Industry statistics show that between 2003 and mid 2009, 13 people lost their lives in the UK while using powered access, at least six of which involved the elevated trapping of the operator in boom-type mobile elevated work platforms (MEWPS).
Skanska itself witnessed a fatal crushing accident in 2008 on one of its sites, prompting it to take a lead in promoting research and development work. This led to the Construction Plant Association (CPA) to publish its Best Practice Guidance for MEWPs –Avoiding Trapping / Crushing Injuries to People in the Platform.
More recently, Skanska has been working with manufacturers and suppliers to trial safety devices specifically designed to guard against crush type injuries to operators and raise the alarm if an operator becomes trapped.
A number of safety devices are now, or will shortly become, commercially available in the UK. Therefore Skanska will, from 3 January 2012, require all boom-type MEWPs (IPAF Category 3b) that are hired by the company to have additional crush protection fitted.
Skanska will also require these extra safety features to be in place on all MEWPs provided throughout Skanska’s supply chain as of 2 April 2012.
Skanska UK director of health & safety Dylan Roberts said: “The safety of those who work with Skanska is a number one priority for us. Following the tragedy in 2008, we felt it imperative to make a step change in the training and competence of users of MEWPs and the introduction of additional safety measures. I am very pleased that we have finally been able to take this step. We encourage the UK construction industry to follow suit.”