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January 11, 2012

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New incident database aims to improve MEWP safety

The International Powered Access Federation (IPAF) has launched a project to collect worldwide data on mobile elevated work platform (MEWP) incidents, with the aim of improving the safe use of the equipment.
IPAF is appealing to manufacturers, rental companies, and contractors to report any known MEWP incidents, particularly serious incidents or fatalities, via a form on its website. It intends to build a comprehensive record of known incidents and store them in one location and in one common format. This data will then be analysed to identify common trends, so that IPAF can propose possible actions to further improve the safe use of the machines.
The project has gained support from HSE Principal Inspector Joy Jones, who wrote in an open letter to the group: “I applaud and encourage the efforts your industry is making to collect and analyse your own data. Obtaining incident data to identify trends and prioritise remedial action is a perennial problem.
“Companies sometimes have reservations about sharing their incident data but, in my opinion, the reputation of industry representative organisations is enhanced when they base and prioritise their activities on evidence and evaluation.”
IPAF CEO Tim Whiteman added: “When an accident happens involving a platform, it tends to become a spectacle and grab the headlines. However, powered access actually accounts for a small percentage of all accidents related to work at height, and this project intends to uncover hard data to support that anecdotal evidence and to inform further safety initiatives.”€

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