The new guidance document, entitled Safe Use of MEWPs in the Vicinity of Power Lines, has been developed by IPAF in collaboration with the IPAF International Safety Committee (ISC) and supporting members and is available to view or download initially in English. After being launched officially at Conexpo, and following industry review and consideration of any feedback, the document will be made available in other languages and region-specific versions.
The document can be viewed and downloaded free of charge in digital format and is also available print-ready, allowing organisations to produce co-branded hard copies as required. Brian Parker, IPAF’s Head of Safety & Technical, says: “By analysing data from the past ten years of accident reporting via IPAF’s portal, it’s evident that incidents involving electrocutions and electric shocks have notably increased since 2015. One standout statistic is that reported incidents of electrocution are nearly always fatal.
“Working in the vicinity of energised power lines can expose workers to health and safety risks including death by electrocution or electric shock. If a MEWP or its occupants contact energised power lines it can cause instant death, electric shock or other injuries caused directly or indirectly by electricity. Equally serious can be the effect of electricity arcing from the power line to a MEWP and its occupants.
“As with all common causes of accidents involving MEWPs, workplace safety culture, and behaviour can play a big part in reducing the number of incidents. Ignorance or lack of awareness of the main underlying risks can lead to complacency and potential exposure to unsafe situations. It was clear that this is another of those all-too-common types of incidents that our industry should be doing much more to understand and eradicate, which nearly always result in serious, life-changing injury or death.
“IPAF has prepared a brand new, comprehensive guidance document, which we hope will assist all those planning, operating, and supervising the use MEWPs in the vicinity of power lines in identifying and understanding the risks. The guide outlines measures that can reduce or mitigate these and in turn reduce the occurrence of incidents involving contact with or arcing from power lines.”