As outlined in the Work at Height Regulations 2005 (WAHR), when operated by competent and fully-trained individuals, MEWPs can facilitate safe and efficient working at height. However, access platforms must be regularly inspected and properly maintained to ensure they are safe, fit for purpose and fully compliant with UK health and safety laws.
All employers must put measures in place to protect the safety of their employees, taking reasonable steps to ensure their health and welfare by minimising the risk of injury or harm in the workplace. This includes the use of work-at-height equipment, making access platform maintenance a crucial aspect of health and safety management for business owners.
Here at Horizon Platforms, we are experts in platform maintenance and the relevant legislation governing the use of MEWPs. As such, we can assist you in creating a safe, efficient and compliant workplace.
To Comply with UK Legislation
In the UK, work-at-height equipment is subject to section 2 of the Health and Safety at Work Act, which outlines that it is an employer’s responsibility to ensure the safety of employees, including but not limited to the maintenance of equipment. In addition, there are two further pieces of legislation, the Provision and Use of Work Equipment Regulations 1998 (PUWER) and the Lifting Operations and Lifting Equipment Regulations 1998 (LOLER), that apply specifically to work equipment, such as MEWPs.
PUWER requires the control or prevention of risk associated with workplace equipment by taking the following steps: Selecting equipment that is safe and suitable for purpose; ensuring that all repair and maintenance work is carried out by competent and suitable trained individuals to ensure said equipment remains safe, efficient and in good repair; and by keeping up-to-date and complete maintenance logs, where applicable.
LOLER regulations apply to the safe use of lifting equipment during lifting operations by ensuring work is well planned, organised and executed by competent individuals; that lifting equipment is marked with maximum load capacity and is both stable and suitable for the application; and states that work equipment must be regularly inspected and thoroughly examined.
To Create a Safe Working Environment
Maintenance is not the only ingredient required for a safe working environment; those working with MEWPs must be competent and be able to show proof of adequate training, as outlined in the WAHR. However, the failure of a MEWP due to damage or wear and tear can result in accident and/or injury, making access platform maintenance essential to the safety and wellbeing of employees.
In addition to maintenance, there are two other components of ensuring an access platform is fit-for-purpose and is safe to use: Inspection (PUWER) and thorough examination (LOLER). There are key differences between the three, as outlined below:
- Maintenance: The steps required to ensure an access platform is fully functional, in good working order and safe to operate, including access platform repairs
- Inspection: Functional and visual checks (including pre-use inspections by the operator) to highlight any defects and verify that work-at-height equipment is safe to use
- Thorough examination: A regular, scheduled examination (LOLER testing) by a competent and impartial individual to determine if a MEWP is safe for continued use
The regularity with which an access platform requires maintenance can be highlighted through a thorough risk assessment that incorporates factors such as: How often the MEWP is used, the nature of the environment including weather, and the risk that MEWP failure would pose. Furthermore, thorough examinations may have to be carried out on a more frequent basis where an access platform has been involved in a collision, has overturned or the maximum load capacity has been exceeded.
Planning MEWP Maintenance
Whether you own or hire a MEWP, regular access platform maintenance is crucial, both in terms of safety and legal obligation. Here at Horizon Platforms, 100% of our platforms for hire are LOLER tested every six months, while we also offer two levels of repair and maintenance cover, providing peace of mind for MEWP owners.