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IPAF’s 'Back to Basics' MEWP safety campaign highlights

2017/11/21

Across 2017, IPAF’s Back to Basics safety campaign focusing on identifying and mitigating typical risk scenarios when operating Mobile Elevating Work Platform (MEWP) equipment worldwide has actively inspired and informed safety messages and key industry events from Las Vegas and Amsterdam to Shanghai and Abu Dhabi.

IPAF decided to pursue a Back to Basics campaign in 2017 after fatal accident data revealed that many causes of death and injury were due to “basic” errors in planning, preparing or executing MEWP operations, and that more needed to be done to highlight common causes of accidents to try to eradicate relatively simple errors that could lead to disastrous consequences, through better risk assessment and more comprehensive training for operators and supervisors.

The campaign received its worldwide debut at the Conexpo event in Las Vegas, with a “safety trail” of full-size MEWPs demonstrating key risk scenarios. IPAF experts were on hand to walk visitors through the safety trail, asking them to identify the risks and explaining simple ways to mitigate or avoid those risks entirely.

This “Back to Basics” safety trail proved very popular, and versions of it went on to feature at Vertikal Days at Silverstone race circuit in the UK, Suisse Public, Switzerland’s leading municipal health & safety expo, and BICES in Beijing, China.

Following requests from IPAF members, IPAF’s Technical & Safety experts devised a MEWP controls research project that made its debut at APEX Amsterdam, gathering data for the international standards body tasked with making recommendations on how to simplify and standardise MEWP controls worldwide.

IPAF’s Asia Conference, held for the first time in mainland China, in Changsha, Hunan province and attracting a record number of delegates, signed a mass pledge to provide all operators of boom-type platforms with appropriate harness and lanyard, while in the US IPAF supported an OHSA safety stand-down aimed at reducing falls from height.

The Back to Basics message has underpinned IPAF’s press releases and communications output, while new Andy Access posters were published, a series of special Toolbox Talks were devised and the Andy Access safety mascot made many high-profile appearances at events around the world. Andy even met other mascots and so impressed the EU-OSHA representative at the VDS safety expo in Lieria, Portugal, where the Andy Access safety posters were launched in Portuguese.

IPAF’s technical guidance materials have been updated to reflect the latest standards and legislation, including new versions of the “H1” Harness and Catapult warning leaflets and the “F1” Familiarisation leaflet; while other safety materials and training support has been made available in new languages including Czech, Polish, Slovenian, Danish, Finnish and Swedish.

IPAF North America made a series of informational webinars available on various aspects of safety, including the latest ANSI/CSA standards on safe use, and IPAF’s Elevating Safety magazine had a particular focus on avoiding electrocution, one of the more common causes of fatalities in the US, as identified in the latest IPAF Fatal Injury Rate report.

The IPAF Middle East Convention in Abu Dhabi, UAE, saw a record number of attendees and also saw IPAF sign a memorandum of understanding with the OSHAD in the region. IPAF training centres in the UAE are now able to provide accredited training in Hindi, as large numbers of workers in the region are originally from India.

Tim Whiteman, CEO & MD of IPAF, comments: “When we set out on our Back to Basics mission, we couldn’t have foreseen just how far-reaching it would become. Looking back over 2017, it has really made a difference, from guiding individual visitors through a safety trail at one of the numerous trade shows we’ve attended, to IPAF staff donning full safety harnesses in Changsha, China, to lead a room full of manufacturers, rental companies and training providers to sign our fall protection safety pledge.

“It’s impossible to put a figure on the number of accidents that may have been avoided this year, but the tenets and principles of good safety behaviour have certainly travelled far and wide, and we hope the information imparted will serve operators and managers of MEWP equipment well for many years to come. IPAF will shortly be announcing additional safety campaigns for 2018, so do please keep an eye on www.ipaf.org.”

For more information on all IPAF’s safety campaigns and messages, please visit www.iapa.org/safe

Watch the Get Back to Basics and Stay Safe film

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