MEWP Synonyms

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Most commonly used synonyms to describe MEWP

There are many alternative synonyms (names) in every day use which describe Mobile Elevating Work Platforms (MEWPs). The most universally recognised is perhaps the use of the term ‘Powered Access’, which is the choice term and also namesake of the world’s International Powered Access Federation (IPAF).

What’s the Difference?

The term ‘Powered Access’ aims to differentiate between ‘Non-Powered Access’, such as ladders, towers or scaffolding etc. which require (non-powered) assembly and erection of the component parts to work at height. Other terminology includes ‘Aerial Work Platform’ (AWP), the prominent choice of North America and ‘Elevating Work Platform’ (EWP), the prominent choice of Australasia.

The term ‘MEWP’ is the prominent description for Powered Access equipment within the United Kingdom. It is used in authoritive documentation ranging from British Standard BS8460:2017 Code of Practice – Safe use of MEWPs, to the Health and Safety Executive’s (HSE) General Information Sheet No 6 (GEIS6) – The selection, management and use of mobile elevating work platforms, etc.

Common Phraseology

Common phraseology for Powered Access equipment include varied and sometimes more user-familiar descriptions such as a man lift; aerial device; scissor lift; sigma lift; aerial lift; hydraulic lift; flying carpet; trailer mount; van mount; van platform; boom truck; truck mount; lorry mount; bucket truck; spider lift; tracked spider; boom platform; aerial boom; aerial platform and also cherry picker.

Powered Access manufacturer names are also frequently used such as Airo; Almac; Bravi; Bronto Skylift; Cela; CTE; Denka-Lift; Dingli; Dino Lift; Ecolift; Easy Lift; Genie; Haulotte; Hinowa; Holland Lift; Isoli; JLG; Manitou; Matilsa; MEC; Multitel Pagliero; Niftylift; Oil & Steel; Omme Lift; Palfinger; Platform Basket; Power Towers; Ruthmann; Skyjack; Snorkel; TCA Lift; Teupen and also Versalift.

IPAF ‘Type’ Terminology

Does it all sound rather confusing? Don’t worry. The International Powered Access Federation (IPAF) have for some time devised a simple way to classify machine types into categories based on their specific characteristics. This is important when it comes to ensuring suitable and adequate Training. These categories are ‘Static’ or ‘Mobile’ combined with ‘Vertical’ or ‘Boom’ type platforms:

   Type IPAF Category    Brief explanation of machine type specific characteristics
   Static 1    The chassis can not be manoeuvred when platform is elevated.
   Mobile 3    The chassis can still be manoeuvred when platform is elevated.
   Vertical A    The platform is designed to elevate vertical ‘above’ the chassis.
   Boom B    The platform is designed to elevate/boom ‘beyond’ the chassis.

IPAF Static Vertical 1a      IPAF Mobile Vertical 3a
IPAF Static Boom 1b      IPAF Mobile Boom 3b
Machine Categories (Left to Right) Static Vertical (1a), Mobile Vertical (3a), Static Boom (1b), Mobile Boom (3b), Images IPAF Copyright ©

There are further categories for machines which have other distinctive characteristics which set them apart from those shown above. For example ‘Push Around Verticals’ (PAV) are essentially small, simple static vertical machines. However, unlike ‘Static Verticals’ (Category 1a), they have no mechanical drive (therefore classed as non-powered access) and are pushed around physically!

IPAF category ‘2’ or ‘Special’ provides for specialist or purpose built machines such as ‘Under Bridge Inspection Units’. ‘Insulated Aerial Devices’ (IAD) are electrically insulated work platforms used where work place electrocution hazards exist. ‘Mast Climbing Work Platforms’ (MCWP) are elevating work platforms fixed to either single or twin vertical masts, for use on high-rise buildings:

   Type IPAF Category    Brief explanation of machine type specific characteristics
   PAV PAV    Push Around Verticals (Non-powered static vertical e.g. Ecolift).
   Special 2    Specialist Machines (e.g. Bridge/Under bridge inspection units).
   IAD IAD    Insulated Aerial Devices. (Electrically insulated work platforms).
   MCWP MCWP    Mast Climbing Work Platforms. (Vertical mast climbing platforms).

(Left to Right) Push Around Verticals (PAV), Insulated Aerial Devices (IAD), Mast Climbing Work Platforms (MCWP) – IPAF Copyright ©

Hierarchy of Terminology

Does it really matter? We believe so. When it comes to communicating information about powered access machines to others, it is important you get it right. Whether your buying, hiring, arranging training or drafting a risk assessment or other work place safety document, it helps to know the differences. Below we have created a simple table to help summarise the hierarchy of terminology.

International Terminology:


Regional Terminology:

AWP (North America) MEWP (UK) EWP (Australasia)

IPAF Type Terminology:

Static Vertical Static Boom Mobile Vertical Mobile Boom
(IPAF 1a) (IPAF 1b) (IPAF 3a) (IPAF 3b)

MEWP Synonyms (Manufacturer / Common / User-familiar):

Scissor Lift Cherry Picker Scissor Lift Cherry Picker
(With Outriggers) (With Outriggers) (Self-Propelled) (Self-Propelled)
Trailer Mount Sigma Lift   Articulated Boom
Van Mount Aerial Lift  Straight Stick Boom
Van Platform  Hydraulic Lift Hydraulic Boom
Boom Truck  Flying Carpet  Aerial Boom
Truck Mount  Magic Carpet  Boom Platform
Lorry Mount
Bucket Truck
Spider Lift
Tracked Spider

The above list is not exhaustive

IPAF Type Terminology:

Push Around Verticals Specials Insulated Aerial Devices Mast Climbing Work Platforms

MEWP Synonyms (Manufacturer / Common / User-familiar):

Non-Powered Access Underbridge Unit Insulated Platform          Man Hoist              
Low-Level Access Inspection Unit Insulated Basket             Swing Stage              
Power Tower      

The above list is not exhaustive

What is a Synonym?

A synonym is a word or phrase that means exactly or nearly the same as another word or phrase in the same language. Words that are synonyms are said to be synonymous, and the state of being a synonym is called synonymy. The word comes from Ancient Greek sýn (σύν; “with”) and ónoma (ὄνομα; “name”). Wikipedia 2017.

Related Reading:

■   MEWP Definition »
■   MEWP Abbreviations »
■   MEWP Pronunciation »
■   MEWP vs MEWPs »

Further Reading:

■   MEWP Information »
■   MEWPs Managing the risk »

You may also like:

■   MEWP Index A-Z »
■   Product Categories »
■   Information Categories »

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