Top causes of death with mobile elevating work platforms
By Anthony Capkun
April 8, 2016 – The fatal injury rate for mobile elevating work platforms (MEWPs) has remained constant, reports IPAF, even though the total MEWP rental fleet and number of rental days worldwide have increased.
According to the International Powered Access Federation, 2015 MEWP-related accident data and its preliminary fatal injury rate calculations “confirm that MEWPs are one of the safest ways to perform temporary work at height”.
“MEWPs are part of the solution in preventing falls from height, but we should recognize that MEWPs introduce hazards that need managing,” said Chris Wraith (photo), IPAF technical & safety executive. “Engineering control is but one option, and the industry is starting to work together on a global scale to ensure continual improvement.”
For 2015, the number of days a rented machine was operated per year was 192.2 million and the number of reported MEWP fatalities was 68, giving a fatal injury rate of 0.035. Of the 68 reported MEWP fatalities for 2015, the main causes were:
• fall from height
In 2014, the number of days a rented machine was operated per year was 182.4 million, and the number of reported MEWP fatalities was 64, to give a fatal injury rate of 0.035. In 2013, the number of days a rented machine was operated per year was 168.4 million and the number of reported MEWP fatalities was 68, giving a fatal injury rate of 0.040.
The accident data from 2013 to 2015 show the main causes of MEWP-related fatalities were:
• fall from height (31%)
• overturn (27%)
• electrocution (15%)
• entrapment (15%)
The MEWP fatal injury rate as calculated by IPAF takes into account the following factors:
• Estimated rental fleet size, based on IPAF Powered Access Rental Market Reports
• Estimated average utilization rates per country and worldwide
• Average days worked per year (5 days/week, 50 weeks/year)
• The number of fatalities involving MEWPs in a given year, based on the IPAF accident reporting project
Wraith noted that international accident data is presented in different formats, which sometimes makes it difficult to draw useful comparisons.
Launched in 2012, IPAF’s accident reporting project is striving to create “a comprehensive record of known accidents”. The data gathered will enable IPAF, it says, to improve the content of training programs, develop technical guidance, target specific high-risk professions or activities, and provide research findings used to influence standards.
As such, all manufacturers, rental companies, contractors and users are encouraged to report any known accidents (not just fatal and serious accidents) involving MEWPs and MCWPs (mast climbing work platforms) worldwide at www.ipaf.org/accident.
GRAPH illustrates MEWP fatal injury rate in relation to the millions of MEWP rental days worldwide. Photo and graph courtesy IPAF.