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June 14, 2010

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Advice on the safe use of MEWPs

Anyone operating a mobile elevating work platform (MEWP) should be trained in how to operate the device, and there should be a detailed rescue plan in place, according to powered access rental firm AFI-Uplift.

These were two of the key areas covered in a series of seminars held by the firm in Solihull, West Midlands; Waltham Abbey, Essex; and Stockport, Cheshire. All drew large numbers of managers and operators who were keen to learn more about the efficient use of MEWPs.

AFI launched the seminars just weeks after its chairman, David Shipman, addressed the International Powered Access Federation (IPAF) Summit in London, and called for the industry to do more to promote the safety benefits of powered access.

AFI assembled a number of seminar speakers, including HSE principal construction inspector, Joy Jones, and senior representatives of IPAF. Subjects covered included working at height legislation, the advantages of MEWPs, management responsibilities, powered access training and best practice. There were also demonstrations of booms and scissor lifts.

Jones believes that MEWPs are playing a major role in reducing fall from height accidents, although entrapment was still a big issue – between 2003 and 2009 seven people were killed as a result of being trapped between a MEWP and another structure. She Said: “For every fatal accident there are a huge number of near misses – we must learn from every near miss and do something positive in response.”

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