Better reporting boosts statistics

News Story
- 30 Jan 2014 ( #652 ) - Crooklands, United Kingdom
2 min read
A graph showing 2013 fatalities involving aerial work platforms.
A graph showing 2013 fatalities involving aerial work platforms.
There were 53 fatalities involving aerial work platforms (AWPs) worldwide in 2013, according to preliminary results from International Powered Access Federation (IPAF)'s accident database.

IPAF notes that the powered access industry is reporting more accidents through its voluntary program.

The main causes of fatalities were: overturn (16), fall from height (13), entrapment (10), electrocution (7), impact with AWP (4) and falling object (2). In one case, the cause of the fatality was unknown.

Almost half of reported fatalities (26 or 49%) involved mobile booms. Fourteen fatalities (26%) involved mobile verticals and 11 (21%) involved static booms. In two cases (4%), the type of machine involved was unknown.

Thirty (57%) of the fatalities occurred in the USA, home of 54% of the world's rental fleet. Three fatalities each were reported in Germany, Spain and the UK, two fatalities each in Belgium, Canada, France and the Netherlands, and one each in Armenia, Australia, Ireland, Malaysia, Norway and in the Middle East.

IPAF technical officer Chris Wraith says that the accident project is still in an early stage and cautions against direct comparisons in its second year. "It will be at least 2016/17 before any realistic year-on-year comparison on the frequency of accidents can be of value."

IPAF's accident reporting project was launched in January 2012 and has filled a gap where there was previously no single mechanism for reporting and analysing serious accidents involving AWPs, and no definitive data on the number and main causes of fatal accidents.

In 2012, 32 fatalities worldwide involving AWPs were reported.

"The comparative figures presented are for information only and do not in any way suggest an increase in the number of AWP-related fatalities from 2012 to 2013. They are more an indication that the awareness and success of the project is growing. Powered access is probably the safest way of performing temporary work at height. The industry is becoming more aware and reporting accidents, rather than having more accidents," Wraith says.

IPAF rental company members in the UK have voluntarily committed to report any known AWP accidents involving their staff via the IPAF accident database. All manufacturers, rental companies, contractors and users are encouraged to report any known fatal and serious accidents involving aerial work platforms and mast climbing work platforms worldwide at www.ipaf.org/accident.
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