Horizon Platforms Blog

Understanding Your MEWPS

MEWPs are versatile machines and are suitable for a range of applications that require working at height. Within the category of MEWPs, there are various different types, variations and brands, each with unique capabilities.

In this piece, we’ll explain everything you need to know about MEWPs. 

What Is A MEWP?

MEWP stands for Mobile Elevating Work Platform and encompasses a range of different types of machines. MEWPs are used for working at heights and completing jobs that would otherwise be extremely difficult or unsafe without an elevated platform.

Powered access platforms are available with different outreach lengths, platform widths and working heights. There are plenty of choices when searching for the perfect MEWP, but it’s important to know what types are available and their benefits.

MEWPs are an excellent and much safer alternative to static equipment such as steps and ladders as they allow for fluid mobility and additional security. Powered access platforms can be complex pieces of equipment and it’s important that only sufficiently trained employees operate the equipment.

What Are The Different Types Of MEWPs 

There are various different types of MEWPs, each suitable for a range of applications and unique in the way that they operate. No two MEWPs are the same and will offer their own myriad of benefits.

Knowing how each machine works and the advantages of specific types will allow you to make a well-informed decision when choosing your powered access platform. 

Below is a list of the different types of access platforms Horizon Platforms can provide:

What is a Scissor Lift?

Scissor lifts are easily recognisable due to their distinct raising mechanism, which resembles the way that a pair of scissors would work. This design allows for the platform at the top of the mechanism to be raised directly up or down. 

Scissor lifts are extremely sturdy, can hold a large amount of weight and can reach heights of over 70ft.

Scissor lifts are suitable for undertaking various jobs at heights, such as:

  • Maintenance
  • Inspection
  • Painting and decorating
  • Construction
  • Installation

There are scissor lifts available which utilise different power sources, so you’re able to find one which perfectly suits your required application. This includes diesel, petrol, electric battery-powered and hydraulic powered scissor lifts. When working indoors, a battery powered MEWP will be more suitable, due to it producing no emissions as a diesel or petrol machine would.

In order to receive a licence to operate these MEWPs, you will need to have training on how to use each different type. At Horizon Platforms, we offer IPAF training to teach you the required skills.

large volume of electric scissor lifts in Horizon Platforms' depot

What is a Cherry Picker?

Cherry pickers are a versatile MEWP and suitable for work that requires an elevated platform that can be easily manoeuvred. Also known as a ‘boom lifts’ and feature an extendable boom that raises and lowers the platform. This boom is often mounted on a base that can swivel, allowing for the raised platform to manoeuvre within a 360° radius. 

The controls for the machine are located in the cherry picker’s bucket, allowing a trained professional to easily operate the machine. 

The diverse ability of cherry pickers means that they’re perfect for:

  • Building maintenance
  • Installation work 
  • Construction work
  • Fire rescues 
  • Filming events

The flexibility of cherry pickers allows them to reach a variety of heights and difficult-to-reach spaces, both indoors and outdoors depending on the machine’s capabilities.

Some types of cherry pickers Horizon Platforms provides include:

  • Narrow aisle
  • Mobile
  • Self drive
  • Articulated
  • Telescopic
  • Rough terrain
  • Vehicle-mounted boom lifts

There is bound to be a cherry picker to suit almost every work-at-height job.

Looking for more information? Read our ultimate guide on cherry pickers

2 men working at height in a cherry picker

Cherry picker vs scissor lift

Typically, cherry pickers have a higher reach than scissor lifts, making them more suitable for work at greater heights.

The key difference is that scissor lifts are a simpler machine, allowing for direct up and down movement. Cherry pickers, however, can offer more diverse movement and are suitable for more dynamic environments.

What Is The Difference Between An Articulating Boom Lift And A Telescopic Boom Lift?

An articulating boom lift features multiple joints in the boom, allowing the platform to be raised at an angle and reach over obstacles. A telescopic boom lift has no joints in its boom and only extends vertically. The base remains stationary, whilst a second moveable section provides mobility. 

What is a Personnel Lift?

Personnel lifts are compact and agile, consisting of a platform attached to a raising and lowering mechanism. The mechanism extends vertically, raising the platform directly upwards and allowing the user on the platform to reach large heights. Typically, personnel or ‘man lifts’ are used for smaller applications as they likely can’t reach the same heights compared to other MEWPs.

The size of personnel lifts means that they are perfect for navigating narrow aisles and corridors in supermarkets or warehouses. It’s not always feasible to have larger equipment in restricted environments and personnel lifts provide the perfect solution. 

Personnel lifts are suitable for a range of jobs including maintenance and installation.

We have a range of personnel lifts available for hire with platform capacities of up to 250kg. Our range includes MEWPs from leading brands including Genie and JLG.

female worker using a personnel lift in a charity warehouse

Personnel lifts vs scissor lifts

Although similar in their vertical movement, personnel lifts are more compact than scissor lifts, making them more suitable for use in more restricted areas. The lifting mechanism is also different, with personnel lifts featuring a boom which lifts the platform, whilst scissor lifts use a ‘scissor-like’ mechanism.

