Falls From Height and IPAF
According to the Health & Safety Executive (HSE), falls from height remain the most common cause of workplace fatality, accounting for more than 60% of workplace-related deaths. Falls from height usually involve the use of tower scaffolds or mobile elevated work platforms (MEWPs), which include scissor lifts, cherry pickers, overturning platforms and even low-level access platforms in some cases.
Whilst these machines ordinarily serve to make working from height easier, faster and more practical, they can also present wide opportunity for accidents and injury due to the specialist understanding required for their effective use. Used in industries such as construction, manufacturing and maintenance, MEWPs can often be the reason these areas of profession are regarded as the most susceptible to on-site fatalities.
HSE advises that when managing any work at a height, there are a series of tight controls to be strictly adhered to. First and foremost these include assessment – considering whether the work can be done from the ground; the potential risks, and the issue of clear method statements to all involve. However, it also places great emphasis on the careful selection of equipment required; as well as the appropriate use, movement, erecting and dismantling of the equipment.
So how can you be sure your operators are following through with HSE’s specified practices?
The International Powered Access Federation (IPAF) is a worldwide not-for-profit organisation dedicated to ensuring the safe and effective use of powered access machinery. Set up in 1983, IPAF trains more than 90,000 operators each year through 550 training centres and offers a variety of tailored training packages to suit every business’ needs.
By engaging in one of IPAF’s 1-Day courses in IPAF training, MEWP operating, MEWP management, PASMA certification and Spider training, employees within any trade will be able to proudly carry a Powered Access License (PAL) card, which is held for five years. A PAL card tells site managers an operator has been fully trained and that their organisation is professional and trustworthy, complying with industry standards and working within best practices.
Courses take place at a range of registered IPAF depots across the UK and ensure that MEWP operators are trained, certified and back on site as soon as possible. Kimberly Group is one of many approved IPAF training providers that can help you fulfil your full health and safety obligations regarding all working from height practices.
With recent news worryingly suggesting a 65% increase in the number of platform-related deaths in the first half of 2013, there is no more pressing time to ensure your workforce is abiding by UK laws when it comes to working from height. IPAF Chief Executive Tim Whiteman states that many of the deaths reported each year can be prevented with proper training and the correct procedural use of equipment. This is a concept matched by current figures: so far, no deaths in 2013 have been caused by mechanical problems, which means that human error is likely to be to blame.
So don’t be caught out – ensure your employees are IPAF trained, and take your company to new heights.
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