Safety Procedures in the workplace
Volume 2 – MEWP Rescue Plan
Posted 19th May 2023
As a company, we proactively prepare for emergencies and rescue operations, including developing and implementing safe evacuation procedures. We carefully consider foreseeable scenarios and ensure that our employees receive comprehensive training on emergency response procedures. Employers are required to provide users with a documented rescue plan BEFORE they elevate. The rescue plan must identify how the MEWP will be returned to ground level or a safe area, in case of an incident at height. The Rescue Plan should also identify who the Nominated Ground Rescue Person is. In this blog we will discuss the safety procedures and plans put in place at Byworth Boilers for MEWP operators, all of which comply with the Health and Safety legislative requirements, and the Working at Height Regulations 2005.
Mobile Elevating Work Platforms (MEWPs) are an essential piece of equipment used for various tasks within our manufacturing facility. They are versatile, easy to manoeuvre and are used to provide temporary access to high places. However, working at height poses a significant risk to workers, and MEWP accidents can be serious. Although safety measures can be put into place to reduce risks such as regular maintenance of equipment and the use of competent trained operators, it is still important for us as a company to have plans in place should a rescue from a MEWP ever become necessary. This is why as part of our Health and Safety in the workplace procedures, we plan and practice rescue procedures with all team member that are qualified to operate the MEWP’s.
It is crucial to have a rescue plan in place before starting work at height, which should include a detailed procedure for calling for external assistance. MEWP rescues are a specialised type of rescue that requires specific knowledge, skills, and equipment. These rescues can be complex and require the team to be fully trained to carry them out. MEWP rescues can be classified into two categories, self-rescue and assisted rescue.
Self-rescue is when a worker is trained to rescue themselves in the event of an emergency. This involves having the right personal protective equipment (PPE), knowing how to operate the MEWP safely, and understanding the correct procedure for self-rescue. Self-rescue is the first line of defence in an emergency, and it is essential for workers to be trained in this area.
Assisted rescue is required when a worker is unable to rescue themselves. They will then require assistance from other members of the team who are familiar with the equipment and procedures involved in MEWP rescues.
To aid in an assisted rescue, operators must ensure the ground key is always available and easily accessible, and, as a business, we ensure there is always someone within each department that is fully trained in what to do in an emergency and how to operate the machine's ground controls.
In situations were even the ground controls have failed, the team have been trained in how to perform a platform to platform rescue. A mid-air, platform to platform rescue should only be considered in exceptional circumstances and only after all normal and auxiliary lowering procedures have been attempted and failed to lower the platform.
To perform a platform to platform rescue, the rescuer platform must be positioned close enough to the worker in need of rescue to facilitate the transfer. The rescue team must ensure that both platforms are stable and secure before attempting the transfer. The rescue team must also be able to access the worker in need of rescue, either by climbing onto the platform or by using specialized equipment, such as a rescue harness.
Our fully trained Health and Safety officer Jon Wilkinson is responsible for ensuring every team member is fully aware of the risks and procedures in place for using MEWPs and working at heights.
Jon overseas chargehands teaching their team how to safely conduct a rescue at height and conducts regular refresher training in all areas of health and safety to help protect our workforce.
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