Mobile elevating work platforms (MEWPs)

What you need to do

The most significant MEWP dangers arise from operation and use of the machine rather than from their movement as a site vehicle. The law says that these hazards must be properly controlled.

However, a safe workplace for all vehicle operations needs be established by separating pedestrians and vehicles and providing hazard-free traffic routes.

See Traffic management.

Key issues are:

What you need to know

Operators have died when trapped in the MEWP basket or when the machine has overturned. Great care must be taken to select the most appropriate MEWP and ensure that use of the machine is properly planned and managed. Operator instruction and training are very important requirements.

MEWP hazards

Most fatal and serious injuries involving MEWPs arise from:

These hazards should be identified within a risk assessment and suitable control measures put in place.

Controlling the risk

It is important to select the right MEWP for the job and site.

Have a plan for rescuing someone from a MEWP and practise it – someone on the ground should know what to do in an emergency and how to operate the machine's ground controls.

There are a number of precautions that can reduce the risk from MEWP hazards. These are:

Training and competence

MEWP operators should have attended a recognised operator training course and received a certificate, card or 'licence', listing the categories of MEWP the bearer is trained to operate.

The expiry date of the training licence or card should be checked.

In addition to formal training for the type of MEWP, operators should have familiarisation training on the controls and operation of the specific make and model of MEWP they are using.

Inspection, maintenance and examination

A programme of daily visual checks, regular inspections and servicing schedules should be established in accordance with the manufacturer's instructions and the risks associated with each MEWP.

Operators should be encouraged to report defects or problems. Reported problems should be put right quickly and the MEWP taken out of service if the item is safety critical.

The MEWP must be thoroughly examined at least every six months by a competent person or in accordance with an examination scheme drawn up by such a competent person.