According to a recent survey of accidents involving mobile elevating work platforms (MEWPs) safety managers need to pay more attention to delivery drivers. The findings were announced at the Vertikal Days exhibition in Haydock Park, near London, where the International Powered Access Federation (IPAF) demonstrated safe loading and unloading of MEWPs.
A total of 303 MEWP-related incidents were reported by IPAF UK rental company members involving their employees and employees of their customers where they have been made aware of incidents. The initial findings were based on a British safety survey conducted from January 2012 until the end of April 2013. IPAF rental company members in the UK were asked to report any known MEWP accidents involving their staff at the IPAF accident database.
Of these incidents, 46.2% (140) resulted in injury, 43.2% (131) resulted in damage, and 10.6% (32) were near misses. Loading and unloading of MEWPs is potentially one of the most dangerous activities, an area that IPAF is focusing on. About a third of the incidents involved drivers (34.3%, 104). Industry sources estimate that there are approximately one million movements of MEWPs (delivery and collection) by road every year in the UK. Other incidents involved engineers (25.1%, 76), customers (22.4%, 68) and operators (18.2%, 55).
Closer analysis of the 140 incidents resulting in injury reveals certain patterns. The main causes of injuries were: slips/trips/falls at the same level (23.6%, 33), manual handling (16.4%, 23) and use of hand tools (15%, 21). Further down the list were: stranded in equipment (10%, 14), fall from height (7.1%, 10), walked/bumped into equipment (6.4%, 9) and injury while using the upper controls of a scissor lift while walking beside the machine, sometimes referred to as dog leading (6.4%, 9). (More information on the top three causes of incidents for each job role, with examples and recommendations for accident prevention, can be found at
Commenting on the findings, IPAF technical officer Chris Wraith said: “It is interesting to see that the initial data has produced no real surprises. The industry is aware of the hazards and risks rental company employees are exposed to, including dog leading, falls from the truck body, slips/trips etc. With this factual data, IPAF can do more to create greater awareness and support its members in reducing the frequency and severity of such incidents. Through focused safety campaigns, we can help drive behavioral change and improve safety throughout the rental industry.”
Almost 95 of a total of 125 IPAF UK member rental companies have registered to report MEWP-related incidents at the IPAF database. Those who commit to report and sign off monthly get access to a dashboard that shows their company’s incident figures against the national average, a major benefit for health and safety benchmarking.
“The findings are groundbreaking,” said IPAF CEO Tim Whiteman. “Credit is due to IPAF’s UK member rental companies for committing to report any known MEWP accidents involving their staff, and to the combined efforts of the IPAF UK Country Council in championing this project. IPAF is looking to start similar initiatives in other countries.”
IPAF is a not-for-profit members’ organization that promotes the safe and effective use of powered access equipment worldwide. Their web site is