Construction Equipment and Technical

IPAF coordinates response to MCWP safety alert

The MCWP UK & Ireland work group meeting
The MCWP UK & Ireland work group meeting

The International Powered Access Federation (IPAF) is coordinating the response to the Health and Safety Executive’s (HSE) safety alert over mast climbing work platforms (MCWPs).

The HSE warned last week of a “serious technical fault” with some MCWPs. It issued an alert about the risk of platforms falling from height where mechanical faults in drive units go undetected.

IPAF called a meeting of its UK & Ireland MCWP Work Group on 11 May, in response to the alert. 

‘Co-ordinated response’

Angel Ibañez, IPAF’s representative for MCWPs and related products, who convened the meeting, said: “The meeting of IPAF’s UK & Ireland MCWP Work Group was attended by more than 30 participants and sought to formulate a response to UK HSE BSCD1-2022 issued this month.

“That the meeting was so well attended is testament to the significance and gravity with which MCWP rental companies, manufacturers and equipment end-users in the UK are addressing this safety alert. The group is clear that a coordinated response is required, with short, medium and long-term corrective actions agreed.”

Risk assessment

Among the actions agreed by the meeting was a resolution to urge all users to continue to adhere to a rigorous policy of risk assessment when installing MCWP equipment, which should conform to industry safety standards including EN1495. MCWPs should be subject to recommended maintenance, inspection and thorough examination.

“It was resolved that IPAF and its MCWP members stand ready to assist in the urgent review of the relevant industry design and safe-use standards, including both BS 7981 and EN 1495.”

Angel Ibañez, IPAF

IPAF continues to recommend that installers, demonstrators and operators of MCWPs should be trained and familiarised on the machines being used, and thorough pre-use inspections must be routinely carried out.

Urgent meeting requested

The MCWP Committee also requested IPAF to convene an urgent meeting with equipment manufacturers, including IPAF members and non-members, with a view to discussing the safety alert and developing understanding of its implications. IPAF will also seek to make collected representations to the HSE to establish maximum clarity about the safety alert and the ramifications for the MCWP sector.

Ibañez added: “IPAF seeks to aid and assist all users of MCWP equipment in understanding and reacting appropriately to this UK HSE Safety Alert, to ensure that the sector continues to maintain the highest possible standards of safety. We also wish to assure end-users of this equipment that it remains one of the safest ways to conduct work at height.

“Furthermore, it was resolved that IPAF and its MCWP members stand ready to assist in the urgent review of the relevant industry design and safe-use standards, including both BS 7981 and EN 1495. We acknowledge that MCWP equipment has been subject to a number of technological advances in this past 20 years, and it is important that the relevant standards reflect this.

“IPAF and its members can offer significant technical expertise in respect of the use of MCWPs; we emphasise our collective commitment to assisting the wider industry to respond proactively to this UK HSE Safety Alert. All machines must conform to relevant design and engineering standards and good safety practice should be adhered to at all times when using this equipment.”

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