SafeWork SA has commenced a six-month audit campaign of Elevating Work Platforms (EWPs) in order to educate businesses and operators about their safety duties and enforce compliance with the law.
SafeWork SA Executive Director Martyn Campbell said the compliance audit reflects the significant risk EWPs pose to workers, including falling from height, electrocution and entrapment.
In recent years, EWPs – colloquially known as “scissor lifts” – have been linked to two fatalities, several critical incidents and a number of near-miss incidents in South Australia.
SafeWork SA Work Health and Safety Inspectors will visit workplaces that use EWPs higher than three metres across a range of industries, including mining, retail, manufacturing, transport & logistics, viticulture and construction.
They will also visit hire companies to ensure processes are in place to confirm the EWP is appropriate to the task and that the hirer is competent in its operation.
The audit aims to ensure workplaces have appropriate safe systems of work in place to protect workers, and that workers and employers are educated on their responsibilities when working with EWPs. The audit will conclude in June 2019.
“Our Inspectors will be visiting workplaces across a range of industries across the State ensuring EWPs are properly maintained and tested, and that the workplace has appropriate systems in place to reduce the risk of injury to workers,” Mr Campbell said.
“Because the operating controls can vary across different manufacturers of EWPs, it’s vital to ensure the operator is properly trained on the specific type of machines used in that workplace and has proven competency.”
To reduce the risks when working with EWPs, SafeWork SA suggests the following actions:
- Ensure operators are properly trained, have proven competency and are familiar with the specific EWP in use.
- Conduct pre-start checks and tests before use and at the start of each shift.
- Report and address issues with equipment and fill in the daily logbook.
- Consider using a spotter to eliminate risks.
- Ensure staff are trained in emergency descent processes and emergency response.
- Ensure there is unimpeded access to the emergency descent controls.
- Consider eliminating or at least implementing engineering controls to reduce the risk of a crush injury.
- Set up exclusion zones if required.