The International Powered Access Federation (IPAF) has introduced a comprehensive new guide to help reduce electrocution and electric shock incidents involving Mobile Elevating Work Platforms (MEWPs) near power lines.
The guide, titled Safe Use of MEWPs in the Vicinity of Power Lines, was developed in collaboration with the IPAF International Safety Committee (ISC) and supporting members. It debuted at the ConExpo event in Las Vegas, Nevada, as part of IPAF's High Voltage! global safety campaign.
Initially available in English, the guidance document will be offered in other languages and regional versions following industry feedback. The digital format is free to view and download, with a print-ready option for organizations to produce co-branded hard copies.
Brian Parker, IPAF’s Head of Safety & Technical, highlighted the growing issue of electrocutions and electric shocks involving MEWPs since 2015. He emphasized the importance of workplace safety culture and awareness in reducing accidents.
“As with all common causes of accidents involving MEWPs, workplace safety culture and behavior can play a big part in reducing the number of incidents. Ignorance or lack of awareness of the main underlying risks can lead to complacency and potential exposure to unsafe situations. It was clear that this is another of those all-too-common type of incident that our industry should be doing much more to understand and eradicate, which nearly always result in serious, life-changing injury or death," said Parker.
The new guide aims to inform those planning and managing MEWP operations, raise awareness of hazards and risks, and identify risk control measures and safe systems of work to reduce incidents.
The guidance document focuses on key safety practices, including thorough planning, operator training, maintaining exclusion zones, and having a rescue plan in place.
Peter Douglas, CEO & MD of IPAF, hopes the High Voltage! campaign will help address common safety incidents involving powered access, emphasizing the collective responsibility of the industry to act.
“This is a comprehensive new document and I trust the powered access industry will find it useful in planning and conducting work at height in the vicinity of power lines. Our accident data shows there is a particular prevalence of this type of incident in the US, so to launch the latest IPAF global safety campaign here at ConExpo is ideal,” said Peter Douglas, CEO & MD of IPAF.