Working at height can be dangerous if you don’t use the proper equipment. With a powered access platform, you can reduce risk and increase your safety when using MEWPs, such as a scissor lift or cherry picker. However, it’s vital to ensure that your powered access platforms remain efficient, functional, safe and clean.
There are various checks you can carry out and criteria that your MEWP will have to meet to ensure that it’s safe for use. If you hire a MEWP from Horizon Platforms, it will be delivered to you complete with a full service history and Lifting Operations and Lifting Equipment Regulations 1998 (LOLER) certificate, however, it’s your responsibility to ensure that it remains safe for use onsite and checked daily. You’ll also need to carry out an assessment of the environment you’re planning to operate your powered access platform in, as certain ground conditions can make using some access platforms unsafe.
At Horizon Platforms, we put safety first and, to help you minimise the chance of an accident or injury occurring onsite, we’ve put together this blog to help you understand how to inspect your MEWP.
What is a MEWP Inspection?
A MEWP inspection is a series of visual and functional checks that can be carried out to ensure the MEWP is safe for use. The criteria for these inspections is set by IPAF (International Powered Access Federation) and all standards need to be met for a powered access platform to be declared usable.
Regularly carrying out these checks on your MEWP will help you avoid risk when working at height, as hazards can be identified before use. If your powered access platform is being used regularly in busy factories and warehouses, it may require frequent cleaning, not only for hygiene purposes but also to ensure that the safety stickers on the powered access platform are visible as this is a LOLER requirement.
Inspecting Your MEWP
If your MEWP has not been checked and declared safe for use, you shouldn’t operate it as you will be putting yourself at unnecessary risk. IPAF has a specific checklist which outlines exactly which parts of the MEWP should be checked and how to evaluate them. It’s important that the MEWP is checked daily by the operator to ensure that health and safety regulations are met. It also states that all checks must be made in accordance with the manufacturer’s manual, which leads us nicely to the first step of the inspection process.
The inspection must begin by examining the correct documentation, which includes the manufacturer’s operator manual and rescue plan. The next step is to check the body of the MEWP, identifying any fuel leaks, checking hydraulic fluid levels and evaluating the condition of the MEWP’s chassis.There is also a need for a battery check on battery powered mewps. (electrolyte, security & charging plug condition).
Once the visual checks have been carried out on the MEWP, the function inspection must take place to ensure it’s able to be operated safely and freely. These checks ensure that all controls, lights and alarms are working properly.
Once the inspection has been completed and the MEWP is declared safe for use, a fully IPAF trained operator can use the powered access platform. To learn more about IPAF training, visit our guide: What Is IPAF Training & Why Is It Important?
Before we deliver your MEWP to you, we’ll carry out a thorough pre-delivery inspection to ensure it’s in good working order. This is a crucial step in the process of buying or hiring a MEWP as it will need to be clean and fully functional before it’s delivered. The inspection ensures that any issues with the machine are detected and remedied, and makes sure health and safety requirements are met.
The pre-delivery inspection includes three vital steps. The first is a check when the MEWP arrives at our depot to ensure it is in good condition. The next is a thorough pre-delivery inspection which must meet PUWER and LOLER standards. The third step is one final good-to-go check, to ensure that nothing has been missed and to make sure customers only ever receive a MEWP in full working condition.
It’s important that when using a MEWP you carry out the necessary safety checks on a regular basis. It’s crucial that all on-site powered access platforms are functional and that all features are working properly – this includes operating buttons, hydraulic lifts and emergency stop controls. The checklist for any MEWP’s daily inspection will be outlined in the machine’s operating manual.
Within the operating manual, you will be able to find a daily pre-use checklist, which must be completed and recorded at the beginning of each working day by the operator to ensure the machine remains fully functional and safe. The checklist also provides proof the checks have been completed, which is important for supervisors undertaking safety checks throughout the day.
For a full pre-inspection checklist to help you declare your powered access platform fit for use, see our handy guide below:
As the operator of the MEWP, it is your legal responsibility as part of Provision and Use of Work Equipment Regulations (PUWER) (1998) to ensure that the powered access platforms you’re using are in good working order, maintained and repaired before use.
Inspecting The Working Environment
As MEWPs are typically large, heavy machines, it’s important to ensure that the ground you’re going to be working on is sturdy enough to support it. Without carrying out an assessment of the ground, you could unknowingly be working on uneven ground or above a hollow area beneath the surface. It’s also possible for ground that is unsettled, such as soil, to shift when it’s tasked with supporting a heavy load, which can overturn a MEWP.
When carrying out a ground inspection, you should look out for the following hazards:
Filled Land – Loose soil and uncompacted ground which can give way under the weight of the MEWP.
Ground Excavations – Open trenches which can collapse and shift the ground from underneath the MEWP.
Raised Floors & Basements – Any floors above ground level or basements which may not have the structural strength to support the weight of a MEWP.
Paving Stones – Pavings can be laid on weaker ground, which can support the weight of a person, but not heavy machinery such as an access platform.
Unstable Roads – Damage and distress to roads can be a weakness when under pressure from the weight of a MEWP, and could cause the ground to give way.
Hollow Ground – Sewers, drains and manholes can give way and collapse under the weight of a MEWP.
Once you have properly assessed the ground, you should select a MEWP which is most suitable for use on that specific terrain. However, if the ground is unable to support the weight of the MEWP, you should avoid operating any powered access platform on this ground as this would be extremely unsafe.
MEWP Safety With Horizon Platforms
At Horizon Platforms, we always thoroughly check our MEWPs at three different stages (when the MEWP arrives at our depot, a pre-delivery inspection and a final good-to-go check) and ensure that LOLER regulations are met ahead of sending our powered access platforms out for delivery, so you can enjoy complete peace of mind when hiring or buying a MEWP from us.
We also offer IPAF training which educates employees on the safe use and operation of MEWPs. It is essential to have this training before attempting to use a powered access platform. To learn more about the training we offer, including pre-delivery inspection training, please don’t hesitate to contact us.