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MAJOR CONTRACTOR TAKES DECISIVE ACTON ON MEWP SAFETY

Skanska to ban boom type MEWPS not fitted with added anti-crush protection

It has been reported that Skanska UK has announced it will “ensure from January 2012 that all its boom-elevated work platforms are fitted with additional crush protection”. By April 2012 all company subcontractors will be required to use “compliant cherrypickers”.

There have been number of MEWP operator deaths in recent years involving crush injuries or asphyxiation, often after inadvertent operation of the controls and being pinned between the MEWP and an overhead obstruction e.g. steelwork.  The deaths prompted an HSE Safety Notice and Industry Guidance on the risk and recommended precautions.

Skanska UK Director for H&S, Dylan Roberts, said:

“Following a tragedy in 2008 we felt it imperative to make a step change in the training and competence of users of MEWPs and the introduction of additional safety measures. I am very pleased that we have finally been able to take this step. We encourage the UK construction industry to follow suit.”

Other major contractors are thought to be in discussions with MEWP hire companies which are able to supply machines with additional anti-crushing protection.

Comment

The move by Skanska UK is very positive and demonstrates a determination to minimise the risk of entrapment when using MEWPS. We are aware of a least three systems currently available on the market:

  • SkySiren – by Nationwide Platforms “stops the boom immediately, sounds the alarm to alert the “on the ground buddy” for emergency descent and rescue”.
  • Sanctuary Zone – by AFI Uplift “to protect against overhead crushing incidents in boom lifts”
  • SiOPS – by Nifty a “Sustained Involuntary Operation Prevention System”

Vertikal has published an article on such systems which readers may find interesting.

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