The Elevating Work Platform Association of Australia (EWPA) has published a white paper aimed at reducing the risk of accidents while working above water.

The MEWP Working Over Water document, available on the EWPA website, covers a range of potential pitfalls found on or near water, which it says presents additional hazards which must be identified and managed by a competent person.  

‘The hazards associated with the water should be considered during the selection of work equipment for this type of work and a site specific safe work method statement must be prepared for working on or near water or if there is a risk of a person falling more than 2m,’ states the paper.

‘If there is a greater risk of drowning then appropriate life jackets/personal flotation devices should be worn and any risk from fall from height should be controlled by means other than the use of harnesses. Both harnesses and floatation devices may be used by the operator. They should not be used simultaneously and when each type is worn should be decided to suit the site conditions.

The white paper continues: ‘If harnesses need to be worn for other reasons (e.g. movement/work elsewhere or to aid rescue/recovery) the occupant should not be connected to the MEWP whilst activities near to or over water are taking place. As soon as the MEWP moves away from such areas the occupant should connect him/herself to the attachment point. In these circumstances the standard of instruction and supervision should be such that inappropriate work activity that might lead to a person falling from the basket or the MEWP overturning is avoided.’

 Find the full report at www.ewpa.com.au

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