CPCS A26 Mobile Elevating Work Platform – Boom Course

1. Introduction

Although MEWPs are considered as one of the safest means of access, accounting for less than 0.5% of all reported work at height-related injuries, they still present a significant risk to the operator and other personnel associated with the task. With over 25 fatalities involving the use of MEWPs being reported to federal OSHA and state-plan states (Delaney, B., 2004) and many more serious accidents, it is vital to ensure that operators have received adequate training to safely operate the specific type of MEWP to be used, in the context of the task to be undertaken. Moreover, correct planning and selection of the most suitable type of MEWP will further mitigate risk.

Mobile elevating work platforms (MEWPs) provide a safe means of access to carry out work at height. When selecting the correct MEWP for the task, there are several considerations to build into the planning phase, including whether the task requires vertical or horizontal outreach, what the capacity of the platform should be, and materials that will need to be transferred to and from the work area. When any work is being carried out at height, it is essential that it is planned properly to ensure that the most suitable equipment is chosen.

The Mobile Elevating Work Platform – Boom course delivers a minimum of 7 hours of both practical and theory elements and provides the candidate with the necessary basic knowledge and practical skills to operate Mobile Elevating Work Platforms (MEWPs) safely and effectively. This course is aimed at personnel who will be responsible for overseeing the work of operatives.

1.1. Course Overview

Introduction to Mobile Elevating Work Platforms (MEWPs) – types and uses, purpose and importance of pre-use checks and basic maintenance, hazards of use, dealing with and preventing unauthorized use of MEWPs, familiarization with the equipment and basic operational knowledge, shutdown and securing procedures, the production of a safe method of work, and how to assess and manage risk. The CPCS-A26 course examines and instructs an operator to prepare and safely operate a MEWP in a specific job. Thanks to a combination of experienced, expert instructors and a comprehensive theory and practical training package, this course offers a high-quality learning experience for existing and prospective operators. The content of this course is for any personnel who work with or will be required to use Mobile Elevating Work Platforms (MEWPs). This course will give them the understanding and knowledge of operating and safety procedures in using a MEWP. This will result in operators safely preparing and operating a MEWP and its systems for a particular job.

1.2. Importance of Mobile Elevating Work Platforms (MEWPs)

MEWPs provide the safest way of performing temporary work at height. In 2011, falls from height were the most common cause of fatal injury, accounting for 29% of all fatal incidents. It is estimated that using MEWPs can be up to 6 times safer than using step ladders and 14 times safer than using scaffold towers – providing the right machine is selected and it is used correctly. Using MEWPs can also eliminate the need for work at height using more hazardous methods, and can reduce the risk of manual handling injuries by providing powered access to the work. With an increasing focus being put on the Work at Height Regulations 2005, it is clear that using MEWPs can help businesses to conform to these regulations and improve safety when working at height.

Mobile Elevating Work Platforms (MEWPs – formerly Aerial Work Platforms – AWPs) are versatile pieces of mobile equipment and are used in a wide range of industries. As their worldwide use increases, it is more important now than ever to ensure that personnel using MEWPs are trained to the highest standard and are aware of the hazards involved. MEWPs are used in a variety of applications; from window cleaning to construction; telecommunications to maintenance; and bridge building to aircraft maintenance. Whatever the industry, it is crucial that the most appropriate MEWP is selected to carry out the work to ensure tasks are completed safely and efficiently.

1.3. Safety Considerations

Always position the machine so that if platform controls are inoperative, someone can lower or stop the machine from ground level. The risk of entrapment or crushing injuries can be reduced by taking a few simple precautions. An operator should wear a full-body harness attached to the machine’s anchor point with a short lanyard. This prevents the risk of being catapulted out of the platform and a high fall. An effective way to prevent a possible drop or crush from overhead working is to erect a physical barrier around the work area using the machine’s guardrails.

Static boom-type machines are awkward to get close to the work area, and it is often tempting to reach too far. The operator must resist this and always reposition the machine closer to the work area; consider that it can be a lot farther down than it looks. Over-reaching is the main cause of overturning the machine and has resulted in many serious and fatal injuries to the operator.

Operator training is an essential part of the safe use of MEWPs. Operators should be suitably trained and familiarized in the type of machine they are using. It is important to ensure that the training is given by a recognized training provider, the IPAF training categories provide an industry-established minimum standard of training. Never operate a machine that you have not been trained to operate.

