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Mon March 08 2021

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Guidance for keeping old MEWPs going

15 May 14 New technical guidance on major inspections of mobile elevating work platforms (MEWPs) has been produced to keep equipment safe beyond the manufacturer’s design life.

The guidance document, published by the International Powered Access Federation (IPAF), sets down procedures for a major inspection scheme to validate structural integrity and functionality of critical components. Such a scheme may be undertaken to determine if a machine is within safe design and use criteria beyond the manufacturer’s design life.

Design life is defined as the duration determined by the manufacturer for which a structure or a structural component may be used for its intended purpose with recommended maintenance.  

“MEWPs are safe by design and constructed to set criteria as defined by national and international standards dependent on which country/continent they are intended to be first put into service,” explained IPAF technical & safety executive Chris Wraith.

“The growing demand around the world for second-hand machines and the retention of machines in some rental fleets has led to the use of MEWPs beyond the original design life. We need to recognise that there are machines in use which: i) have been in service for 10 years or more, yet may not have reached their design life with regard to usage, and ii) have reached their design life prior to 10 years because of intensive usage or use in a severe operating environment. This is where the new guidance comes in.”

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The document stresses that equipment owners should fulfil their legal obligations and ensure that MEWPs are maintained in good repair and safe working order by implementing regular inspection and maintenance programmes in accordance with all relevant regulations, legislation and standards and with manufacturer’s requirements. These may include: pre-use inspection; interim, frequent or periodic inspections; and six-monthly or annual inspection/examination by a competent person.

 “The harsher the operating environment, the more frequent the inspection should be,” said Chris Wraith. “Depending on the frequency of use and severity of the operating environment, planned inspections should be carried out at a frequency to enable the MEWP to be kept in a safe and satisfactory condition.”

The document proposes that a MEWP should undergo a major inspection within 10 years after having been originally put into service and subsequently every five years after that.

IPAF’s new guidance on major inspections is available at www.ipaf.org/inspections.

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