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MEWP fatality rate stable despite fleet growth

The fatal injury rate for mobile elevating work platforms (MEWPs) remained constant in 2015 despite global fleet growth, according to the International Powered Access Federation (IPAF)

The MEWP-related fatal injury rate remained stable in 2015, despite growth within the global fleet size and number of rental days.
The MEWP-related fatal injury rate remained stable in 2015, despite growth within the global fleet size and number of rental days.
End users must share incident data to help keep the industry safe, according to IPAF’s Chris Wraith (above).
End users must share incident data to help keep the industry safe, according to IPAF’s Chris Wraith (above).

The fatal injury rate for mobile elevating work platforms (MEWPs) has remained stable, despite growth in the global fleet and number of rental days during 2015.

According to data released by the International Powered Access Federation (IPAF), MEWPs remain one of the safest ways to perform temporary work at height.

The number of days a rented machines was operated during 2015 was 192.2 million, and the number of reported MEWP fatalities was 68, resulting in a fatal injury rate of just 0.035. Of the 68 reported MEWP fatalities, the main causes were overturn, falls from height, electrocution, and entrapment.

In 2014, the number of days a rented machine was operated was 182.4 million, and the number of reported MEWP fatalities was 64, resulting in a fatal injury rate of 0.035, identical to that of last year.

This figure has improved slightly since 2013, in which the number of days a rented machine was operated was 168.4 million, and the number of MEWP fatalities was 68 – a fatal injury rate of 0.040.

In a presentation delivered at the IPAF Summit in Madrid, Spain, Chris Wraith, IPAF technical and safety executive, noted that since international accident data is presented in different formats, it is sometimes difficult to draw useful comparisons.

“MEWPs are part of the solution in preventing falls from height, but we should recognise that [these units] introduce hazards that need managing,” Wraith commented.

“Engineering control is one option, and the industry is starting to work together on a global scale to ensure continual improvement,” he added.

The MEWP fatal injury rate as calculated by IPAF takes into account the following factors: estimated rental fleet size based on the IPAF Powered Access Rental Market Reports; estimated average utilisation rates per country and worldwide, defined as the share of the fleet out on rent at any time during a year; average days worked annually, calculated at five days per week for 50 weeks per year; and the number of fatalities involving MEWPs in a given year, based on the IPAF accident reporting project.

Launched in 2012, IPAF’s accident reporting project is designed to create a comprehensive record of accidents. The accident date gathered is used to improve the content of IPAF-accredited training programmes, to develop technical guidance, to target specific high-risk professions and activities, and to provide research findings that can influence standards.

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