Safety for the operator is the primary concern for any operations and maintenance tasks. Great consideration should be given to the robust nature of Mobile Elevating Work Platforms (MEWPs) as they are designed and built to be strong, reliable, and safe. However, they are only as safe as the people who use them. With its heavy base and weight high in the air, it is possible to overturn the machine if it is not used correctly, and quite often this will result in serious or fatal injury to the operator or a ground worker.

2. Types and Components of MEWPs

MEWPs may also be compact in size or self-propelled scissor lifts or booms and trailer-mounted. The compact or narrower models are often used when access is restricted such as working inside buildings. Trailer-mounted machines are typically used outdoors on smooth ground and have outriggers to stabilize them when the work platform is raised. Smaller AWPs are often driven and maneuvered by the operator whilst the larger types are usually truck-mounted and transportation is required. An operator may be required to assemble and dismantle the machine for transportation and a separate banksman may direct the operator when the machine is driven.

The two main types of MEWP still have a common principle. They are both based on mobile machines, designed to lift personnel and equipment to a specific height. This is where they differ from the traditional methods of access such as ladders and scaffolding, by being able to offer a safe and efficient way of working at height. Work is carried out from the work platform which is enclosed and typically equipped with a guard rail to prevent the operator and his tools from falling off. The key distinction between the two types of MEWP is the type of access to the work platform (i.e. how the operator and his tools are lifted to the work height).

2.1. Boom Lifts

A boom consists of a horizontal or near-horizontal platform which is mounted above the wheel of the vehicle and which can be raised and lowered vertically and/or moved so as to give access to the platform from the ground. The platform is usually equipped with controls for the operator, and some models have a remote control which allows for the platform to be moved from the ground. Boom lifts are designed for temporary access and can be operated on smooth or rough terrain provided that stabilizers are deployed.

Boom lifts are powered by an internal and/or external power source, including diesel fuel, and are propelled by an electric or internal combustion engine. Electrically powered units are best suited for use indoors or in other areas where fumes may be a problem, although they can be used outside in good weather. The boom lift is especially useful for applications where workers must carry materials from the ground to the platform to the work area. With a variety of attachments available, such as buckets and platforms, the boom lift is a versatile piece of equipment.

2.1.1. Articulating Boom Lifts

2.1.2. Telescopic Boom Lifts

2.2. Scissor Lifts

The use of safety demolition devices, when applied to mobile elevating work platforms, has for a long time been a grey area in terms of compliance with other machine directives and national law. This is because there are many definitions of the attachment application. Many have been classified in the past as non-type related accessories due to the fact that they would be connected to an additional carriage and intended for use on industrial lift trucks or forklift trucks. This would require satisfactory assessment and testing by the attachment manufacturer and/or distributor. Safety devices intended to be type approved require the machine to be reclassified as a machine system, and the device would be part of the machine-supplied control. This should avoid conflicting with requirements of other directives, such as the use of safety-related control systems parts of the machinery directive. Devices used for enhancing the safety of the operator and persons in the vicinity of the machine should comply with the requirement of risk assessment, justification of safety level achieved category of final control device, and functional safety of the safety control system or components relative to the risk reduction of the device, including consideration of common cause failures. Safety demolition devices are specific to the intended task and have the potential risk of overturn, uncontrolled movement, or impact when combined with unsuitable machine and operator behavior. This is cause for considering enhancement of scissor lift safety requirements in ISO 16368 or design and manufacture of a different, more suitable MEWP.

EN 280 requires manufacturers of MEWPs to assess foreseeable risks when the machine is in use and protect against identified hazards by design and construction or selection of safety components incorporating fail-safe principles. Maintenance of functional safety of safety components is an essential requirement for achieving the required risk reduction.

Unlike boom lifts, which have single articulated or telescopic extendable booms, these include requirements for the size and position of load platforms. The static load requirement for lift platforms attached to multi-functional work platforms is overrated by the relevant requirements of EN 280, which define a calculation process to ensure that load platforms attached to multi-functional work platforms are of a suitable size to carry out intended tasks. This requirement has been included because some manufacturers claim their load platforms are for personal use only to avoid higher risk and type rating categories. This is aimed at preventing improper use of load platforms as working areas for persons other than the machine operator.

