Safe Working at Height: All About EWP Safety Measures
Mobile Elevated Work Platform or MEWP’s are extensively used these days and are replacing tower scaffolds and ladders as the favored method of access.
An elevated work platform makes it easy to raise and load personnel and material on-site. It is a telescopic mechanism composed of several different parts which make it possible for the equipment operator to maneuver weights and people. Some of its unique parts like upright lift cylinder, base boom, articulating fly lift cylinder, hydraulic, basket, and stabilizer controls make the elevating work platform a cutting edge site machine.
It is the ability to hoist the work platform to great heights that gives much cause for concern. While operating an MEWP, workplace hazards include falls, lack of safety fittings, and slips.
Types of Elevated Platforms
Mobile EWP with extendable boom: The boom part of this machine is based on an adjustable system that helps operators to elongate it as required.
Mobile EWP with extendable knuckle boom: This high rise platform is stationed on a truck. Boom parts allow operators to maneuver these over barriers.
EWP Licence Training
Due to the heights they can reach, EWP vehicles must be operated only by trained professionals.
If you want to become a licensed operator, there are courses and recognised training courses available. When you complete these courses and successfully pass the training and assessment tests, you then receive your license.
There are several workplace safety rules that need to be observed. The occupational health and safety laws are quite stringent in Australia.
Elevated work platform safety features – employers:
- Ensure safety and health of workers: Whether you own EWP machines or have opted for ewp hire, the workplace environment must be secured by you as an employer
- Ensure safe working conditions of working equipment: Machines should be in their highest working standards. They must also be risk-free and should not pose any health problem to any worker.
- Ensure employee safety while using equipment: Occupational health and safety rules also state that the employer is responsible for employee safety at all times. This includes the occasions when they are operating MEWP’s (Mobile Elevated Work Platforms).
- Checking operators and personnel for relevant skill and expertise: Along with maintaining safe working heights, as an employer you must know that your workers are experts. They must have authentic certificates and training required for operating a MEWP.
- Offer training in case workers require it: Employers must be able to provide workers with appropriate training as and when needed.
- Ensuring safety of visitors: Employers are also responsible for maintaining care of all visitors, inspectors, clients, and customers.
Safety features and rules for workers and operators of EWP machines:
Ensure safety and safe working conditions for co-workers. Often, more than one operator works on a EWP machine. This makes you doubly responsible to safeguard both your safety and theirs.
- Follow employer instructions totally: You are not the one making the plan so it’s better to just follow it.
- Follow all safety guidelines laid out for elevated platforms.
- Report risky situations and servicing needs for equipment: Let your in-charge or employer know about the possible dangers and how the equipment needs repairs.
How to prevent slips and falls from the workstation heights
When you are working at 25 to 30 feet in the air, there’s always a risk of falling. In order to prevent unfortunate incidents of falling from such heights make sure there are safeguards in place. Five basic steps of prevention of falls are listed below:
- Installing safety net and harnessed vest: Make sure the area around the station and below it is supported by a safety net. This will catch you if you happen to trip. Make sure you have a solid height anchor. Wearing a harnessed vest help you have more body support.
- Head safety gear: Wearing a safety helmet or safety cap is mandatory. Head injury has the most risk in this situation.
- Feet safety: Often your employer would want you to wear rubber soled shoes while you’re on the job. This is able to give you a good grip on the platform.
- Eye safety: You’re working several feet above the ground. Wearing protective glasses is always a good decision.
- First – Aid: It is mandatory to have first – aid around on the site and a trained first –aid expert.
These are simple yet effective steps to ensure that you remain safe on the raised platform.
Training in EWP Australia should teach you more about possible site hazards and how to manage them.
Some of the possible hazards come from overhead power supply lines, lack of adequate light and manpower, underground traffic, natural barriers like trees, man-made barriers like billboards, weather conditions, faulty equipment and similar anomalies. However, if you have received elevated work platform training, you know what to do.
As for the equipment itself, someone with elevated platform training would consider the following:
- Checking tires
- Ensuring there are no fluid leaks
- Checking for broken parts
- Examining boom and hydraulic interface
- Movement range assessment
- Inspection of lifts
- Emergency measures
- Safe shut down of the gear