How Important is a MEWP Safe Use Plan?
It is crucial for businesses where employees are using a Mobile Elevated Work Platform (MEWP) to carry out any work at height to hold a satisfactory safe-use plan that follows the correct safety standards and allows the operator to understand the protocols needed to maintain a safe working environment. Plans will need to be continually reviewed and updated by a person competent and qualified to do so.
MEWPS are rigorously tested and researched before their launch with high safety standards however, the ultimate safety is down to the operator using the equipment and the practices that are in place. So, what should my safe-use plan involve?
- Risk Assessment: This must be carried out by a competent person; it must be reviewed and amended as and when is needed and a rescue plan must also be included. The appropriate MEWP guidelines must include factors such as capacity, height, reach, ground conditions, proximity to the public and recommendations for safety harness use.
- MEWP Selection/Familiarisation: Always ensure you have selected the correct MEWP for the task and accounted for extra considerations such as movement around site or height restrictions and familiarise yourself with the size/height before use.
- Maintenance and Repairs: All MEWPs require regular maintenance and inspections. These must be recorded alongside an up-to-date LOLER.
- Training and Qualifications: An operator course is not all that is needed to become a competent operator. A newly trained operator may be qualified to operate the machinery but has little/no experience using the MEWP in a complex environment such as a restricted space. Are the provisions also in place to re-train operators in specific job requirements?
- Unauthorized Use: Make sure where the machine is parked is only accessible when needed and locked away appropriately when not in use. Remove keys and ensure they are only issued to authorised personnel.
- Site-Specific Requirements: Unique site hazards must be accounted for that are not always covered such as lowered ceilings or moving trucks.