New Guidance on the Safe Use of MEWPS Near Power Lines

June 28, 2023
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The International Powered Access Federation (IPAF) has released new guidance as part of their High Voltage! global electric safety campaign.

The IPAF High Voltage! campaign is designed to help those planning and using MEWPs to properly consider the hazards and risks associated with working near power lines and what control measures can be taken to safely negotiate the risks.

The campaign includes a number of resources including an operator’s safety guide, risk assessment, aerial work platform equipment selection, safety poster and shorts, toolbox talk and global safety report. This guidance is the latest part of this campaign.

The guidance includes information on:

  • Powerlines and the risk of electrocution and shocks
  • Statistics on accidents involving electricity
  • Planning for work near powerlines
  • Undertaking risk assessments for working near powerlines
  • Dealing with regional electrical infrastructure (such as transmission lines and distribution lines)
  • Emergency procedures to follow when an individual receives an electric shock
  • Typical signage for powerlines around the world

IPAF highlight the need for those operating and planning MEWP work to read the guidance with electrocutions and electric shocks notably increasing since 2015, the majority resulting in fatalities. IPAF also highlight several points often missed when working with MEWPS near powerlines:

  • Electrocution can occur as a result of arcing or flashover from powerlines
  • Remembering that powerlines can be below you or to the side when using MEWPS
  • That working in dense trees and plants can hide or obscure powerlines
  • Workplace safety culture is key to reducing incidence

The guidance is available to download for free on the IPAF website.

If you have any questions or would like support with managing issues at your workplace, please speak to your usual contact or get in touch using the form below.