IPAF 3 Dec

IPAF SAFETY WATCH - Overhead Obstruction is very real and could lead to fatality in some cases

With a recent case happed just last week, International Powered Access Federation (IPAF) would like to raise the awareness of overhead hazards while using MEWPs, with this IPAF Safety Watch Message.


  • On 23 November 2020, a worker was raising the work platform of a boom lift when he was caught between the guardrail of the boom lift and a roofing structural member. The injured worker was subsequently extricated and pronounced dead at the scene by attending paramedics.
  • 03 August 2015: Worker Fatally Injured During Scissor Lift Operation. The Deceased and a co-worker were installing horizontal window transoms (a crossbar for securing window
  • 07 October 2009: There were 3 fatalities in the past 3 months where workers were killed while carrying out work activities using mobile elevated work platforms (MEWPs). They were crushed between the structures (such as ceiling beams) and the MEWPs they were operating.

The use of mobile elevating work platforms (MEWPs) has increased due to their benefits in productivity and safety. MEWPs are acknowledged by many to be the safest and most efficient means of providing temporary access to height for many work activities. The increased use of MEWPs in construction, maintenance and other applications where trapping and crushing risks are present has led to unfortunate accidents in which people on the platform have been trapped and crushed between the platform (often referred to as a cage or basket) and objects/structures in the work area.

In some cases, these accidents sadly have resulted in fatalities to the occupant(s) in the platform. Managers must take a lead in identifying when and where trapping risks are present in the work activities which they control. Where trapping risks are identified extra care is needed and all involved must understand what they need to do to avoid or reduce the risks involved. Accidents can be avoided if good practice is encouraged and followed. The basis of preventing trapping accidents must be a task, site and equipment specific risk assessment. All involved in the management, supervision and operation of MEWPs need to understand how to minimise the risks of someone being trapped in the basket and the importance of having effective rescue procedures in place and practiced should such an entrapment occur.

Rescue of persons at height from crushing/trapping must be considered and a rescue plan formulated and communicated to all persons. Rescue plan should be practiced so that all persons involved know what to do in the event of a trapping, crushing incident.

About IPAF – www.ipaf.org

The International Powered Access Federation (IPAF) is a not-for-profit organisation that promotes the safe and effective use of powered access equipment worldwide in the widest sense – through providing technical advice and information; through influencing and interpreting legislation and standards; and through safety initiatives and training programmes.

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