5 mistakes to avoid when operating MEWPs
MEWPs offer a safe platform to work at height, but only when used properly. As an IPAF approved training provider and MEWP hire company, we know all about safe working practices and also unsafe ones. We’ve put together our top 5 mistakes to avoid when operating MEWPs. Know of any more? Let us know in the comments.
1. Tamper with or override safety controls
All safety measures are in place for a reason. Tampering with or disabling them increases the chance of accidents and risks damaging the platform – leave them well alone but ensure you are familiar with how they work and include them in your pre-use inspections.
2. Standing on guard rails
With proper planning and MEWP selection, you will be able to access everywhere you need to while staying safely within the platform. Standing on or leaning over guardrails or using ladders to extend your reach increases your chance of falling and could perhaps obstruct your view of overhead obstructions and other activities going on around you.
3. Jump out of the platform when it is at height
The function of MEWPs is to provide a safe platform for people to work; there should be no need to exit one at height. At least, not without a comprehensive risk assessment that explores all available options and concludes that exiting a MEWP to access another work area is the safest option, or it is essential as part of a risk-assessed emergency procedure. Jumping or climbing out at height at other times and without the correct PPE increases fall risk substantially.
4. Attach banners to MEWPs
MEWPs are designed to carry people and their tools and equipment only. Hanging banners off the side can make MEWPs unstable and even create a wind tunnel, which in turn can cause them to topple over causing damage to the MEWP, property and equipment, and also injury to operators and others on the ground below.
5. Use a MEWP as a crane
Following on from point number four, never use a MEWP as a crane to lift heavy objects. They are made to hold weight within the platform, not outside of it. Lifting heavy equipment as you would with a crane can cause the MEWP to topple over. Always source the right equipment for the job.