IPAF has issued guidance to assist those using MEWPs, mast-climbing working platforms (MCWPs), construction lifts, and hoists to work safely and minimize the risk of spreading the coronavirus.
The new document has been developed and reviewed by IPAF’s safety experts and members with specialist knowledge of health and safety best practices. It is centered around a hierarchy of risk, with guidance on how to mitigate possible exposure to the virus to help protect employees, colleagues, customers, and users of powered access equipment. At all times, the latest government advice should be adhered to.
The hierarchy is ranked from eliminating risk entirely, reducing risk, isolating users from risk, controlling risk, and protecting against risk through use of PPE.
In addition to the new guidance document, IPAF will publish a free webinar that helps explain the key principles and measures in more detail. The webinar will be hosted by Health and Safety professional, Chris Wraith, on May 21 and will be available to review afterwards.
Peter Douglas, IPAF’s CEO and MD, says, “Ours is an industry founded on the principles of safe working and adopting best practice through sound risk assessment and mitigation. There’s an increased risk at present posed by the spread of coronavirus, and we must do everything we can to eliminate, reduce, control, or protect against it.
“Powered access equipment is key to conducting work at height safely, [and] the services our members provide are of vital importance on construction sites, maintenance, and infrastructure projects around the world. If powered access firms can’t do this work, projects will be hampered, and safety while working at height could be compromised.
“Governments and economies are currently looking to ease some of the restrictions imposed to halt the first wave of infections, but we [anticipate] it will not just be back to ‘business as usual’ while the risk of contracting this virus remains heightened. Therefore, we have issued what we feel is a comprehensive set of guidelines for operating safely in light of this elevated risk, with sensible advice about how to identify risk, maintain social distancing and workplace hygiene, and use of additional PPE. "
He continued, “On construction sites, enhanced risk assessment, cleansing of machines, use of additional PPE such as face masks and visors, and using extra machines to allow a ‘one operator per platform’ rule to maintain social distancing are all recommended. If contractors need to hire additional machines, it’s important to only ask trained and familiarized operators to use the equipment and for work to be adequately supervised.
“Remember, it is very important not to use the virus as an excuse to cut corners on established principles of work at height safety. It is vital that employees are protected from risks associated with working at height at the same time as being mindful of the additional risk posed by coronavirus."
To view the new IPAF guidance document, click here.