May 16, 2022
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The HSE recently issued a technical fault that has been identified with mast climbing work platforms that could cause the platform to fall from height with the potential to cause serious or even fatal injury to anyone using or close to the platform.

These types of work platform use motors to raise and lower a work platform using one or more vertical masts. These platforms are most commonly used in construction, but are also used in other industries for lifting people and equipment where work at height is required, for example where access or maintenance work is required. They can be used as an alternative to traditional scaffolding.

The issue the HSE has discovered is that some platforms, which rely on two independent motor drive units per mast as the means to prevent the platform falling with overspeed, are not fitted with suitable and sufficient controls to manage this risk. Meaning that where mechanical faults in drive units go undetected work platforms could fall from height.

Failures in drive units can mean that neither the centrifugal brakes (intended to limit the speed of descent) nor the automatic brakes (intended to engage when powered travel is stopped) have the intended effect.

The safety alert is advising anyone who uses or sullies such platforms to take immediate action to check that necessary controls are in place to allow the equipment to be used safely.

Full details of the safety alert and the recommended controls can be found on the HSE’s website at:

This includes measures to prevent falling with overspeed, detect malfunctions in drive units, prevent failure of automatic brakes, prevent damage to drive units and to ensure defects and deterioration are detected.