Mobile elevating work platforms used in orchards

Safety Alert | 01/11/2016

This safety alert reminds owners and operators of mobile elevating work platforms (MEWPs) to be aware of the machine’s capabilities and always operate within its limits.

Background

A worker sustained fatal injuries while operating a three wheeled MEWP on a terraced property while picking avocados. The MEWP was found tipped over with the boom and basket in the fully extended position.

Three wheeled orchard MEWP tipped over.

Action required

  • inspect and maintain equipment as per the manufacturer’s specifications, including  daily inspections before operating the MEWP
  • keep maintenance and inspection records
  • where possible, remove hazards including logs, large tree branches, large rocks and thick undergrowth from the operating areas of the MEWP
  • ensure controls are correctly labelled and legible
  • develop safe work procedures with a site map highlighting any known site specific hazards, eg:
    • steep gradients that are outside the manufacturer's recommendations for the machine
    • slippery, soft or uneven ground, ruts and washouts
    • banks, pits, drains and irrigation lines
    • animal burrows
    • power lines and fences
  • train and assess operators to ensure  they are  competent for each model of MEWP they operate
  • operators should:
    • have a clear understanding of the machine’s capabilities
    • be familiar with the hazards included in the site map and are able to follow the safe work procedure
    • have easy access to operator’s manual
  • the MEWP should never be operated on soft surfaces or side-on to any sloping ground steeper than recommended by the manufacturer
  • operators should wear an appropriate restraint device with fixed length lanyard that restricts the operator to the basket
  • re-assess operators for competency on a regular basis

Further information

Australian standard AS 1418.10-2011: Cranes, hoists and winches – Mobile elevating work platforms

Australian standard AS 2550.10-2006: Cranes, hoists and winches – Safe use - Mobile elevating work platforms

Work health and safety legislation Work Health and Safety Act 2011 and Work Health and Safety Regulation 2011

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