IPAF's coronavirus guidance
The International Powered Access Federation (IPAF) has issued its guidance to assist those using mobile elevating work platforms (MEWPs), mast-climbing working platforms (MCWPs), construction lifts, and hoists to work safely and minimise the risk of spreading coronavirus.
The new document has been developed and reviewed by IPAF's safety experts and members with specialist knowledge of health and safety best practice. It is centred on a hierarchy of risk, with guidance on how to mitigate possible exposure to the virus to help protect employees, colleagues, customers and users of powered access equipment. At all times, the latest government advice should be adhered to.
The hierarchy is ranked from eliminating risk entirely, through reducing risk, isolating users from risk and controlling risk to protecting against risk through use of personal protective equipment (PPE).
Peter Douglas, IPAF's CEO and MD, says: "Ours is an industry founded on the principles of safe working and adopting best practice through sound risk assessment and mitigation. There's an increased risk at present posed by the spread of coronavirus and we must do everything we can to eliminate, reduce, control or protect against it.
"Powered access equipment is key to conducting work at height safely; the services our members provide are of vital importance on construction sites, maintenance and infrastructure projects around the world. If powered access firms can't do this work, projects will be hampered and safety while working at height could be compromised."
Douglas notes that governments and economies are currently looking to ease some of the restrictions imposed to halt the first wave of infections, but stresses that it will not just be back to 'business as usual' while the risk of contracting this virus remains heightened.
"Remember, it is very important not to use the virus as an excuse to cut corners on established principles of work at height safety. It is vital that employees are protected from risks associated with working at height at the same time as being mindful of the additional risk posed by coronavirus," he adds.