Members of the Strategic Forum for Construction Plant Safety Group, sub-group for Mobile Elevating Work Platforms, which includes aerial industry associations International Powered Access Federation and the Construction Plant-hire Association, unanimously agreed to change the terminology used for additional equipment or device(s) that can be fitted to a MEWP in order to reduce the risk of overhead crushing injury, from “Anti-Entrapment” to “Secondary Guarding” devices.

The group agreed with the proposal prepared by International Powered Access Federation’s technical officer, Chris Wraith, which stated: all MEWPs are safe by design and are fitted as standard with a function-enable device that provides primary guarding system; additional equipment or device(s) that can be fitted to a MEWP in order to reduce the risk of overhead crushing injury, offer secondary protection and should not replace good practice by management and the operator; “anti-entrapment” devices do not prevent entrapment — they offer a secondary guarding option to assist management in reducing the risk of serious injury from overhead hazards. Therefore the term “anti-entrapment” is incorrect and the term “secondary guarding” should be adopted by the industry. 

“The unanimous decision of this group, who represent all the key industry stakeholders, demonstrates how important this change to more accurate terminology is,” said Kevin Minton, Construction Plant-hire Association director and chair of the SFPSG MEWPs group. “The aim of the group is to agree on how to ensure the safe use of MEWPs in construction and we hope re-naming will make it clearer for managers and operators on site.”

Wraith said “the term anti-entrapment implies that the use of these devices will prevent entrapment, even though it is recognized that there is no single solution to prevent overhead crushing incidents from occurring. A reduction in serious incidents will only come about by the combined efforts of operators, site management, hire companies and manufacturers working towards improvements and this renaming is a step in this direction. ‘Secondary Guarding’ is a much more accurate terminology based on sound reasoning that describes this equipment and devices for what they are.”

For further guidance on the prevention of entrapment when using MEWPs, visit the CPA and IPAF websites.

CPA is the United Kingdom’s leading trade association for plant hire companies, and is the principal point of contact for all issues relating to use of construction plant.

SFPSG members include industry associations, training bodies, HSE, contractors, manufacturers, hire companies and inspection bodies. The group is chaired by Kevin Minton from CPA, and Chris Wraith from IPAF acts as technical author to the group. For more information about the group visit, www.cpa.uk.net/sfpsg/#MEWPs.