Common Sense Safety


Is this person competent? If we look at what is happening we can uncover motivations and move on to preventing this sort of thing happening again. The person is either doing DIY or they are there purely to repair the chimney. If DIY then no Health and Safety at Work Act to worry about you … Continue reading

MEWP death statistics

As a senior instructor for IPAF I have long awaited useful statistical data to allow me to ensure that the most important elements are focussed on. After a long wait the figures are out and I feel that they paint an extremely positive picture of the MEWP industry as a whole and how wonderfully safe these machines are.

Considering that there are huge quantities of machines in use daily all over the world so few deaths is testament to quality, training and common sense. Clearly we cannot be truly happy until the number of deaths is zero and that is what I work toward every day along with many others in my field.

Below is the report direct from IPAF

IPAF accident database reports 31 fatalities involving aerial platforms worldwide in 2012

The main causes of fatalities and the machine type involved

There were 31 fatalities worldwide involving mobile elevating work platforms (MEWPs), also known as aerial work platforms (AWPs), in 2012, according topreliminary results of IPAF’s accident database.

The main causes of these fatalities were: fall from platform (9), electrocution (8), overturn (6), entrapment (4) and mechanical/technical related (4).

Almost half of the number of reported fatalities (16) involved booms (3b). Eleven fatalities involved vehicle mounts (1b) and four involved scissor lifts (3a).

About two-thirds of the fatalities (20) occurred in the USA, the largest single market for powered access equipment in the world. Three fatalities were reported in the Netherlands, two in the UK, and one each in Australia, Austria, Canada, Singapore, Spain and Switzerland.

The data presented is based on accidents reported directly to IPAF and through information collated from various news media. The accuracy of the data cannot be guaranteed, but where appropriate, action is taken to verify the facts and the data is amended should relevant information become available.

“The first year of the accident reporting project is producing significant results and is allowing us to both improve our training programmes and focus our safety campaigns to make this safe industry even safer,” said IPAF CEO Tim Whiteman. “There are over 1.5 million MEWPs/AWPs in use around the world, and while every death is a tragedy, powered access is still a very safe way to work at height.”

IPAF launched its accident reporting project in January 2012 with the aim of building up a comprehensive record of known accidents, in one location and in one common format. Data gathered enables IPAF to analyse and look for common trends, and propose possible actions to further improve and promote the safe use of powered access worldwide. Data collected is kept confidential and used solely for the purposes of analysis and making recommendations to improve safety.

“The accident database has been enhanced with new functions,” said IPAF technical officer Chris Wraith. “A dashboard facility has been added which allows companies who report monthly to track and monitor accidents related to their staff, and from 2013, accident data will also be collected on mast climbing work platforms (MCWPs).”

IPAF rental company members in the UK have voluntarily committed to report any known MEWP accidents involving their staff at the IPAF accident database. All manufacturers, rental companies, contractors and users are encouraged to report any known fatal and serious accidents involving MEWPs and MCWPs worldwide at the IPAF Accident Database.

Harnesses and MEWP’s

Should people wear a harness in a scissor lift? No, not under normal operating circumstances. If a person absolutely had to lean out of the machine to undertake a task then it would be reasonable to use a restraint system to prevent the person actually over reaching and falling over the guardrails. That’s it, completely  straightforward. You … Continue reading

Are stepladders dangerous?

No, people can use them in a dangerous way but stepladders in themselves cannot be dangerous. In fact when was the last time you heard of a stepladder attacking someone? Leaping out from behind a bush with the aim of inflicting injury to unwary passers-by?  Same as me I guess, never. So why have some companies … Continue reading

How does Health and Safety law actually work?

This is the second fundamental element that will allow us to move into specifics later. Pretty much everyone has heard of the Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974. People know that it is the law and people have usually seen the posters.  What is important (and quite brilliant) about it is exactly the … Continue reading


As my very first blog entry I need to explain something fundamentally important. Health and Safety law is common sense written down. It has been written down to enable the Health and Safety Executive to enforce this common sense by enabling them to prove that people acted outside of this sensible approach and by doing … Continue reading