Mobile Elevated Work Platforms or MEWPs are mobile equipment that are used to give workers access to elevated areas in a factory or warehouse. Typically, MEWPs use technology such as hydraulics to raise the platform. This is significantly safer than using a ladder. The other advantage of using MEWPs is the fact that they allow workers to have enough elevated space to carry their tools and other things that they need to work in elevated places. Being mobile, the MEWP can be moved from one end of the facility to another, thus offering unparalleled convenience.
The downside to MEWPs is that they can pose a significant hazard to workers if not used properly. MEWPs have been known to fall over or get entangled with overhead electrical wiring. The net result in an accident that could have easily been prevented. Here then are some top tips for MEWP operators.
Height Safety Tips
One of the most common MEWP accidents is when workers on the elevated platform are crushed by an overhead obstruction (such as a roof). This can be prevented by setting up a buffer that is situated above the MEWP and can easily prevent the workers from being crushed. However, the need for the mechanical buffer can be minimized if the operators take their time to understand the workspace that they want to operate in.
Getting the Right MEWP
Not all MEWPs can function in the same spaces. For example, if you are looking to operate in an indoor facility such as a warehouse, it makes a lot of sense to choose a MEWP that is electrical. This is because the emissions from a conventional engine can overcome the operator and lead to accidents such as falls. If you are operating outdoors, then fumes are not such a major problem. However, a MEWP with outdoor terrain capability will be needed to ensure that you can operate safely even if the ground is uneven. You need to also account for factors such as wind, mud, and other environmental factors that could lead to accidents.
Train Your MEWP Operators
The ability to handle MEWPs is critical to their safe use. If this is the first time that your facility is using a MEWP, it is important to ensure that workers, operators, and anybody else involved in the use of the MEWP (such as supervisors) are adequately trained. When conducting this training, it is important to get highly trained MEWP instructors to conduct the training. It also helps to conduct the training within the same environment where the MEWP will be used. Even a slight variation might necessitate training. For example, if your workers are used to using MEWPs while indoors and now have to use them outdoors, it is important to carry out a training session for them.
Before operating the MEWP, it is important for a trained expert to check the machine in order to catch any issues with the MEWP. This expert can be the machine operator, but they have to have been trained to know what to look out for. One should not forget to check emergency lowering mechanisms as these are often neglected until it is too late. Another important factor to consider is developing rescue guidelines in case of an accident. Thinking of potential accidents and planning for a response beforehand ensures that any workers in distress can quickly be rescued and given medical help as soon as possible.