IPAF has released new technical guidance on major inspections of aerial work platforms with the goal of keeping equipment safe beyond the manufacturer’s design life. The guidance document outlines a major inspection scheme to validate structural integrity and functionality of critical components of an AWP. Such a scheme may be undertaken to determine if a machine is within safe design and use criteria beyond the manufacturer’s design life.

Design life is defined as the duration determined by the manufacturer for which a structure or a structural component may be used for its intended purpose with recommended maintenance.

“AWPs are safe by design and constructed to set criteria as defined by national and international standards dependent on which country or continent they are intended to be first put into service,” said Chris Wraith, IPAF’s technical and safety executive. “The growing demand around the world for second-hand machines and the retention of machines in some rental fleets has led to the use of AWPs beyond the original design life. We need to recognize that there are machines in use which one, have been in service for 10 years or more, yet may not have reached their design life with regard to usage, and two, have reached their design like prior to 10 years because of intensive usage or use in a severe operating environment. This is where the new guidance comes in.”

The document reiterates that equipment owners should fulfill their legal obligations and ensure that AWPs are maintained in good repair and safe working order by implementing regular inspection and maintenance programs in accordance with local, state or federal regulations, legislation, directives, standards and manufacturers’ requirements. These may include pre-usage inspection, interim, frequent or periodic inspections, and six-month or annual inspection or examination by a competent person.

“The harsher the operating environment, the more frequent the inspection should be,” said Wraith.

The document suggests that an AWP should undergo a major inspection within 10 years of having been originally put into service and subsequently every five years after that.

IPAF’s new guidance on major inspections is available at www.ipaf.org/inspections and at the Publications/Technical Guidance section of the website.