Ready for Safe Working at Height with MEWPs-2

15 November, 2018

From the Ground Up:Safe Working at Height with MEWPs (Part-2)

At all work sites potential risks and hazards need to be identified and addressed before anyone use a Mobile Elevating Work Platform (MEWP), such as boom lifts or scissor lifts.

In Part One of this blog, two of Manlift’s leading safety experts – Wim van Meer and Robert Cavaleri – highlighted the importance of the site survey and risk assessment when it comes to safe use of MEWPs. In this concluding article, Wim and Robert outline the additional steps you should consider to minimise risk when using boom lifts or scissor lifts for working at height.

Long before anyone elevates a Mobile Elevating Work Platform (MEWP), all work sites have potential risks and hazards that need to be addressed. A detailed risk assessment should cover these key areas:

Our first part of the blog scrutinises the site survey and risk assessment in detail, along with selecting the correct MEWP. In Part Two, we look at the remaining three bullet points, starting with pre-use inspection.

Pre-use inspection

At the beginning of every shift, a Competent Person must carry out a pre-use inspection of the MEWP. Anyone who holds an IPAF PAL card will have been properly trained in how to conduct a pre-use inspection.

This is a visual and functional walk around, in order to assess the work platform’s condition and ensure that it can be operated safely both at ground level and at height.

The equipment manufacturer outlines the pre-use inspection steps in the operator’s manual, and this is always the best checklist to use, as the manual refers specifically to that machine.

Some examples of what the pre-use inspection will detect are malfunctions, damaged equipment, missing safety material etc.

Examples of what a pre-use inspection might include are:

PPE selection for Safe Working at Height

The risk assessment should provide you with guidance on the most appropriate Personal Protective Equipment (PPE).

However, there is PPE specific to MEWPs, such as personal restraint system in the form of a full body harness, with adjustable restraint lanyard. It is best practice to wear a safety harness when working in any type of boom lift – and in many countries now it is a legal requirement. For avoidance of doubt, a boom-type MEWP is IPAF category 3b. It requires a full body harness with adjustable lanyard.

When using a boom, the safety harness and lanyard should be considered to be part of the equipment, and therefore should form part of the pre-use inspection.

Last-Minute Checks

The final step in this process is the last-minute risk analysis (LMRA) – this is a final, brief risk assessment, carried out by the MEWP operator. LMRA includes the following checks:

If you cannot answer all these questions affirmatively, you should consult your supervisor before commencing any work.

Safety, efficiency and worker welfare are all enhanced by using a Mobile Elevating Work Platform (MEWP) for working at height. At the heart of the Manlift Way lies the best practice in safety; we encourage and help all of our customers to achieve the safest possible conditions while working at height with all kind of MEWPs.