Safe use of a MEWP for tree work
Approximately one in five MEWP-related fatal accidents involve tree care workers. Yet using a MEWP for tree work can be an efficient and safe way of working.
Why use a MEWP for tree work?
When used correctly, MEWPs are one of the safest methods of temporary access to height. But safety isn’t the only benefit. MEWPs reduce the time it takes to access tree tops which:
- It saves you time and, therefore, money
- Allows you to carry out more jobs in a day than you would with other methods
- Reduces the level of disturbance to the public and general area
- Provides access to diseased or dying trees that are difficult or dangerous to climb
To keep workers as safe as possible, IPAF has put together guidance specifically for tree workers. It covers all the main points you must consider before undertaking any work.
Before you begin, ask yourself…
- Is there a risk assessment?
- Are all managers and operators qualified and familiar with the equipment?
- Has the equipment been inspected, and is it well maintained?
- Do you have safe use procedures and a rescue plan in place? Does everyone know what they are?
MEWP work should only begin once you can say yes to all the above.
Primary considerations for tree work
- Ensure the ground can support the MEWP and use spreader plates under outriggers.
- Identify and avoid overhead powerlines to prevent electrocution.
- Put precautions in place to protect workers from chainsaws and always refuel on the ground.
- Avoid contact with branches and organise appropriate drop zones.
Read the full report.
You can download IPAF’s technical guidance for tree work from their website – IPAF.org.