Devices used to reduce operator entrapment and crushing on mobile elevating work platforms

Health and Safety Executive - Safety alert

Department Name:
Field Operations Directorate

Bulletin No:
FOD 3-2014

Issue Date:
May 2014

Target Audience:
Mobile Elevating Work Platform manufacturers, owners (hire companies), users and operators, Agriculture, Construction, Engineering, Entertainment and leisure, Manufacturing (general), Others.

Key Issues:
The selection and use of devices to reduce entrapment and crushing to operators working at the controls of boom type mobile elevating work platforms (MEWPs)

This alert must be read with the two referenced documents


  • This alert advises that covers/shrouds on machine controls do not protect against entrapment of operators between the machine and nearby obstructions.
  • Duty holders are directed to two sources of industry guidance which may be used in assessing and reducing the risk of entrapment/crushing accidents.


  • In 2010 HSE issued an alert to introduce the publication of industry guidance on avoiding entrapment/crushing accidents in mewps; reference 1.
  • Industry has been developing a range of devices which can help reduce the risk of serious entrapment/crushing injuries.  The International Powered Access Federation, IPAF has recently published a document outlining currently available devices to help protect against entrapment/crushing injuries on mewps; reference 2.
  • HSE has reviewed seven fatal accidents in which operators were crushed.  In five of the accidents the operator was crushed between an overhead obstruction and a cover/shroud fitted over the controls of the machine.
  • Covers/shrouds are classified as primary guarding devices designed to reduce
    1. the risk of inadvertent contact with controls and,
    2. the risk of entrapment/crushing accidents caused by the sustained involuntary operation of the machine controls resulting from the operator being pushed onto the controls by an obstruction.
  • HSE acknowledges that it is not possible to conclude that the accidents involving shrouds would have been prevented if those machines had not been fitted with shrouds. Nevertheless HSE wants to share the conclusions of its review with those responsible for the selection of MEWPs (and secondary guarding devices) where there is a risk of entrapment and/or crushing of the operator.

Action required:

  • Duty holders should assess the potential for entrapment/crushing accidents in MEWPs for the specific tasks they are to undertake.  In making the assessment and deciding on appropriate safeguards, they should consider the issues described in reference 1.
  • Where a secondary guarding device (as defined in reference 2) is required, it should be selected for the specific application and its limitations should be clearly understood by those who will be using the machine.
  • Covers/shrouds for machine controls should not be relied upon to reduce the risk of entrapment/crushing more generally.

Relevant legal documents:

  • Management of Health and Safety at Work Regulations 1999
  • Lifting Operations and Lifting Equipment Regulations 1998
  • Provision and Use of Work Equipment Regulations 1998


  1. IPAF Guidance on Secondary Guarding Devices

Further information:

Health and Safety Executive  online advice form.

General note:

Please pass this information to a colleague who may have or use this equipment.

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