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Spec produced for low-level work platforms

13 Dec 13 A new document sets out the industry standard for the first time for the design and use of low-level work platforms.

A typical low-level work platform
A typical low-level work platform

These low-level work platforms (LLWPs) – also known as podiums and pulpits – have become everyday items of work equipment since the introduction of the Work at Height Regulations in 2005.

British Standards Institute (BSI) has now published PAS 250 Specification for low-level work platforms. The document is sponsored by the Prefabricated Access Suppliers’ & Manufacturers’ Association (PASMA). Representatives from the Health & Safety Executive, Hire Association Europe, the Ladder Association, the UK Contractors Group and PASMA formed the steering group involved in the development of the document.

PAS 250 establishes the requirements for a LLWP with one working platform with side protection, for use by one person, with a maximum working platform height of less than 2.5m and a maximum working load of 150kg. It sets out requirements for materials, design loads, dimensions, strength and stability tests, marking and user instructions. Until now, designs for LLWPs have been developed with no formal standard to follow and although many are safe for use, aspects of some products could be improved by adherence to an agreed specification. PAS 250 meets this need and establishes minimum safety and performance criteria for LLWPs, BSI said.

Anne Hayes, head of market development for governance & risk at BSI, said:, “Without safety guidelines to follow, there is a risk that an inferior product design may reach the market and end up in the workplace. PAS 250 can safeguard potential users working at height and minimize accidents in the workplace.”

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PASMA managing director Peter Bennett said: “PAS 250 means there is now no excuse for working on unsafe low level platforms. It comes at the end of our three-step plan, which included launching our low-level training course and a guidance DVD.

“With injuries from low-level falls among the most common, we saw it as vital that we helped to make low-level work as safe as possible. This new standard moves safety on further by ensuring that proper design guidance is available for this type of equipment.”

One impact of PAS 250 has been the development of ‘anti-surf’ devices to prevent LLWPs being moved while someone is standing on the platform.

There are also now specifications for the design of the guardrails and access, the integrity of the mobility devices, the ability to fit toe-boards, and requirements for the content of labels and user guides

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