Do I need to wear a safety harness to operate a MEWP?
While MEWPs offer a safe platform for work at height, accidents can and do happen. It only takes a slight knock from another vehicle, a collision with a building or a bump in the road to make a platform jerk or swing unexpectedly, and an operator to fall. The consequences can be life-changing or even fatal, though reduced substantially by wearing the correct safety harness properly.
Do I need to wear a safety harness?
A job-specific risk assessment is essential to determine if you need to wear a safety harness when using a MEWP. IPAF has produced Technical Guidance for fall protection in MEWPs to help. In summary, it states:
- Boom lifts (Categories 1b and 3b): harnesses with lanyards short enough to keep the operator within the platform are strongly recommended.
- Vertical lifts (Categories 1a and 3a): harnesses are usually not necessary but maybe in certain circumstances.
- Work over water: A life jacket to mitigate the risk of drowning may need to be worn instead of fall protection but a risk assessment is needed to determine the safest option.
Top tips for using a safety harness
There’s little point in wearing a harness if you’re not wearing it properly. The first step to avoiding problems is training. Everyone using harnesses to work at height needs to have the correct training and be competent to do so – see our Harness Use and Inspection Course – but here are a few more tips to keep you safe.
- Make sure you use the correct safety harness for the job.
- Always carry out a pre-use inspection checking for wear and tear and making sure the harness has all the correct information, such as serial number, manufacturer details and inspection dates.
- Never use a harness if there are signs of damage.
- Ensure your harness fits properly and that you wear it correctly, as per the manufacturer’s guidance.
- When finished with your harness, hang it up where it will safe from damage and protected from the weather.
How can we help?
Need more help or looking to buy safety equipment? Browse our range of harnesses or give our work at height experts a call on:
Newcastle: 0191 236 7120 email@example.com
Huntingdon: 01480 891 581 firstname.lastname@example.org