On a MEWP boom-type, safety is a concern to anyone working at height with these types of access platforms.
However, for the occupants of the basket in a boom-type MEWP, there is a real risk of serious injury or death from being catapulted out of the basket. They may not be in any position to avoid violent movement of the basket. But the correct use of a harness can prevent them from being thrown out.
If the boom swings, jolts or tilts away from the machine’s centre of gravity, then the basket and its occupant(s) can be placed at risk. Other causes can be an impact from other vehicles or snagging the boom or basket on obstructions. Or it may be if the operator overreaches (usually by standing on the guard rails). All these factors can affect safety on MEWP boom-type equipment;
• Even a small movement at ground level will create a whiplash effect at platform level.
• The higher you are, the faster you will be thrown forwards – or sideways – or backwards.
• In the event of an accident, the platform might tilt – providing less protection than you think.
When working from a boom type MEWP (mobile elevated work platform), it is strongly recommended that a full-body harness with an adjustable lanyard be used to provide work restraint. The lanyard should be adjusted to be as short as possible and may contain an energy absorbing device.
This includes Static Booms and Mobile Booms.
Where there is a risk of impact or someone falling from a boom type MEWP, those people should wear appropriate fall prevention equipment.
The preferred option is to stop the person falling from the work platform by using a work restraint system. A work restraint system will consist of a full-body harness (BS EN 361) connected to a lanyard (BS EN 354) which connects to an anchor point on the MEWP basket. From the anchor point, the lanyard length will be short enough to prevent a person from reaching a position where they could fall. The lanyard may contain an energy-absorbing device (BS EN 355), but will still only be in use as part of a work restraint system.
Do not use retractable type fall arresters (BS EN 360) unless they are suitable and have been specifically tested.
British Standards safety equipment may be bought online and delivered the next day. It is also worth downloading and reading what the “Work at Height Safety Association” have to say in their Technical Guidance Note 4 “Guidance on the use of single and twin energy-absorbing lanyards”. It can be downloaded here.
Clunk Click is a worldwide campaign for all users of boom type platforms. It encourages operators to wear a full-body harness and also a short lanyard.
It was started in the UK by the Powered Access Interest Group (PAIG). PAIG are a joint committee that includes, not only the Construction Plant-hire Association but also the International Powered Access Federation.
Clunk Click stickers for boom type MEWP safety can be ordered by calling +44 (0)1271 374209. Artwork can also be obtained from IPAF on +44 (0)15395 66700.
Be safe at height. It’s your life.