MEWP accident highlights critical importance of training

It has been reported that a demolition has been fined £200,000 after  the operator of a mobile elevating work platform (MEWP) – or cherry picker – became trapped between the platform rail and the roof of an industrial shed.

FASET (Fall Arrest Safety Equipment Training) would like to share the story, below, as a way of highlighting the dangers inherent in this kind of work when inadequate safety measures are taken.

First and foremost we would like to express our sympathy for the individual concerned, who has suffered a terrible ordeal. It is our belief, as the trade association and training body for the safety netting and temporary safety systems industry, that more trades should adopt IPAF (International Powered Access Federation) PAL Plus Training as the minimum standard. That is what we advocate for our members as best practice to minimise the risk of accidents occurring.

In this particular accident, Manchester Magistrates Court heard how on Thursday 2nd November 2017 a worker contracted by Bradley Demolition was accessing the underside of the roof in Bredbury to remove asbestos sheets. As the articulate boom lift continued to elevate, he became trapped by his neck between the basket of the machine and a roof truss. As a result of the incident the operator suffered life changing injuries which will require lifelong care.

An investigation by the Health & Safety Executive (HSE) into the incident found that the vehicle was not fitted with a propriety anti-crushing device to avoid the likelihood of operators being crushed. The risk assessment did not sufficiently identify the entrapment hazard, and there was no effective communication with banksmen on the ground. An inadequate plan led to the operator being trapped for a sustained period of time.

Bradley Demolition Ltd of Kent Street, Preston pleaded guilty to breaches of Regulation 2(1) of the Health and Safety at Work etc. Act 1974. The company was fined £200,000 and ordered to pay costs of £21,838.56.

HSE inspector David Argument said after the hearing: “If a suitable safe system of work had been in place prior to the incident, the life changing injuries sustained by the employee could have been prevented.”

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