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Industry bodies work together on safe MEWP operations

The Construction Plant-hire Association and the International Powered Access Federation will re-establish the Strategic Forum Plant Safety Group sub-group on MEWPs this September.

The UK Contractors Group has shown a continuing desire to lead the industry to manage risks, and its recent policy requiring PAL+ or CPCS Competent Operator certification for net riggers and steel erectors is an example of this.

But a lot of other work is being done by IPAF, the Health and Safety Executive and other organisations, and the reconstituted group aims to promote better understanding of this.

IPAF chief executive and chair of the IPAF UK MEWP Safety Forum Tim Whiteman says that around 40 per cent of MEWP use is now non-construction, but IPAF’s experience of working on the previous sub-group, which produced anti-crushing guidance, leads it to believe this group can be very inclusive and agree standards relevant to the whole sector.

Unbridled info

One of the CPA’s underlying principles is about free exchange of information. Many organisations are known to be considering steps they could take to manage risk better.

These are good intentions, but the CPA is not confident that all of the duty-holders have good access to the best information about what steps to take. This could simply be referencing the existing guidance, or a better understanding of what other bodies are doing – including manufacturers.

Reconstitution of the group has received the full support of both Strategic Forum’s Health & Safety Committee chair Simon Mantle and HSE principal inspector Joy Jones.

Ms Jones stresses the importance of providing continuity to the projects already launched by the IPAF UK MEWP Safety Forum. The work and objectives of that forum are being incorporated into the re-formed Strategic Forum group.

Kevin Minton is a director at the Construction Plant-hire Association

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