2.2.1. Electric Scissor Lifts

2.2.2. Rough Terrain Scissor Lifts

3. Pre-Operation Inspection

This means that any platform over 2.5 meters must not be used unless a “report of thorough examination” has been issued for it. 648-2006. The Lifting Operations and Lifting Equipment Regulations 1998 (LOLER) require that all MEWPs are subject to thorough examination every 6 months; 12 months for mobile units on a known site and that they must be maintained in good condition between examinations. This means that there should be a regular interval for the pre-inspection checks. States of equipment must be in good condition, chest he cannot put price on health and safety. According to PUWER, equipment provided for “lifting persons” is required to have safeties to prevent the risk of electric shock, crush or collision, mechanical failure, excessive movement and failing of the support system. MEWPs are designed to have power to complete the tasks with ease and speed but this does not mean that it is always done so, some controls may erratic when worn or be caught during operation. A quick visual on the label and the examining of the functions of the solenoids will determine the condition of the control system. Any solenoid that is stuck for more than 2 seconds will require replacement. A wire link check across the platform control box to the base controls should always be done to ensure that this method is capable if tacking done any from the machine. Any defect with any of the items in this section mean that this machine does not comply with regulation 10 and will be classed as unsafe to use. The PUWER regulation is set to ensure that all work equipment is well built and safe to use at all times and that all problems are correctable.

3.1. Checking the Controls and Safety Devices

Start by checking the condition of all the controls and the operation of the controls from the platform and ground. Ensure all decals, data plates, and instruction manuals are legible and in place. Check the condition of the control panel. Check that all controls are identified and that the function of the controls is clearly understood. Check that all foot and hand controls are protected from accidental operation or contact. Test all emergency and lowering controls to ensure they are functioning correctly. Check electrical control systems to ensure they are not damaged and are insulated from the machine frame. Check the function of the overload alarm (if fitted). Next, thoroughly check that all safety devices are in place and able to perform correctly. Check the function of the positive action leveling controls, interlocks, and visual/audible out of level warning device to ensure they are functioning correctly. Inspect the platform entry gates (if fitted) to ensure they open and close and latch effectively and are damage-free. Inspect platform controls to ensure they are protected from accidental operation and are functioning correctly.

3.2. Inspecting the Platform and Guardrails

The platform must be inspected by the operator before each use. Any damage, no matter how slight, can lead to a failure resulting in personal injury or death. Any damage must be recorded and the platform taken out of service and a competent person consulted to ascertain whether a manufacturer’s inspection is required. The platform floor should be checked for any dents, bulges, or deformation of the decking and the guardrails for any damage or bending. All chains or swing gates should be complete with both hooks and in a serviceable condition. Step boards and mid rails should also be checked for security and condition. If the platform is of the type with extensible sections, the latching devices for these must be used and checked that they are in good condition. The guardrails are a primary means of protection for the platform occupants, so it is essential that they are in good condition and free from any damage. To ensure stability, spreader plates should be examined for deformation and the guardrail post locate holes and pins or welds inspected. Screws and bolts must be secure and in good condition, and the guardrail socket tightness inspected. Any guardrail components damaged in a collision should be replaced in full, and guardrail structures which have been struck by a vehicle or suffered an overload which may have affected structural integrity should be thoroughly inspected by a competent person. Conclusion: In summary, inspection makes a vital contribution to the safe operation of MEWP’s. It is not a replacement for proper training and supervision but will identify defects which may affect safe operation and comes under the legal requirement to work and use any plant, machinery, and equipment in a safe manner so as not to affect the safety of persons or property. This will also satisfy a requirement of the use of MEWP’s in many commercial workplaces as a condition of insurance.

3.3. Assessing the Stability and Tires

When checking the stability of the machine, it is important to park the machine on level ground to ensure that it will be stable when elevated and that there is no risk of overturning the machine. Once you have found a suitable area to carry out this inspection, lower the boom and drive the machine slowly until the tire is situated on top of a board. Measure the distance from the board to the center of the hubcap to calculate the percentage of the machine’s weight that it is capable of supporting. If the tire leaves the ground before 75% of the machine’s weight is on the board, adjust the inflation or possibly replace the tire in extreme cases. It is important to check tire pressures regularly to ensure that the machine is not a stability risk. Incorrectly inflated tires can make the machine unstable when…

4. Safe Operation Procedures

Proper use of safety harnesses Safety harnesses are used to protect workers from falling when working from a boom-type MEWP. Where a risk assessment has identified that control measures are required (e.g. guard rails are not adequate), the preference is to eliminate the risk by doing the work from a suitable work platform at ground level. If this is not reasonably practicable and fall protection is the control measure for work within the harness protection zone (HPZ), the following precautions should be taken to ensure safe use of safety harnesses. Only full body harnesses incorporating a means of attaching a lanyard are acceptable for use in a MEWP. Waist belts should not be used. The anchor point for the lanyard must be directly above the platform in order to minimize the pendulum effect in the event of a fall. An adjustable lanyard is required to ensure that the length is set so that the distance of any fall is minimized.

