As any construction lead knows, health and safety are at the heart of operations. That’s why thousands are turning to reliable Elevating Work Platforms (EWPs) over the traditional ladder.
It’s also why it’s imperative to stay informed about the regulations around hiring and operating EWPs. Without the relevant training, you could jeopardise both operator and site safety, adversely affecting productivity.
Falling from height are one of the most common causes of workplace accidents and injuries – accounting for 36% of all employees’ injuries sustained at work (RIDDOR).
Even if the hired equipment is simple to operate, it is always the employer’s responsibility to make sure that operators have completed satisfactory training beforehand.
While specific courses are not a legal requirement, the operator must have passed a recognised scheme. After this training, the operator will be issued a training certificate or card, stating the categories of EWP they are qualified to work on.
In order to operate EWPs legally and safely, operators must hold at least an EWPA Industry Yellow Card. This must show that they have met the minimum duty of care requirements for operation. This card will expire unless the operator completes regular refresher training, every five years.
Operator Training Categories
The main EWP and MEWP operator training categories include:
- Mobile scissor lifts and vertical personnel platforms
- Push-around vertical lifts
- Static and mobile vertical personnel platforms
- Static boom lifts and self-propelled booms with outriggers
- Mobile self-propelled boom lifts
- Vehicle-mounted platforms, trailers, and push-arounds
Operator Familiarisation Process
Following training, the operator will need to familiarise themself with the controls and operation of the specific make and model used on site. They will also need to receive instruction on the correct use of harnesses, procedures for inspection, as well as rescue equipment and plan.
The familiarisation process should include:
- The control functions and features of the specific model
- The manufacturer’s instructions and unit capabilities
- The use of harness and/or lanyard
- The function and deployment of each safety device
- The emergency lowering and shutdown procedures
On the other hand, a licence is typically not required.
EWPs are covered by regulations that usually require High-Risk work licences but the need for an operator licence only becomes necessary once the platform height exceeds 11m. Therefore, the only requirement to hire and operate an EWP is the necessary training.
Sometimes, depending on the complexity of the task you’re hiring an EWP for, it might be essential for an EWP supervisor to oversee operations on site. In this case, you can find training courses for managers to qualify you for supervision. These will cover:
- The use of EWPs on site
- Planning each job realistically and safely
- Completing risk assessments and mitigating risks
- Selecting the right equipment
Training is crucial, not only for legal safety but for the most efficient use of EWPs. It can help to minimise the risk of overloading, collision, tipping, and damage as well as keep your site productivity at the standard it should be.