Mobile Elevating Work Platforms (MEWPs), have been used in managed and controlled environments on construction job sites for many years. Most frequently used for "work-at-height" tasks in public areas such as contractor work such as tree care and painting, utility line repairs in the public sector, facilities management and premises management. These can make these equipment machines very risky when being used in public realm.
When the public is present on a job site, it can be a bit more challenging to minimize and control unrelated work activities, for example, foot traffic or automobile traffic. It is important to help job site crews understand the hazads associated with the increased risks. The IPAF (International Powered Access Federation) has published new guidance on using work at height machines in public areas.
Within the IPAF guidelines, there are specific guidelines for 3 key stakeholders that will be involved in the completion of the work involving a MEWP in public areas or on roads.
Client / Property Owner
When these stakeholders have commissioned work at height, there is a duty of care and influence over the way a project is managed, along with the selection and actions of contractors.
Contractor / Employer
These stakeholders are responsible for completion of the work or job. These stakeholders are often referred to as the operator or user, is any individual or company that controls the planning, management and use of the work at height machines and is responsible for making sure the MEWP is in safe working condition. The user is not necessarily the opeartor.
The individual who will be accessing the work area using the machine. An operator is the person who controls the MEWP controls from work platforms, also known as the base. These individuals may be employed or working for themselves as contractors. The guidance provided by the IPAF may also be a reference for any member of the public who observes the use of a MEWP in a public area or near a road, and has concerns about the safety of the operation.
The IPAF guide also provides measures that crews can implement to reduce the risk of injury when using an MEWP in locations where the public will be around. Or in an area where vehicles are not permitted such as a fixed construction site or dfined commercial premises.