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5 Things to Consider Before Using an Access Platform

7th June 2018

According to information provided by the HSE, working at height still remains the biggest cause of fatalities and major injuries in the workplace. With a huge number of injuries occurring daily as well as operators not understanding the key requirements to preparing and operating machinery correctly, we have put together our 5 top tips to consider before using your access equipment in the workplace...

1. Have a Systematic Rescue Plan in Place

Before using your access platform a rescue plan must be put in place as per the requirements under the Work at Height Regulations to ensure that those using the equipment have an understanding of how to use the equipment correctly and what steps to take should an incident occur.

An example of this could involve an individual at ground level who is able to lower the machine in the event of an emergency; however, as there are so many variations in access platform circumstances, rescue plans should be situational and altered accordingly. To reduce the possibility of needing to implement a rescue plan, access platforms should only be used when it is reasonably practicable to do so.

2. Be Aware of Surrounding Masts

Working at height around electrical masts presents additional risks; therefore, an adequate distance should be kept from power cables as electricity can arc to the MEWP that is being used. Maintaining a close proximity to mobile phone and radio masts, particularly at height, increases the risk of exposure to non-ionising radiofrequency radiation so preventative procedures should be followed in order to manage occupational exposure.

3. Check the Point Loading Before Use

It is important to check the point loading before using the equipment. Approximately 80% of the machine's weight will transfer through the wheel as the boom moves over it; therefore, verifying the point loading of the MEWP beforehand, as stated in the operator's manual, is essential in determining whether or not the ground is able to take the weight and prevent an accident from occurring.

4. Record All Inspections

It is required that a record of any inspection carried out on work equipment should be recorded, including MEWPs, under the Work at Height regulations so that there is a systematic log of this should any incident occur. Regular inspections also ensure that all equipment is safe to use and maximises performance. Risk assessments are a vital part of safe oepration; as situations are constantly changing it is important to carry out an assessment of risks accordingly and have plans prepared in the event of an accident. Risk assessments should be carried out by someone experienced and constantly reviewed throughout every process along with completed documentation to maintain safety standards and implement any findings.

5. Carry Out Refresher Training

It is beneficial to both the operator and the company to provide refresher courses with accredited training providers as it greatly increases occupational and operational safety. Furthermore, as per Regulation 9 of PUWER 1998, it is fundamental to health and safety that all those involved receive correct and substantial training; this applies to anyone using the equipment and anyone supervising / managing use of the equipment. Therefore, the best way to ensure the safe operation of and understanding of the risks associated with access platforms is to provide them with regular accredited training.

IPAF accredited training is hugely recognised as the provider of quality within the industry and courses are assured to provide delegates and businesses with the highest standards of up-to-date training. The IPAF Training Standard and PAL (Powered Access License) card are highly reputable and accepted in over 25 countries worldwide.

For more information on the access training courses we provide, call us on 01246 386900 
or check out our open course calendar for our 2018 nationwide course dates.


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