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Harness 'a must' for platform users

PLANT AT SED - IPAF issues strongly worded guidance in bid to reduce growing number of accidents

THE International Powered Access Federation has gone all out to convince platform users to wear a harness and fall restraint when on an hydraulic boom.

Strongly worded guidance on the subject, supported by plant hirers and the HSE, was launched at its annual conference ahead of SED last week.

IPAF managing director Tim Whiteman said 'People are putting their lives at risk by not wearing a harness.'

Speakers at the conference offered a range of proposals to improve safety, including the forthcoming release of a code of practice on the safe use of platforms, which will advise on how to select equipment and how to spot poor ground conditions.

The guidance recommended that 'a full body harness with an adjustable lanyard (used to provide work restraint and adjusted to be as short as possible) is used when working from a boom-type platform' At the same time, it reiterated its advice that those in scissor lifts or vertical personnel platforms are not normally expected to wear fall protection equipment other than in exceptional circumstances.

The decision to overturn previous guidance was explained by HSE specialist inspector Gil Male.

'It is fairly well supported that you should use a restraint.The problem is there is nothing ideal so it has to be a compromise This is why we recommend operatoradjustable lanyards.'

The moves come in the wake of reports of a large proportion of accidents occurring through overturning or operators being thrown out of the platform after collisions, or poor ground conditions.

The code of practice will provide advice on machine usage and what hazards to look for when operating the platforms.

The call for greater take-up of harnesses was backed up by Gordon Leicester, managing director of hirer Facelift, who has undertaken his own research into their use.

'There is no doubt that wearing harnesses saves lives.We as hirers should do the risk assessments for the users and advise them on their harness use.'

More controversially he called for operators who failed to observe the guidance to have penalty points recorded on their skills cards.

He said: 'It is the only true way of getting the control measures in place and it would have an immediate impact.'