'Anti-entrapment' terminology dropped by UK associations

10 December 2013

The UK's Strategic Forum for Construction Plant Safety Group's (SFPSG) sub-group for Mobile Elevating Work Platforms (MEWPs) has unanimously agreed to change the terminology associated with devices designed to reduce the risk of overhead crushing from 'anti-entrapment' to 'secondary guarding'.

The group agreed with the proposal prepared by the International Powered Access Association's (IPAF) technical officer Chris Wraith which stated that, "all MEWPS are safe by design and are fitted as standard with a function enable device which provides primary guarding system.

"Additional equipment or device(s), which can be fitted to a MEWP in order to reduce the risk of overhead crushing injury, offer secondary protection and should not replace good practice by management and the operator.

"Anti-entrapment devices do not prevent entrapment – they offer a secondary guarding option to assist management in reducing the risk of serious injury from overhead hazards. Therefore the term 'anti-entrapment' is incorrect and the term 'secondary guarding' should be adopted by the industry," the statement concluded.

Kevin Minton, CPA Director and chair of the SFPSG MEWPs group said, “The unanimous decision of this group, who represent all the key industry stakeholders, demonstrates how important this change to more accurate terminology is.” He added “the aim of the group is to agree on how to ensure the safe use of MEWPs in construction and we hope re-naming will make it clearer for managers and operators on site.”

Expanding on the issue, Mr Wraith explained that the term anti-entrapment implies that the use of these devices will prevent entrapment, even though it is recognised that there is no single solution to prevent overhead crushing incidents from occurring.”

He added, “a reduction in serious incidents will only come about by the combined efforts of operators, site management, hire companies and manufacturers working towards improvements and this renaming is a step in this direction. Secondary guarding is a much more accurate terminology based on sound reasoning that describes this equipment and devices for what they are.”

Further guidance on the prevention of entrapment when using MEWPs is available to download from the CPA and IPAF websites.

The SFPSG MEWPs group made is up of experts from the industry including IPAF, the CPA, UKCG, manufacturers and users and agreed the change in their second meeting held on 18 November 2013.

The group also agreed to endorse the forthcoming UKCG MEWP Toolkit publication, details of which will be released soon.

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