Personnel lifts vs push around platforms

Both smaller in size compared to cherry pickers and scissor lifts, personnel lifts are typically electric or battery-powered, whereas push around platforms need to be manually moved. Push around platforms are perfect for smaller environments that are even too restricted for personnel lifts.

Personnel lifts vs cherry pickers

Personnel lifts offer much more simple manoeuvrability compared with cherry pickers. They only move vertically, whilst cherry pickers can move in different directions and navigate obstacles more freely.

What are Push Around Platforms? 

This type of MEWP is the smallest of the variations mentioned above and isn’t driven by a power source. Instead, the MEWP is pushed by a trained professional and only utilises a power source when the platform is being raised or lowered.

Push around platforms are ideal for environments that do not allow fuel or electric MEWPs. Due to them not needing power to be moved, they can also last much longer than other machines which require charging or refuelling.

Push around platforms are ideal for tasks such as:

  • Maintenance
  • Cleaning 
  • Decorating

We have a range of brands of push around platforms available, including Genie and Power Tower. 

Can You Hire MEWPs?

Hiring MEWPs is one of the most effective ways to utilise the machines. At Horizon Platforms, we provide a range of MEWPs for hire that can be delivered onsite when you need them and collected at a specific time. Hiring a MEWP can be extremely beneficial for those who require an access platform but don’t have the space or capacity to store it onsite.

Hiring a MEWP when you need it also allows you to choose from a wide selection of machines to get the specific type you require. 

Can You Buy MEWPs?

If you’re looking for a MEWP to keep on-site permanently, buying is a great alternative to hiring. At Horizon Platform we offer both new and used MEWPs for sale that come with a full service and LOLER history.

You can also part-exchange your old MEWP when you buy a new machine from us which allows you to minimise upfront costs.

Buying and Hiring MEWPs From Horizon Platforms

Choosing to buy or hire from us will allow you to benefit from our extensive fleet of MEWPs that include a series of different models and types. As a reliable powered access platform provider, we will ensure your chosen machine is delivered at the time you require or will be available for collection. We pride ourselves on the speed and efficiency of sourcing and providing MEWPs,  ensuring minimal downtime.

Whether you’re buying or hiring from us we’ll:

  • Carry out the proper checks on the MEWP before it’s delivered 
  • Supply the MEWP with full service and maintenance agreement
  • Provide a 90-day warranty (whether you buy new or used)

We’re available 24/7 to all of our customers and will ensure that your call is answered regardless of the hour. 

Control Measures to Help Limit Risks When Operating a MEWP

Do I need to wear a harness when operating an access platform?

It may not be a legal requirement to wear a harness at a height, but we strongly recommend them. As some access platforms can reach over 70ft, it’s crucial that the person on the platform is secured.

Do I need to use nappies on my scissor lift or cherry picker?

When operating a MEWP indoors, drip trays or ‘nappies’ can be extremely useful. These are positioned under the machine, catching any potential leaks, drips and oil spills. However, these are not required with battery-powered MEWPs. 

Do I Need Non-Marking Tyres?

Non-marking tyres can prevent damage from being caused to floors when a MEWP is being operated indoors. These types of tyres are specially designed and should be taken into consideration, especially if the floor you’re using the MEWP on is light in colour. If you’re using a MEWP outdoors, you likely won’t need these.

What training do I need to operate a MEWP?

IPAF (International Powered Access Federation) training will teach you important health and safety processes, best-practice and other lessons crucial to MEWP operation. This training is essential as it’s a legal requirement to be adequately trained to operate a MEWP.

To learn more about the training required to operate a MEWP, you can learn more in our access platforms training guide.

Do I need an access platform rescue plan?

One of the most important lessons you’ll learn in MEWP training is what a rescue plan is and how to create one. Devising a MEWP rescue plan before beginning any work is crucial to ensure you’re properly prepared for possible emergency situations.

Learn more about access platform rescue plans in our blog.

What Environments Can MEWPs Be Used In?

At Horizon, we only supply the very best indoor access platforms which are especially suited to applications inside. MEWPs can be used on a range of different terrains but it’s important to make sure that you choose one which is suitable for the environment. 

For example, for supermarket floors, and similar ground which needs to remain clean, using a MEWP with non-marking tyres or minimal tread will be more suitable. This prevents them from marking the floor and leaving unsightly and potentially unhygienic tracks.

Our MEWPs are used across a wide variety of industries including construction, warehousing, facilities management, racking and more. It’s likely that the terrain will differ depending on the industry and may require an assessment before the MEWP is chosen.

What is Horizon Platforms’ HireHub? 

HireHub is a platform that allows you to get quotes, hire MEWPs, manage orders and more, all in one place. You can access HireHub at any time to review your information, and see updates and change order details.

Visit HireHub to hire your MEWP today or explore our MEWPs for sale to get the machine you need.

Looking for more information on HireHub? Read our guide on everything you need to know about HireHub