IPAF publishes guide for MEWPs at expos

By Lindsey Anderson05 April 2019

IPAF has issued professional advice to help companies and individuals planning to use, demonstrate or display mobile elevating work platforms (MEWPs) at an exhibition, trade fair or other such event.

IPAF said, “These shows can present a challenging environment in which to operate a MEWP. Special consideration is required when displaying or demonstrating at such events. Risks are increased due to multiple exhibitors and MEWPs in close proximity in unfamiliar surroundings, movement of the public, and demonstrations to people who may be unfamiliar with working at height.”

The document is free to download on IAPF’s website, and includes the following information:

Safe operation

As with any worksite, the delivery, set-up and operation of the MEWP must follow safe-use guidelines:

  • · Anyone moving or operating a MEWP is to have a valid PAL Card and be familiarised with the specific MEWP.
  • · A ground rescue person is to be nominated and present whenever someone is elevated.
  • · A rescue plan is required. This is to be practised before the opening of the event.
  • · A risk assessment and ground evaluation are required for each event. This is to be stored on the stand.
  • · The route for all MEWPs should be planned and inspected. This is to be included in the risk assessment.
  • · A daily inspection including function tests should be performed on all MEWPs on the stand.
  • · No children are allowed to be on an elevated MEWP or in the demonstration zone.


Deliver MEWPs following IPAF’s Load/Unload recommendations. A contact person familiar with load and unload is to be nominated to liaise with delivery drivers and co-ordinate the delivery of the MEWPs.

Traffic management

Clear separation of pedestrians and moving MEWPs is required during delivery and setup. This is to include signage and barriers if there is a high volume of pedestrians or machines.

Setup and dismantling

Wear appropriate Personal Protective Equipment (PPE). Follow the manufacturer’s instructions for setting-up the MEWP. Position each MEWP to minimise the risk of people bumping heads. Either position the platform and extending structure fully lowered, or above head height. Ensure all guard-rails (including lock pins) and entry gates are in position. Use spreader pads as required. Batteries are to be charged outside public opening hours, in a ventilated area.


In adverse weather conditions such as ice and snow, clear the platform and control position fully before operation. If visibility is reduced or in high winds, then discontinue operations.

During visitor open hours

Visitors and staff in the display area are to have suitable clothing and footwear (no open-toed shoes, no high heels) to minimize slips and trips. Visitors are not to be elevated until all loose objects, tools, phones etc. are secured.

Turn off and secure all MEWPs that are not being demonstrated. Each night lower all platforms. Equipment stored in the platform overnight may cause later problems, especially if mistakenly elevated the next morning. It is advised not to store objects or equipment in the platform.

Outdoor displays

Only MEWPs approved for use in wind (outdoor rated) are to be elevated in outdoor displays. Indoor-rated MEWPs can be positioned in the transport position. Monitor the wind speeds and lower all platforms if the wind increases above the MEWP limits, typically 12.5m/s. Flags can be securely fixed but must be free to fly. They cannot be tied at all points. Banners, either material or rigid, which are fixed at all sides are not to be used when the MEWP is elevated.

Prototypes and non-certified MEWPs

MEWPs are to be compliant with the local regulations. When prototypes and partly completed MEWPs are to be displayed, only authorised personnel who know the limitations and restrictions of the machine may operate the MEWPs. Adequate safety measures should be in place. This includes physical lockouts or stops to prevent operation outside of safe configurations. If within the European Union, there should be a visible sign that indicates the machine does not conform and is not available for operation. This is a requirement of the European Machinery Directive 2006/42/CE and is also recommended practice globally.

Demonstration zone (non-static display)

Permission is required from venue management to demonstrate the MEWP during the event. A designated demonstration zone is to be used with restricted public access. Owing to the risk of dropped objects this area should be clearly marked and monitored. Use a coordinator on the ground to supervise movements. This person needs to be present and available whenever there is movement of the MEWP. Take precautions when operating alongside neighbouring stands. Communicate with their ground coordinator.

The operator and ground coordinator are to wear high-visibility vests. Operate in the slowest speed unless in an area free of machines and obstructions. The chassis and platform to remain within the restricted area. Limit movement to one MEWP at a time. Elevated travel is only in the demonstration zone. Always follow the manufacturer’s instructions for operating the MEWP.

Authorised operators

A list of authorised operators and dedicated key locker should be kept on stand. These are to be available to staff at all times, but not the public. Personnel are not to carry keys around the exhibition.

Fall-protection equipment

All personnel in a boom-type MEWP platform are to wear and connect fall protection equipment, unless the platform is in the stowed position and the machine is powered off. At a minimum this is a full body harness and a short lanyard on 1b, 2b, 3b MEWPs. The lanyard is to be connected to the anchorage designated by the manufacturer. Note that on scissor lifts and vertical masts without jibs the guardrail system provides fall protection.

For more information, visit IPAF.


Latest News
Trackunit connects over 1m assets on SaaS-platform
Latest annual report highlights some of the company’s achievements across 2021
Top 100 crane-owning companies in the world
ICST name the name the largest crane owning companies in 2022
Epiroc wins order for all-electric mine project
The battery-electric equipment will be used at the Onaping Depth Project in Ontario, Canada