Setting up the MEWP Ensure that the ground conditions are suitable to provide a stable base; outriggers or spreader pads are used on a firm, level surface or for fragile ground conditions following the manufacturer’s instructions. Ground bearing capacities are adequate to support the machine. Overhead obstructions are considered, taking into account the machine height and the task to be performed at elevation. Assess the area around the machine for pedestrian and vehicular traffic; consider excluding or separating other mobile plant where possible.

4.1. Setting Up the MEWP

The first step in setting up any MEWP is to read and understand the manufacturer’s operating manuals and any specific information relating to the site. Many accidents occur due to the operator’s unfamiliarity with the equipment and lack of preparation before operating the MEWP. By avoiding these pitfalls, the likelihood of an incident or injury when setting up and operating the MEWP can be significantly reduced. Further guidance can be found in HSE’s ‘5 steps to risk assessment’. When planning the use of a MEWP, the main goal is to provide a solid and stable base on which the machine can work. The weight of the MEWP, including any occupants, tools, and materials on board, must be evenly distributed. When determining whether the ground or floor can support the wheel or outrigger loadings, the MEWP’s user should check the point loading with the owner or person responsible for the ground/floor. If the load might damage the supporting surface, a more even distribution of weight or the use of a different MEWP should be considered. Outriggers, for which typical loads are 2-10 tonnes, provide a stable base on which a mobile elevating platform can operate on uneven or sloping ground. This will maximize the safety and stability of the machine. The use of spreader pads can further protect softer or loose surfaces such as grass or earth. When considering the gradient, slope, or incline of the working area, the user should refer to the manufacturer’s guidelines which might specify a maximum angle or safe working gradient for their machine. High winds can also be a hazard when operating a MEWP; an anemometer can be used to measure wind speed and specific guidelines will advise at what wind speed the machine should not operate.

4.2. Proper Use of Safety Harnesses

A full body harness is attached to the platform at all times via an approved short lanyard, to reduce the risk of being catapulted out of the basket in the event of an overturn. It is primarily designed to keep the wearer inside the basket in the event of an impact and is a secondary form of protection after the guard rails have absorbed the force of impact. The lanyard is short to minimize the risk of being ejected from the basket or entanglement with the surrounding hazards. It is crucial that, if it has not been covered already, candidates are fully trained in the correct fitting of a full body harness prior to this module. If it is likely that the user will need to exit the platform while it is in its working position and it is not practical for them to re-enter from underneath, the user should use a work restraint system. This allows the user to be securely attached to a lanyard inside the cage, preventing the risk of falling. This is more commonly used on smaller machines or where the cage is a long distance from the ground. This situation should be avoided wherever possible. Work restraint cannot be considered as a form of fall arrest, and it is crucial that the embarkation and disembarkation procedures are risk assessed, and avoidance measures are put in place. If there is a possibility that a step/tile/ladder might be the only way to access the work area, collective protection solutions like Mobile Man Anchor or an Easi-dec system should be considered which eliminate the risk of a fall from height.

4.3. Maneuvering and Positioning the MEWP

Moving a MEWP in an elevated position is hazardous, as the operator’s perception of the ground or floor level is often distorted. The operator shall not move the machine when the platform is occupied unless this is an emergency situation and it is the only means of evacuating the platform occupants to ground level safely. If there is no safe means of evacuating the platform occupants to ground level safely, they must be evacuated to a place of safety provided that this does not increase the risk to their safety. The risks associated with the movement of the machine with the platform occupied should be assessed using a risk assessment. If the assessment identifies any risk to the platform occupants’ safety, alternative means of moving the machine without the platform occupied should be considered. If there is no alternative method of moving the machine without the platform occupied, the risks to the occupants should be reduced and controlled so far as is reasonably practicable. If the risks cannot be adequately controlled, the work should not be carried out. (see definitions for platform occupant and reasonably practicable).

5. Working at Height

The final precautions to be taken for personnel working in the basket are to prevent the risk of a dropped object. This can be achieved by ensuring that all tools and equipment are securely attached to the platform and by following the manufacturer’s guidelines for safe working loads if equipment is to be stowed on the platform floor. Maintenance of the platform and accessories should be carried out to prevent deterioration caused by adverse weather conditions. Regular cleaning, drying, and lubricating will prevent corrosion and ensure that components are kept in a serviceable condition.

