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Raising the Stakes for MEWP Selection and Use
OTHER PARTS OF THIS ARTICLEPt. 1: This PagePt. 2: MEWPs: New Training RequirementsPt. 3: MEWPs: Buy or Rent?
HVAC equipment, roofing systems and plumbing systems generally attract more attention from maintenance and engineering managers, but recent action related to the American National Standards Institute (ANSI) standards A92 has moved one piece of equipment — aerial work platforms — further up the priority list.
“A92 standards have changed everything,” says Patrick Blackburn with Teupen North America. “They bring a bigger focus in thorough machine checks and maintenance of mobile elevating work platforms (MEWPs). ANSI sets the stage for design and use of MEWPs. With these updates, managers can focus on their worksite needs and specify the proper MEWP for the posed problem.”
Managers and their departments will have one year from the date of publication — Dec. 10, 2018 — to comply with the updated standards. The updated A92 standards address changes to terminology, supervisor and operator training, equipment classification, machine design and safe use.
Feeling the effects
The updated standards will affect the way technicians use MEWPs in commercial and institutional facilities, as well as the considerations for managers specifying MEWPs, especially when it comes to the decision to buy or rent.
“Any time standards are changed, it requires some re-education on machine design, training, and safe use, as well as the roles and responsibilities of all the stakeholders,” says Jason Solhjem with Reechcraft Inc. “As machines become more sophisticated and standards evolve, it requires continual education and perhaps new processes to keep checks and balances on the equipment usage.”
Just as facilities, supervisors, and operators must comply with the updated A92 standards, manufacturers are responding to the new requirements.
“Manufacturers are going to begin to roll out or have already begun to roll out machines that meet the new standards,” says Rick Smith with JLG Industries. “The biggest impact from an equipment perspective (is that) all of the new A92.20 machines will have load sensing on them. “
Load sensors bring envelope restrictions to updated equipment. When a machine with sensors is carrying a certain amount of weight, it will not go past a certain height. When the load decreases, the MEWP can extend further.
“Machines have a whole range of capacities at what we call envelopes,” Smith says. “You might have a 1,000-pound limit within a certain reach or envelope. Then that capacity can be reduced in order to give you additional reach.”
As a result of the changes, before beginning the specification process, managers and operators will need to understand the kind of work the MEWP will be used for and the amount of weight it will have to carry. With this information, managers are more likely to specify products that meets technicians’ needs.
Managers specifying MEWPs also need to consider a worksite’s characteristics and challenges in making their decision.
“Various physical attributes of a worksite will affect the type of product that is best suited for that worksite,” says Bill Dovey with JLG. “Things like the size of doorways and corridors that have to be traveled through, overhead obstructions, and ground surfaces all affect the specification of MEWPs.
“A lot of these products are pretty heavy, and you have to be aware of the ability of the surface to support that load. You have to also be aware of hazards like ledges and dropoffs. Plus the height or location of the work that needs to get done is going to affect the size of the machine that needs to get ordered.”