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IPAF Introduces Spreader Plate Calculator

IPAF Introduces Spreader Plate Calculator

The International Powered Access Federation has launched the “ready reckoner”, a conversion tool that helps operators calculate appropriate spreader plate sizes to ensure the safe use of powered access equipment.


This new tool builds on IPAF’s international “Spread the Load” campaign, which states that spreader plates should always be used with boom lifts, or boom-type mobile elevating work platforms (MEWPs), when fully supported on their outriggers. Spreader plates should be used with all other MEWPs that have outriggers unless a risk assessment indicates they are not necessary.


The “ready reckoner” conversion tool enables operators to quickly understand the weights and loadings that need to be considered when using spreader plates. By entering the weights of machines and identifying the different soil types, operators can then identify the suitable size and specification of spreader plates to be used. Spreader plates should have sufficient size, stiffness, and strength to spread the load over the required area.


“A significant problem is that manufacturers currently use a variety of units for measuring relative bearing pressures,” said IPAF technical officer Chris Wraith. “The new conversion tool makes it clear and simple for operators looking for ready guidance. The campaign message is straightforward: Always do a risk assessment and check ground conditions. Know the weight of machines and be aware of machine point loadings and ground load-bearing capacities.”


The “ready reckoner”, together with a free video and stickers and posters, is available at



Lift & Access is part of the Catalyst Communications Network publication family.