If fall restraint is not possible, then an assessment must be made to determine if collective fall protection (safety nets, soft landing systems, etc.) can be used. Only when this is not reasonably practicable should a personal fall protection system be used. If it is possible that a fall could occur from the basket, then a rescue plan must be put in place. This involves having the necessary equipment, personnel, and procedures in place to effect a prompt and safe rescue.

Height is a relative concept; an elevation of two metres may not be considered high, but the consequences of a fall from this height could result in serious injury. For this reason, the concepts of fall restraint and fall arrest are introduced. Fall restraint is always the preferred option as it prevents the operator from reaching a position where a fall could occur. If there is no risk of a fall, then no other control measures are required.

The various tasks involved with operating a boom type MEWP have been covered in previous sections, and although not stating specifically that these tasks take place at height, it is an obvious conclusion. This section focuses on the additional hazards that working at height brings and the control measures to be applied.

5.1. Fall Protection Measures

It is not always practical to totally prevent a fall when working at height. Therefore, it is important to have a means of protecting those who are at risk of a fall. Consideration should be given to collective protection (e.g. guardrails) and the correct type of work positioning or fall arrest system. When selecting work equipment for work at height, the hierarchy of controls in the Work at Height Regulations should be applied. Active collective protection measures to provide a physical barrier between people and the edge should be the first consideration. Use of an elevating work platform with guardrails would satisfy this, the highest risk control measure. When selecting MEWPs with control measure requiring MEWPs with control measures when selecting MEWPs with control measures when selecting MEWPs with control measures when selecting MEWPs with control measures when selecting MEWPs with control measures when selecting MEWPs with control measures when selecting MEWPs with control measures when selecting MEWPs with control measure requiring MEWPs with control measure requiring MEWPs with control measure requiring MEWPs with control measure requiring MEWPs with control measure requiring MEWPs with control measure requiring MEWP, only consider using types where collective protection is possible. If it is not feasible to use collective protection, equipment providing personal protection will be necessary. This will entail detailed risk assessment but would usually mean using a boom type platform with an inertia reel or other fall arrest device allowing secure anchorage to the chassis. The work to replace a light fitting would be a good example of the selection of access equipment and the choice between collective and personal protection measures. A window cleaner using rope access techniques is an example of the type of work where the primary consideration will be the provision of personal protection and fall arrest. High risk-low frequency tasks like this will often require a rescue plan, the effectiveness of which may well influence the method of access and fall protection chosen.

5.2. Securely Attaching Tools and Equipment

To avoid dangers described above, all tools and equipment being used whilst operating the elevating platform should have suitable means of attachment. Tools and equipment carried on the platform can be attached by lanyards or similar means on to attachment points to prevent risk of falling. This could eliminate the risk if a second hand hold is not possible when using fall arrest equipment. Where it is not possible to secure tools and fixings to prevent them falling, an exclusion zone should be created beneath the work area. This will prevent injury to persons below and reduce the risk of equipment falling from the platform. Regular checks should be made to ensure that all tools and equipment are still securely attached and that no damage has occurred to the attachments points. Any damaged or unsafe equipment should be removed from service immediately.

5.3. Dealing with Adverse Weather Conditions

If it is essential to work, the manufacturer’s instructions should be followed so far as is reasonably practicable to identify the limitations of the MEWP when adverse weather is encountered and any additional precautions specific to that type of machine should be taken. An assessment of the severity of the weather conditions against the type of work being carried out should be made to establish whether the work can be completed safely. In certain atmospheric conditions, an employer’s duty to his employees or others working near the MEWP may best be satisfied by ceasing activities at height. This will be the case in particular with electrical storms where there is a risk of a lightning strike.

Consideration should be given to postponing any planned work at height during bad weather unless it is essential. If this is not possible, then all necessary precautions and additional measures should be taken to ensure that work can be carried out safely. When the adverse conditions are a temporary or fleeting event, the platform can be returned, in some circumstances, to its transport position and the gates can be re-installed if the ground conditions have not deteriorated to the point where this would be unsafe.

Bad weather causes hazards of its own and reduces the effectiveness and safety of working at height. This is particularly relevant when using boom type MEWPs due to their limitations in accessing or leaving a work area expediently. Inspections should be made in advance of bad weather to ensure that working at height will be safe and to decide if any special precautions need to be taken, such as an alternative means of access to or from a work area.

6. Emergency Response and Rescue

At high level, the preferred method of evacuation will be to another equal or higher adjacent surface and then a controlled step across and onto the surface of the higher level. If there is no adjacent suitable surface, the MEWP should be lowered to a position where a controlled emergency dismount to ground level can be achieved. During these processes, it may be necessary to use fall arrest methods techniques till personnel are in a safe position. All techniques and methods of evacuation should be simulated in a controlled environment on the ground with the actual machine and its controls, but always ensuring safe ground or lower level.

