MEWP fatalities decline as global rental market grows

MEWP fatalities decline as global rental market grows

The fatal injury rate (FIR) for mobile elevating work platforms (MEWPs) declined in 2016, despite the fact that the total MEWP rental fleet and the number of rental days worldwide increased significantly over the same period.

The data, exclusively collated and interpreted by the International Powered Access Federation (IPAF), indicate that in 2016 there were 66 reported fatalities involving MEWPs worldwide, compared to 68 deaths reported in 2015. During the same period, the size of the global MEWP rental fleet rose from an estimated 1.17 million units at the end of 2015 to 1.25m estimated at the end of 2016.

In 2015, the number of on-hire rental days was 192.2 million and the number of reported fatalities was 68, giving a FIR of 0.035 per 100,000 operating days. In 2016, the number on-hire rental days rose to 206.1m and the number of reported deaths was 66, giving an effective fatal injury rate of 0.032 per 100,000 operating days. This is equivalent to one fatal incident every 3.2 million operating days.

Of the 66 reported MEWP fatalities in 2016, the main causes were falls from height, electrocution, entrapment and overturn of machinery. Chris Wraith, IPAF’s Safety & Technical Executive, who compiles the global accident and fatal injuries data, comments: “While it is heartening to see the effective fatal injury rate fall at the same time as the size of the rental market and number of machine operating days have increased significantly, we must not be complacent.

“It is disappointing to see the same main causes of fatalities being repeated year on year, which suggests that the industry as a whole is not learning the lessons from previous incidents – in 2016 falls from height accounted for 38% of the reported fatalities and electrocution 23%. There were fewer fatal overturns (12% of total fatal incidents, as opposed to 27% in 2015), but entrapments accounted for a higher proportion of the reported deaths (18%) than the year before. In 2015 electrocution and entrapment both accounted for around 15% of the total reported fatalities.

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