December 2019 will mark 12 months after the publication of the ANSI A92.20 design, A92.22 safe-use and A92.24 training standards for mobile elevating work platforms (MEWPs). The 12-month lag time after publication allows industry stakeholders to read, understand, plan and implement the new requirements so they can be compliant when the new standards become effective and existing standards are withdrawn.
Manufacturers have to design, order new componentry, set up production lines, write new manuals, and take care of all other preparations to manufacture MEWPs that will comply with the new A92.20 design standard by the effective date. This includes design changes for requirements such as an active platform load-sensing system, changes in wind force requirements, elimination of chain gates and adding toe boards on the entrance to all MEWPs, and a new stability test. These changes will also impact component suppliers.
All industry stakeholders will need to prepare for the changes brought about by the A92.22 safe-use and A92.24 training standards. These new stand-alone topic standards provide detailed focus on the responsibilities for MEWP safe use and delivery of required MEWP training. These standards are critical for user/employers of MEWPs and their operators.
Safe use program
The safe use standard requires all users of MEWPs to develop a safe use program that must include:
- Site risk assessment to identify hazards, evaluate risk, develop control measures and communicate with affected persons;
- Selection, provision and use of a suitable MEWP;
- Access, preparation and maintenance of the site, as required, to include an assessment that the support surface is adequate to support the weight of the MEWP;
- MEWP maintenance including inspection(s) and repairs;
- Only trained and authorized personnel operate and/or occupy the MEWP;
- Familiarization of authorized MEWP operator(s) with the specific MEWP to be used;
- Operator informed of local site requirements;
- Trained and qualified supervisor(s) monitor the performance of the operator to ensure compliance with the standard;
- Prevention of unauthorized use of the MEWP;
- Safety of persons not involved in the operation of the MEWP; and
- Required documentation.
To ensure the plan is in compliance with requirements in the standard, each topic defined in the safe use program has expanded requirements throughout the safe use and training standard. You must read and understand these standards to ensure the safe and effective use of this equipment. The safe use program must take a systemic approach on all aspects of the safe use of a MEWP.
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The safe use program must include a risk assessment, it is mandatory. The standard further defines what must be included in a risk assessment from general information to the specific stages of the risk assessment. The purpose is to identify potential hazards and develop means to eliminate or mitigate the risk from the hazards and keep workers safe. A rescue plan must be included in case of MEWP malfunction or a fall from the platform occurs.
Training for operators and occupants
As you develop the safe use program you will identify and plan how all workers involved with MEWP operations must be trained and become qualified to perform MEWP tasks, such as supervisors, operators, occupants. The A92.24 training standard provides methods and guidelines to prepare MEWP training materials, define administrative criteria, and deliver elements required for proper training and familiarization. Your program must ensure that personnel performing these tasks are trained in compliance with the standards.
The standards set requirements for MEWP operators beyond proving the capability to move the machine. A new change is the requirement that the operator provides instructions to all occupants, so that each has a basic level of knowledge to work safely on the MEWP. This requirement to provide occupant knowledge is added to risk identification, conducting pre-use inspections and demonstration of proficiency to operate the MEWP as fundamental parts of operator training. All operators must receive training to comply with the new standards by December 2019.
New is the requirement for supervisor training for any person assigned by the user to monitor operator performance and supervise their work. This course is not to make them an operator, but know the responsibilities of an operator to be able to monitor their performance, and evaluate operators on a regular basis to ensure their proficiency.
The impact of new design requirements on MEWPs in operation, the new safe use requirements and the delivery of training for operators and supervisors compliant with the requirement of the new standards, must be in place by December’s effective date. A copy of the manual of responsibilities is available from the A92 secretariat – the Scaffold and Access Industry Association (SAIA) www.saiaonline.org to read all of the responsibilities you must prepare for.