspections before, a temporary ‘blind spot’ meant he was forced to consult the owners’ manual in order to find the controls.
“Obviously, any such delay in a situation where a MEWP operator has become incapacitated – for instance in an entrapment incident – is extremely undesirable, so having clearly signed emergency controls labelled so a supervisor or colleague on the ground knows what to do and can step in quickly if the operator is in distress is vital.
“Over the years, IPAF’s emergency lowering controls stickers have become widespread in our industry, and have no doubt been a useful aid in numerous situations where temporary work at height has gone wrong and posed a risk to operator safety.
“IPAF always advises that a clear rescue plan is also in place when using MEWPs, and these will typically involve someone on the ground knowing what to do in case of emergency, and being properly familiarised as to where these auxiliary controls are located.
“Planning ahead for safety is IPAF’s key campaign for 2018-19, and this is certainly one eventuality that should be considered as there is no excuse for an operator to be stranded in a MEWP platform with no-one on the ground that has been shown how to lower the MEWP safely in case of emergency.”