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23 Fatalities Over 6 months Involved Aerial Work Platforms, With 1 Million AWPs In Use
September 2014 — There were 23 fatalities worldwide involving aerial work platforms (AWPs), also known as mobile elevating work platforms (MEWPs), in the first half of 2014, according to findings from the International Powered Access Federation's accident database.
The main causes of these fatalities were: overturn (9), fall from height (8), entrapment (3), electrocution (2), and technical/mechanical (1). Note: One of the entrapment fatalities involved a person on the ground being crushed between the base of the AWP and another structure.
Eleven of the fatalities involved mobile booms and 10 involved static booms. In two cases, the machine type is as yet unconfirmed.
Of these fatalities, 13 occurred in the United States, two in Germany, and one each in Australia, Austria, Columbia, Malaysia, Singapore, South Africa, Spain, and the UK.
“More companies are participating in the accident-reporting project, which is generating more data in its third year, but it is too early to draw comparisons,” said Chris Wraith, IPAF technical and safety executive.
“This is a unique ground-breaking program by the powered access industry to undertake ongoing analysis to learn lessons and improve safety worldwide. Preliminary findings from the accident-reporting project have provided a rich source for improving IPAF’s training programs and safety initiatives, for example, with regards to the safe loading and unloading of machines, and managing electrocution risks when working near power lines.”
IPAF’s accident data is based on information collected in a number of ways: directly reported to the IPAF accident database at www.ipaf.org/accident, information obtained by IPAF staff worldwide, and information collated from press releases and news reports.
The comprehensiveness of the data cannot be guaranteed, but where appropriate, action is taken to verify the facts. The data is updated should relevant information become available.
“Accidents do occur, but we should keep in perspective that with over 1 million rental units worldwide, AWPs are one of the safest ways to do temporary work at height,” said IPAF CEO Tim Whiteman. “And IPAF’s accident-reporting project is designed to make a safe industry even safer.”
All manufacturers, rental companies, contractors, and users are encouraged to report any known fatal and serious accidents involving aerial work platforms (AWPs) and mast climbing work platforms (MCWPs) worldwide at the IPAF accident database. The project is open to IPAF members and non-members, and includes an option for anonymous reporting.