Logistics & Materials Handling Blog

Reducing Crush Risks for Elevating Work Platforms Operators

by Paul Hinz
Filed under: Elevating Work Platforms

In our previous blog post examined ways to reduce the risk of falling from mobile elevating work platforms (MEWP).

This week’s blog looks at another key safety concern for EWP operators the risk of being crushed while operating EWP units.

Worksafe Victoria highlight that serious and fatal injuries commonly occur to EWP operators as a result of themselves or passengers being crushed against overhead or adjacent structures whilst the EWP is in operation.

Some examples of situations where operators and passengers are likely to be exposed to increased risk of crush injuries include (but are not limited to):

  • The EWP basket or platform is operating in an area where there are overhead or adjacently fixed structures such as roofing, scaffolding, cables or pipework
  • The EWP basket moving unexpectedly due to factors such as uneven ground, control malfunction or operator unfamiliarity with controls
  • Ground based obstacles in close proximity to the EWP that the unit may hit or distract the operator diverting their attention away from overhead hazards

191011 blog Emergency Lowering Plate link

Worksafe state it is up to owners and operators so far a reasonably possible to identify all hazards and eliminate as much as possible the risks associated in the area of operation before operating an EWP.

If the risk cannot be fully eliminated it is recommended control measures are implemented to mitigate the risk as much as possible.

Boom Type EWP Risk Control Measures
Boom type EWP’s operate in situations where operators are at an increased risk of being crush against a physical structure.

Worksafe Victoria recommends operator protective devices be fitted to the unit’s platform or bucket, these can include:

  • Physical barriers attached to the basket or platform
  • Pressure sensing devices positioned over the control panel which can detect potential crush incidents and prevent further unit hazardous unit movement
  • Proximity sensing devices which prevent the EWP basket or platform from manoeuvring into crushing proximity of structures

Scissor Type EWP Risk Control Measures
Worksafe Victoria recommends operators should consider the full range of risk control measures when operating scissor type EWP units dependent on the operational environment.

Measures may include:

  • ‘Lower before travel’ policy stating before any movement the unit must be fully lowered, thus completely clearing operators and passengers from any overhead structures before travelling
  • Driving scissor lift EWP units using the external control (where fitted to the unit) when travelling through doorways or through areas with overhead structures

Worksafe also recommends that if risks are still present even after all relevant control measures have been implemented, administrative controls must be instituted to further reduce risk.

Administrative controls may include:

  • All operators must be familiar with the particular EWP units controls
  • Regular unit inspections and maintenance regimes must be adhered to as per the manufacturer recommendations
  • Alter work procedures to reduce risks (e.g. rather than paint beams from an EWP, paint the beam on the floor and then use the EWP to install only thus reducing the time and movements of the EWP amongst fixed structures)
  • Increased operator supervision
  • Ensuring all operators and passengers are aware of emergency procedures for the particular unit they’re operating before commencing operations
  • Assigning a trained safety observer who can operate the units ground based controls in the event of an emergency

All Dingli access equipment supplied by Adaptalift Group are regularly maintained by our expert technicians and can easily be fitted with crush risk control measures ensuring all operators and passengers are protected whilst working.

For more information on the full range of Dingli access equipment supplied by Adaptalift please ring 13 22 54 or email info@aalhyster.com.au.

Reference List

  1. Controlling crush risks when using mobile elevating work platforms (MEWPs). (2019). [ebook] Melbourne: Worksafe Victoria, pp.1-4. Available at: https://content.api.worksafe.vic.gov.au/sites/default/files/2018-06/ISBN-Controlling-crush-risks-when-using-mobile-elevating-work-platforms-fact-sheet-2018-03.pdf [Accessed 8 Oct. 2019].
  2. Worksafe Victoria (2016). Overhead crush and electrocution hazards when using boom lifts. [video] Available at: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kVsk638DQzs [Accessed 9 Oct. 2019].
  3. Worksafe Victoria (2016). Overhead crush and electrocution hazards when using scissor lifts. [video] Available at: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Vd1MR_VOpUU [Accessed 9 Oct. 2019].

Published By: Paul Hinz