Andrew Delahunt discusses the implications of the safe use of mobile elevating work platforms (MEWPs) and mast climbing work platforms (MCWPs).
05 March 2018 | Andrew Delahunt
British Standards addressing the safe use of mobile elevating work platforms (MEWPs) and mast climbing work platforms (MCWPs) were introduced in October 2017. Andrew Delahunt discusses the implications.
What has changed?
The new British Standards (BS) 8460 and 7981 were published with little fanfare on the BSI website, but both represent a comprehensive update of existing standards, superseding the 2005 and 2002 versions respectively.
Key changes to BS 8460 include enhanced guidance on risk management, loading and unloading machines, understanding new safety features and fall prevention during machine maintenance. There is more guidance on warning symbols and annexes in the standard on self-familiarisation and rescue plans.
Why has it changed?
The new MEWP standard takes into account the BS EN 280, which specifies design calculations, construction standards, stability criteria, safety, examination and testing requirements. It was drawn up with the participation of HSE representatives and based on feedback from IPAF and its members.
The previous BS8460 and BS7981 had not been updated for over 10 years, so the changing nature of the industry and the technical and safety guidance had in many ways overtaken the standard as published.
Are the amendments important?
Following extensive feedback and consultation from IPAF members, its technical committees, and safety and technical staff, IPAF was pleased to note important considerations such as risk management, loading and unloading, modern MEWP safety measures, decals and warning stickers, familiarisation and rescue plans were all included in the new standard for MEWPs.
The MCWP version also covers risk assessments, rescue plans and familiarisation, and includes example inspection, maintenance, thorough examination checklists and a simplification of the terms and responsibilities relating to MCWP operations. The MCWP standard has a table outlining training requirements with which IPAF can help operators comply.
BS 8460 (MEWP)
This is a full revision of the standard and includes the following key changes:
- New safe use recommendations taking into account the latest edition of BS EN 280.
- Enhanced recommendations for the risk management process.
- New sub-clauses concerning the loading and unloading MEWPs and for - operating MEWPs near sources of electromagnetic radiation in telecommunications.
- Added recommendations for identifying the implications of new safety features on machines, such as telematics, data-logging, load sensors and machine security.
- New recommendations for the prevention of falls while carrying out maintenance on the machine's chassis/structure, the prevention of entrapment, and the operation of secondary guarding.
- Changes to reflect recent legislation; for example, the Construction Design and Manufacturing (CDM) Regulations 2015, and the replacement of HSE guidance CIS 58 with GEIS6.
- References to various guidance documents from the Strategic Forum for Construction, Plant Safety Group on ground conditions, medical fitness to operate construction plant, avoiding trapping/crushing injuries, and inspection and thorough examination.
- New definitions for 'primary guarding', 'secondary guarding', 'user' and 'deck-riding'.
- New informative annexes giving guidance on symbols for MEWPs, machine modifications and CE marking, and controls in addition to the platform controls; self-familiarisation, and giving an example of a rescue plan hierarchy.
BS 7981 (MCWP)
The new MCWP British Standard supersedes BS 7981:2002, which was also withdrawn after having stood for 15 years. It sets out guidance and recommendations to guarantee that MCWPs are installed, dismantled, maintained, examined and used in a safe manner. It includes some key changes.
- Greater detail on the implementation of a risk assessment.
- Simplification of the responsibilities for the safe operation of an MCWP, including: replacement of the term 'user' with 'operator'; the introduction of recommendations for the 'appointed person (user)' and the 'appointed person (supplier)'; the recommendation for a trained installer to remove and reinstall a top tie; and clarification of the role of the demonstrator.
- The replacement of 'induction' with 'familiarisation' and additional recommendations for familiarization.
- Additional recommendations for alteration; thorough examination, including examination following installation, reconfiguration and repositioning; the use of safety harnesses and the preparation of a rescue plan; record retention.
- A new table giving MCWP training needs analysis.
- New example MCWP daily and weekly checklists and a new example checklist for thorough examination.
Andrew Delahunt is technical and safety director at the International Powered Access Federation, which promotes safe and effective use of powered access equipment