According to Gerry Mulholland, HSE leader at Crown House Technologies (CHt), a study commissioned by the company entitled “Selection of Access Equipment” presented evidence that mobile elevating work platforms (Cherry Pickers) provided the safest way to work at height.
The study involved a number of time and motion studies on two different projects, aimed to determine how long typical tasks took using different types of access equipment.
The results revealed that just less than 20% of construction accidents are related to access equipment such as ladders, A-frames, podiums, mobile towers and MEWPs. Of these, only a small proportion – less than a fifth – involved MEWPs, while the remaining 81% of accidents involved other types of access equipment.
The findings provided evidence that MEWPs:
- are safer;
- are ergonomic;
- avoid unnecessary strain injury;
- reduce accidents caused by human error due to their automation;
- make it easier to maintain the safety standards on site as there are fewer options and therefore fewer opportunities to make the wrong choice;
- are more productive;
- are, on average, three times more efficient to use than mobile towers and podiums.
Following these findings, CHt developed a matrix to assist users on site to select the most appropriate access equipment for typical M&E tasks. This is expected to help eliminate inconsistencies in selection of access equipment and to standardise the use thereof – ultimately contributing to higher safety standards and increased productivity.