Effective Training is Key to MEWP Success
Operator error is the main cause of MEWP accidents, highlighting the importance of proper training and certification of operators.
Whether a manager decides to rent a mobile elevating work platform (MEWP) or purchase one, the key to a successful, long-term experience is effective safety training for operators and mechanics. The main cause for MEWP accidents and deaths is operator error. Only professionally trained and certified operators should be authorized to operate the specific type of MEWP.
Maintenance planners can help managers develop standard times for tasks that managers can use as a practical test of an operator who has completed the written test. Completing a job in the standard time using the standard method is proof the operator has mastered the safe and productive use of the MEWP.
Managers can choose from among many programs that offer online training at an individualized pace. For example, one course OSHA offers for scissor lifts includes the following benefits:
• complete OSHA-accepted scissor lift training and evaluation
• one hour to complete the entire training
• all documents required by OSHA
• daily inspection checklist, which is an OSHA requirement
• attendance sheet for human resources use and OSHA compliance
• written and driving tests to review employee’s skills
• online test that can be taken an unlimited number of times
• printed certificate of achievement immediately after passing the test
The maintenance manual provided by the manufacturer should guide the pre-startup, repair and preventive maintenance programs. Maintenance technicians also must be trained to work on the specific MEWP before attempting to operate or repair it.
Thomas A. Westerkamp is a maintenance and engineering management consultant and president of the work management division of Westerkamp Group LLC.