Large UK sites under scrutiny

20 March 2008

HSE's Justine Lee at the IPAF Summit in March.

HSE's Justine Lee at the IPAF Summit in March.

The inspections will be undertaken between October this year and March 2008 and will follow publication in June of a new Construction Information Sheet on the management of aerial work platforms on site.

Ms Justine Lee, an aerial platform specialist within HSE's construction sector safety team, speaking at the IPAF Summit conference on 27 March, said; “The inspections are not enforcement led; it is to try and educate people.” However, she said if inspections found instances of platforms not being managed properly, improvement notices could be served.

The new Construction Information Sheet, which is being written with input from IPAF and other industry bodies, is aimed at those who select and manage aerial platforms on site. It will cover topics such as risk assessments and selection criteria; “Planning is crucial to safe operation of MEWPs”, said Ms Lee.

Ms Lee said the accident rate for MEWPs remained low, but that asignificant proportion of the accidents that do occur were the result of poor planning rather than operator error. She said MEWP accidents were not yet a problem; “but it could be potentially...I think we need to be proactive. The area to be proactive is the management and control of MEWPs on site”.

Meanwhile, IPAF is about to launch in the UK a new training course for MEWP managers. The programme has taken four years to develop and is now available through a number of UK IPAF raining centres. The course draws heavily on UK regulations, but IPAF said it intended to develop similar training courses for other countries.

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