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MEWP Safe System of Work (SSoW) Templated Booklets
The Mobile Elevating Work Platform (MEWP) Site Specific Safe System of Work booklet is a pre-formatted on-site work record that is completed in real time by company employees or contractors, for the safe and effective use of MEWPs.
It is a working document, requesting a user’s input regards to conducting a site Risk Assessment, implementing control measures, documenting a Rescue Plan, recording of the MEWP operator’s Pre-use Checks and Machine Faults and also includes a site safety officer’s pre-work safety audit.
The MEWP Site Specific Safe System of Work booklet has been developed by Powered Access industry professionals and has been further edited following recommendations by UK safety representatives.
The aim of the MEWP Safe System of Work booklet is to encourage duty-holder compliance and employee, contractor and MEWP operator best practice when using MEWPs. It is a voluntary safety initiative that can significantly improve on-site safety.
Step 1. Complete a hazard checklist and refer to a risk assessment matrix
Paperwork on its own has never saved anyone from harm, though the process of working through it often can. By acting as a prompt and requesting user input, it engages the mind, making you stop and think about potential risk which can make a big difference when planning the use of MEWPs.
Occupations that require a very high level of concentration and skill often use checklists i.e. pilots and surgeons etc. This is no different for on-site assessors when identifying potential hazards associated with MEWPs. The MEWP Safe System of Work booklet includes a hazard checklist to assist with on-site assessment.
Step 2. Record the control measures and work methods to be put in place
If any significant site hazards are identified, then the on-site assessor should record each hazard in the column provided. They must also be able to identify who might be harmed and how.
Using the Risk Assessment matrix to help evaluate the probability and severity of harm, the site assessor should then calculate and record the level of risk. To eliminate or reduce the risk, control measures and safe work methods will then need to be identified.
Step 3. Continue overleaf, review and revise SSoW document as required
For mainstream tasks in low to moderate risk locations, employers might adopt the use of the MEWP Safe System of Work booklet as a comprehensive solution.
On sites where numerous MEWPs are being used or risks are high, a site agent might choose to adopt the booklets to monitor a workers understanding and compliance of a job or task or in support of an existing Risk Assessment and method statement in place.
Unforeseen workplace hazards and other factors such as changing Weather patterns etc. might arise at any time when operating MEWPs. It is important that site operating conditions are reviewed and assessed regularly so operational safety is not affected or compromised.
Step 4. Record details of the rescue plan, procedures and drills in place
In the UK there is a legal requirement when working at height to plan for Emergencies and Rescue. Organisations should have in-house procedures in place, however a section within the MEWP Safe System of Work booklet provides an additional means to record site-specific details.
This includes the names and contact details for the site appointed person, first aid responder and technical support. It also includes designated on-site trained rescue personnel and a declaration that descent drills have been rehearsed.
Step 5. MEWP operator to record the pre-use visual and function checks
Organisations are responsible for ensuring that all equipment under their care is maintained in a safe and serviceable condition. Therefore it is important that Pre-use Checks are carried out on MEWPs and recorded by the competent operator.
A section within the MEWP Safe System of Work booklet provides a generic checklist for the designated operator to ‘record’ the results of their visual and function checks as detailed in the operations manual for the specific MEWP they are using.
Step 6. Operating compliance signature boxes and safety officer’s audit
The MEWP Safe System of Work booklet provides multiple signature boxes for co-workers, designated rescue personnel and other persons directly involved in the operations, as a means of ensuring all control measures and procedures are Documented and communicated effectively.
A comprehensive checklist references the relevant criteria for the contractor / sub-contractor / operator and a declaration of work compliance, culminating in the nominated safety officer’s audit.
Step 7. Example of an appointed person’s ‘flow chart’ rescue procedure
A ‘flow chart’ example of an Emergency and Rescue Procedure is provided on the back page of the MEWP Safe System of Work booklet. It can be used as a guide to implementing effective rescue procedures and assist an on-site Appointed Person (AP) in their duties.
Industry guidance recommends that there should always be someone at ground level who is able to respond quickly in the event of an incident. The rescue plan includes actions to be taken in the event of machine malfunction, operator illness or operator incapacitation.
Download this FREE MEWP Safe System of Work Toolbox Talk (Pdf.doc)
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In the 2013 research report RR960 Mobile elevated work platforms Phase 3, commissioned by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) into the leading risk factors for Entrapment, it was identified that critical knowledge gaps existed in MEWP operators understanding of site dangers.
Though focused on entrapment, RR960 (Pdf.doc) did highlight many issues common to other risk factors. HSE key recommendations included enhanced MEWP Training courses and also for contractors to address critical knowledge gaps through the use of more toolbox talks.
MEWP Safe System of Work Booklets can help, but the rest is up to you!
In compiling the MEWP Safe System of Work booklet, we have consulted UK Regulations and UK industry Guidance. The use of these booklets is not a Legal requirement, though many of the actions prompted for in these booklets are required by law*.
We have aimed to compile a very user-friendly tool that is comprehensive, but practical in its approach. We do hope that MEWP duty-holders and their operators will trial and implement the booklets, but ultimately that decision is yours to make.
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*Disclaimer: Though every care has been taken to ensure the accuracy of the templated information within the MEWP SSoW Booklet, it will remain subordinate to UK Legislation and Local Regulations in force. The end-user is ultimately responsible for their own legal compliance.
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