New safety alert protocol
21. April 2017 | Comments (0)
The UKs Strategic Forum Plant Safety Groups mobile elevating work platform sub group - whose members include the CPA, IPAF, HSE, CITB, BCSA, FASET, SAFed, NPORS along with major manufacturers including JLG, Genie, Niftylift, Skyjack and Haulotte plus a significant representation from major construction companies - has developed a new Safety Alert Protocol.
The Protocol sets out a voluntary standard for the Safety Alerts issued by contractors and other companies that have incidents they believe may be related to the design, manufacture, maintenance or use of aerial work platforms. It is intended to guide the author of a Safety Alert so that it is seen as authoritative and helpful for those that receive it. A standard format is included for their layout and content along with very clear and concise notes and tips of when to and when not to issue a widespread alert.
IPAF technical and safety executive Chris Wraith said: Safety Alerts are always issued with good intentions, but sometimes omit key information, which can lead to speculation and over-reaction when they are received. We hope that this Safety Alert Protocol will help the industry improve safety whilst maintaining productivity.
CPA director Kevin Minton, the current chairman of the group, added: This is a great example of hirers, contractors and safety specialists working together to improve communications in the mobile elevating work platform sector.
A copy of the full guide can be found in the Vertikal Library under Best Practice Guides and Standards. Or click on the following link to go directly to the document -www.vertikal.net/uploads/tx_filelinks/mewp-safety-alert-protocol_-2017-02-15.pdf - which can then be downlloaded.
This is an excellent initiative and a first class piece of work, well thought through and well drafted.If it takes off it could have a major positive impact, not only for the aerial work platform industry, but for other equipment too. All too often a contractors well-meaning safety officer responds to a serious incident by dashing off a safety alert warning people within the company and often further afield of an incident with a particular platform, often calling for all such machines to be stood down immediately.
With modern internet communications and social media, such bulletins can go viral within no time, causing massive disruption and unnecessary angst. As if that was not enough we have also seen cases where an alert that dates back several years, pops up again on the web and due to it not being properly dates gets circulated all over again - when it was inaccurate or over the top the first time round.
In a recent case an alert warned of a potential issue with a platform rotator on a boom lift, warning that all such lifts on its sites be taken out of service. Only to find a day or two later that the cause was clearly down to earlier structural damage from a substantial impact, which had not been spotted when the basket was repaired. So the incident might well have been a good case study or subject for an alert, but from a point of view of the need to check down stream of any major collision, rather than suggest that the rotators might be faulty on the said lift.
Hopefully this protocol will go a long way to eliminating this sort of false alarm and over reaction, and actually create more meaningful and clearly written alerts? It certainly looks like a very good start.