Evacuation techniques It is essential that all operators and ground support personnel have a clear understanding of how to safely evacuate the MEWP platform at the first sign of an emergency of any kind. A rescue plan needs to be pre-planned with the rescue from a MEWP taking into consideration the abilities and resources of the available rescue personnel to carry out a successful and timely rescue. Evacuation should be considered in preference to attempting to shutdown the machine in an emergency situation that poses a risk to personnel.

Emergency shutdown procedures This unit has clarified that emergency shutdown procedures on MEWP are not specifically defined. Shutdown procedures that apply generally to any machine, high or low level, are not considered different for a MEWP. Reasons for shutdown in an emergency situation might be power failure, threat of impact from other plant, or an instinctive reaction in response to sudden and unexpected movement of the machine. Recommendations are that operators need to use their initiative and best judgment.

6.1. Emergency Shutdown Procedures

If the MEWP is in a hazardous position, i.e. it is a potential danger to personnel or property, then the machine should be switched off immediately and the area around the machine should be cordoned off to prevent access by unauthorized persons. The site supervisor or responsible manager should be informed of the situation, and a risk assessment for the recovery of the machine should be carried out. The purpose of the risk assessment is to establish the safest means of recovery with the minimum risk to personnel. This may involve the use of another elevated platform to access the machine and lower the platform in a controlled manner, or it may involve the use of a crane to recover the machine to ground level. High-risk or complex recovery operations may require the services of a specialist recovery contractor. Under no circumstances should unauthorized personnel attempt to climb the machine or interfere with the recovery process. A detailed record of the recovery operation should be kept for future reference.

If the MEWP is not in a hazardous position, it should be returned to a safe area. The operator should attempt to lower the platform using both the ground controls and the auxiliary lowering system, and then turn the machine off. Remember to refer to the operator’s manual for the correct emergency lowering procedures.

6.2. Evacuation Techniques

It may be required to lower the platform to retrieve equipment or load from an area first (providing the load does not constitute a risk to health and safety), and it may be decided that it is more appropriate for a specialist contractor to carry out certain tasks. All plans and actions should be reviewed regularly and modified if circumstances change.

Evacuation may be considered in two parts: self-evacuation, whereby a person is able to lower themselves to a place of safety, and evacuation where assistance is required from others. Those being asked to assist should be trained and physically capable of carrying out the task. They should always ensure that their actions do not put themselves or the casualty at further risk. The decision to go to the aid of someone may have to be delayed or postponed if the situation is considered too hazardous. Things can be replaced, people can’t!

Evacuation can be a risky and complex task for persons working from elevated work platforms. The risks and methodologies can vary due to the type of platform and its height, complexities of the site, the access/egress to the work area, and the medical conditions of those needing assistance. It is essential that preplanning is carried out with respect to rescue and evacuation as part of the overall risk assessment process.

6.3. First Aid and CPR

Following a thorough risk assessment, the possibility of a MEWP operator sustaining injuries severe enough to require first aid may seem unlikely. It must be remembered that accidents can happen and the operator may not be the only person injured. Instances have occurred where an operator has had to administer first aid to others while awaiting assistance. Therefore, it is essential to have at least one person trained in first aid and CPR to be readily available whenever the machine is in use. In such circumstances, it is imperative that those administering first aid are mindful of their own safety as well as that of the casualty. They must be familiar with the type of injury that has occurred and be able to give precise details of the incident and casualty to emergency services. In scenarios where the casualty is a machine operator who has fallen from the platform, the rescuer must be able to extract the operator from the ground safely and be aware of the implications of moving the casualty before beginning any first aid.

7. Maintenance and Inspections

Check for loose or missing bolts, nuts, or fasteners Inspect safety devices and emergency stop buttons Check for proper functioning of lights and alarms Inspect the condition of the platform and guardrails Check the condition of the harnesses and lanyards Inspect the condition of the power cord and plug (if applicable) Check the condition of the hydraulic hoses and fittings Inspect the condition of the outriggers or stabilizers Check the condition of the battery and charging system (if applicable) Inspect the condition of the boom, mast, and other structural components Check the condition of the safety decals and warning labels Inspect the condition of the fire extinguisher (if applicable) Check the condition of the operator’s manual and other documentation Ensure that all necessary tools and equipment are present and in good condition Record any defects or issues found during the inspection Report any defects or issues to the appropriate personnel for action.

