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Accident reporting database encourages focus on safety

IPAF launched its accident reporting project in January 2012 with the aim of building up a comprehensive record of known accidents in one location and in one common format.

Doing so allows us to identify any common trends and propose possible actions to further promote the safe use of powered access worldwide.

A year into the project, the preliminary results are now available for analysis and show that there were 31 fatalities worldwide involving mobile elevated work platforms in 2012. The main causes of these fatalities were:

  • Fall from platform – nine
  • Electrocution – eight
  • Overturn – six
  • Entrapment – four
  • Mechanical/technical related – four

Almost half of the number of reported fatalities, 16, involved booms. Eleven involved vehicle mounts and four scissor lifts.

These results are significant and extremely useful in allowing us to improve our training programme and focus our safety programme to make the industry even safer. There are more than 1.5 million MEWPs in use around the world, and while every death is a tragedy, powered access is still a very safe way to work at height.

The accident database has also been enhanced with new functions including a dashboard facility which allows companies who report monthly to track and monitor accidents related to their staff, and from 2013, accident data will also be collected on mast climbing work platforms.

The data is based on direct reporting of incidents to IPAF and through information collected from various news and media. The accuracy of the data cannot be guaranteed, but where appropriate, action is taken to verify the facts and the data is amended should relevant information become available. Data collected is confidential and used solely for the purposes of analysis and making recommendations to improve safety.

All manufacturers, rental companies, contractors and users are encouraged to report any known fatal and serious accidents involving MEWPs and MCWPs worldwide at 

Tim Whiteman is chief executive of the International Powered Access Federation

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