Updated Plant Safety Group Guidance on Crushing and Trapping with MEWPs

A newly updated safety publication is now freely available which provides guidance as to how to reduce the risks of trapping and crushing hazards when using MEWPs. Published by the Construction Industry Plant Safety Group (CIPSG), the 22-page publication is entitled ‘Good Practice Guidance for Reducing Trapping/Crushing Injuries to People in MEWPs’.

The guidance document has been compiled by the CIPSG for MEWPs which is chaired by the Construction Plant-hire Association (CPA) and administered and supported by the International Powered Access Federation (IPAF).

MEWPs are widely acknowledged to be one of the safest and most efficient means of enabling temporary working at height. Between 2016 and 2020, incidents entered into the IPAF Reporting Portal from 15 countries identified that 73 people died in entrapment incidents globally. Entrapment injuries to persons in the MEWP platform are usually serious and often fatal.

The Good Practice Guidance has been produced by the CIPSG for MEWPs to raise awareness of this risk among MEWP operators, supervisors and rescuers. The guidance sets out to inform people about the measures that can be used to reduce the risk and number of entrapment incidents by providing guidance on planning, risk assessment, MEWP selection, operator training, familiarisation and rescue. Emphasis is placed on the practical measures that MEWP users can take to avoid entrapment.

The first version of the guidance was originally published in 2010, and it has undergone significant revision in this latest version. The document has been restructured to improve readability and understanding of the topic and new illustrations have been added. The content reflects and builds upon findings from the recently published Health & Safety Executive Research Report (HSE RR1180:2022) which examined the effectiveness of secondary guarding when employed in a range of different entrapment scenarios.

Kevin Minton, Chair of the Construction Industry Plant Safety Group for MEWPs, said: “The guidance will be a vital reference tool for MEWP hire companies, customers, operators and manufacturers. Presented in easily digestible sections, it is aimed at those using and supervising MEWPs, and those responsible for rescuing entrapped people, as well as anyone involved in planning and risk assessing work with MEWPs, specifying equipment, managing the work or organising training. We anticipate it will prove to be a useful training tool as it has been designed to be used in briefings or toolbox talks for supervisors and MEWP operators.”

Brian Parker, IPAF’s Head of Safety & Technical, commented: “This updated guidance has taken a while to develop, but it was much-needed, as data gathered via IPAF’s Reporting Portal (www.ipafaccidentreporting.org) shows that entrapment is consistently one of the top five causes of serious injuries and deaths when using MEWPs.

“Much work and cross-industry consultation has gone into this document to ensure it is thorough, comprehensive, clear and concise. The powered access industry has advanced significantly over the past five to ten years, with technological advancements driving secondary guarding devices, and machine capabilities and complexities. Meanwhile, the breadth of industry end applications has developed considerably over that period.

“We feel this new guidance document adequately encompasses all of these changes and provides an important point of reference to aid in minimising entrapment risks for all those planning, executing and supervising work at height using MEWPs. We are very pleased to see it published for users to read and download completely free of charge.”

The Construction Industry Plant Safety Group for MEWPs has membership from the CPA, IPAF, HSE and FASET (Fall Arrest Safety Equipment and Training), as well as significant representation from MEWP owners, manufacturers and major construction companies. It meets regularly to share information on MEWPs safety, and has set up working groups to produce guidance and address specific issues.

The ‘Good Practice Guidance for Reducing Trapping/Crushing Injuries to People in MEWPs’ publication is available for anyone to freely download from the CPA website at here or from IPAF’s website at www.ipaf.org/resources