7.1. Daily and Weekly Maintenance Tasks

This section will explain the methods and your responsibilities for daily and weekly maintenance on the machine. Maintenance is a means to an end. It ensures the MEWP is safe to use and it prolongs the life of the machine. Ensuring the MEWP is washed down and cleaned on a regular basis will help with the identification of damage or faults. The first and most important task you must do is to read the operator’s manual. The operator’s manual contains all relevant information for safe and proper use of the machine, this includes procedures and what type of maintenance the machine requires. All manuals can be obtained from the MEWP manufacturer or supplier. Failure to follow the exact maintenance instructions from the manufacturer could result in making the machine unsafe and possibly making the machine or public property damaged. This in turn may result in legal action against the machine operator, owner or the company using the machine. All tasks are under the assumption that you are working from the ground; anything over and above would require a competent trained person to carry out the inspection/cleaning task. Companion to this section is a daily/weekly inspection checklist where for each item requiring maintenance or inspection there is a reference to the page in the operator’s manual. High Pressure Hydraulic Hose: at the end of the working day, wipe the hose clean of any fluid. This makes it easier to detect the source of any leaks. Any very high pressure systems/functions require specialist knowledge and tools for maintenance, it is recommended that maintenance of these systems is carried out by the dealer or a specialist in that particular system.

7.2. Periodic Inspections and Servicing

3. Periodic Inspections. These are a complete and thorough examination of the MEWP and its systems. At this level, inspection work involves occasional dismantling or removal of items to gain access for inspection. This type of inspection is recommended to be not less than every 6 months. The extent and scope of periodic inspection activities need to be identified by a risk assessment for the inspection tasks. This should include specific procedures, inspection tasks, an assessment of risks associated with the task, and the risk control measures.

2. Frequent Inspections. These should be carried out every week or month, depending upon the level of usage of the machine and the operating environment. Inspections should be focused on parts and functions of the machine that are critical to safety and should be designed to detect any condition that could lead to a functional failure or a hazardous situation. Where possible, items to be checked should be grouped together to reduce disruption to machine availability. Examples of inspection items include checking steering functions, checking lift and lower functions and platform controls, chassis and turntable swivel locks.

1. Daily Maintenance Tasks should already cover the first type of inspection, so some points may be repeated.

The manufacturer will provide a schedule of all required inspections and servicing for the mobile elevating work platform that the user can refer to within the operator’s manual. A more detailed schedule of inspections and servicing should be generated and included within the user’s site-specific safe operating procedures. Inspections and servicing should be carried out by a competent person and can be divided into 3 types:

7.3. Record Keeping and Documentation

A record keeping system for all inspections and maintenance on MEWPs is essential. Records should include details of the examinations and the work carried out, including repairs and replacement parts. Specific details of the total working hours and the number of hours spent on travel should be recorded. These records will provide guidance on when maintenance and inspections should be carried out, considering the type of work the machine has been involved with and the environment it has been exposed to. It will also facilitate the early identification of any significant trends which may develop, for example high usage rates of particular parts or changes in the rate of deterioration of specific components. This will also provide an early indicator of the developing need for possible repair or replacement of items. Records of examinations should be stored until the next examination is carried out. Records of examinations and maintenance carried out to meet the requirements of thorough examination and maintenance as per PUWER 98 should be stored for the working life of the MEWP and for at least two years afterwards in order to establish the reliability of the examination scheme.

8. Regulations and Standards

Health and safety legislation applies to all industries, including Mobile Elevating Work Platforms (MEWPs). Legal requirements may differ depending on the industry operation or the type of work being carried out. Laws may also apply to the design and manufacture of MEWPs to ensure that they are safe to use. In the UK and Ireland, the use of MEWPs is covered by the Health and Safety at Work Act and the Provision and Use of Work Equipment Regulations (PUWER). PUWER essentially requires that equipment provided for use at work is suitable for its intended use, safe and maintained in a safe condition. When considering the use of a MEWP, it is essential to consider the suitability and positioning of anchor points for PPE lanyards etc, and whether the work will require working inside the platform. This will bring into account the need to prevent falls from the platform, covered by the Work at Height Regulations. Regulations will also cover damage to property and the environment. Furthermore, the selection, installation, inspection and use of fall protection equipment may be covered by the Construction (Health, Safety and Welfare) Regulations. Other regulations may include specific requirements for working in the utilities sector, or requirements for road towable machines. Always ensure that you are familiar with the relevant legislation and consult a legal advisor if necessary.

