Electrocutions and electric shocks have notably increased since 2015 among MEWP operators worldwide, according to data from the International Powered Access Federation (IPAF).
The standout statistic is that reported incidents of electrocution are nearly always fatal.
To highlight the risks of working with MEWPs near energised power lines, IPAF promoted their ‘High Voltage!’ global safety campaign at APEX 2023, held in Maastricht, Netherlands, from June 6-8.
The guidance identifies associated hazards and risks and explains how to work safely, underlining how workplace safety culture and behaviour play a big part in reducing the number of incidents.
Brian Parker, IPAF’s Head of Safety & Technical, said that ignorance or lack of awareness can lead to complacency and potential exposures, increasing the risk of incidents from contact or arcing with power lines.
He added that while power lines are often mistaken for telecommunication lines or obscured by vegetation, accident data indicates that they can sometimes be beneath or to the side of the platform.
“To reduce the risk of electrocutions and shocks, our campaign outlines some simple steps to follow: plan thoroughly; ensure operators are trained; stay outside exclusion zones; and know your rescue plan.”
Karin Nars, IPAF President and Dinolift CEO, said that this guidance outlines key principles and offers practical ways to mitigate risks, ultimately aiming to minimise electrocution and electric shock incidents.
“At Dinolift, safety is paramount, and we fully endorse these guidelines as they align with our commitment to prioritising the well-being of operators and workers. By adhering to this invaluable resource, we can collectively create a safer environment, protecting lives and fostering a culture of responsible MEWP operation.”
The campaign is underpinned by a new IPAF Toolbox Talk work site briefing, Andy Access safety poster, and a comprehensive new technical guidance document entitled “The Safe Use of MEWPs in the Vicinity of Power Lines”.