Western Australia’s Department of Mines and Petroleum has received dozens of incident reports involving the use of mobile elevated work platforms (MEWPs) over the past 18 months.
According to the Department, MEWPs are being damaged and people injured due to basket placement in or adjacent to a structure with restricted access.
- An employee attempting to manoeuvre into a steel structure was seriously injured when he became trapped between the MEWP control panel and framework.
- All eight connecting bolts between a MEWP basket and rotator assembly sheared when the basket came into contact with a steel structure.
- A MEWP basket knuckle was damaged when the basket became entangled in a steel structure while being withdrawn.
The Department is reminding mine operators of the importance of undertaking risk assessments for work being undertaken using MEWPs. The emergency plan for work in restricted-access areas should include a
suitable response to entrapment or entanglement within a structure.
When using a MEWP, the following measures are recommended:
- conduct a risk assessment that involves operators and spotters before starting a task
- ensure operators and spotters are competent to conduct the task
- where required, use more than one spotter for a specific task.
- have a current high risk work licence for operating the MEWP
- be assessed as competent for the type of MEWP to be used, as well as the work to be done and operating environment
- conduct a pre-start check before a machine is operated to ensure it is responsive to control commands
- keep all parts of their body within the confines of the MEWP basket while in operation.
- be in a position to see and advise on hazards
- establish suitable communications with the MEWP operator and other work parties in the vicinity
- not be distracted by doing other tasks while the MEWP is in use.
- maintain each MEWP onsite to OEM requirements so it operates as expected.