8.1. Health and Safety Legislation

MEWPS provide a safe way of working at height in comparison to other methods, and because of this, there is legislation specific to the design and use of MEWPS. Steps are continually being taken to improve and develop legislation surrounding work at height, and because of this, it is something that an operative must strive to keep up to date with.

Mobile elevating work platforms are designed for people to work at height, and because of this, a lot of its use is encompassed by general regulation surrounding work at height. Work at height is a high-risk activity and a significant cause of fatalities and serious injuries in the workplace. The rules and regulations developed around work at height are designed to keep workers as safe as possible when working at height, using equipment which is designed to eliminate risk where possible.

Legislation is a system of rules and guidelines that are enforced through social institutions to govern behavior. Legislation is constantly being developed by government organizations as new technologies and practices develop over time. Legislation affects the way we work in powered access in various ways. For example, the implementation of LOLER and PUWER regulations has led to improved safety of the machines themselves and also the work practices associated with them.

8.2. Industry Best Practices

Operators of mobile elevating work platforms should be aware of industry initiatives aimed at improving safety. This includes the Strategic Forum for Construction Plant Safety Group and its guidance documents. These also include the UKCG Plant Safety Group Guidance which was published in 2014, and the work of the IPAF and its various guidance documents and technical guidance notes, all of which are designed to get safety messages to the industry. This also covers accident and near miss reporting systems, data which is analysed and used to improve safety and devise means to reduce the risk of incidents occurring. The Strategic Forum and IPAF Best Practice Guides are widely recognised and referred to in the industry and should be seen as a valuable source of safety information for the purpose of carrying out an established safe system of work. A good example of this would be a decision to select a mobile elevating work platform with an increased safety specification, for certain companies this could mean the selection of platforms that complete a certain function without the need for an operative to be working at height, in the vicinity of where the work is being carried out. This is acknowledged as the best control measure to reduce risk involved in work at height. With so many machine variations to carry out the same task it is often considered difficult to select the most appropriate equipment. These decisions are governed by what is known as the hierarchy of control, an established principle to determine the most effective ways of reducing risk to an acceptable level. Again this is something widely referred to in the industry and the documentation is available from the Health and Safety Executive. Failure to implement safe work systems and selecting the most appropriate equipment can often lead to higher risk work methods being employed. IPAF has also conducted a great deal of work on this subject and produced technical guidance notes to assist machine users and their managers to understand and select the most appropriate MEWP and best methods of using them. At the same time, the development of both new and existing operators is crucial to the safe operation of mobile elevating work platforms. This includes the operators themselves, and machine controllers and supervisors. These employers have a duty to ensure that operators are competent and this is covered by the various regulations and standards mentioned earlier. Regular documented safety training is deemed an essential method for maintaining operator competency and a good training centre or internal training programme can enhance operator skills and safety awareness. The IPAF training programme has become an industry standard and anyone using or managing MEWPs is advised to enrol their operators on a suitable course.

8.3. CPCS Certification Requirements

It is the candidates’ responsibility to register for CITB-CPCS technical tests within two years from the gaining of the CITB-CPCS trained operator card, either through the CPCS renewal test or NVQ. The CPCS renewal test should be taken before the CPCS trained operator card expires to enable the trained operator to continue to renew the card after taking the renewal test. Please note that if the CITB-CPCS trained operator card has expired, the candidate will need to achieve the NVQ to regain the CPCS card. It is recommended that the candidate undertakes and achieves the NVQ within the two-year period from achieving the CPCS trained operator card to make revalidation of the CPCS card simpler. To achieve the NVQ, the candidate must contact an approved CPCS test centre. They will set the candidate up on the CPCS database that will enable them to access the CPCS play and download the relevant NVQ log book here. The NVQ log book will state the units of competence that candidates must achieve through an assessment. The candidate must then arrange with the test centre to carry out a workplace assessment. This will involve the assessor observing the candidates’ daily activities in the workplace and asking questions to confirm the candidates’ knowledge and understanding of plant operations. This process usually takes 3-6 months to complete. Once the assessor feels that the candidate is competent with the units of competence, they will notify the test centre and the candidate will then be eligible to take the CPCS technical tests. The log book will state the type of plant and level that the candidate is to be assessed on, ensuring that the candidate takes the correct tests. A commonly asked question is if there is funding available for the NVQ. From 1st April 2012, grant funding will no longer be available to support NVQ/SVQ achievement for Construction-related occupations. This will therefore have an impact on the achievement of CPCS Competence level and the NVQ.venir into force in Autumn 2012.