The International Powered Access Federation (IPAF) has begun a systematic project to collect worldwide data on fatal accidents involving aerial work platforms (AWPs), with the aim of improving the safe use of equipment.
Manufacturers, rental companies, contractors and users are encouraged to report any known AWP accidents or incidents using the standard form that is available at www.ipaf.org/accident. In the initial phase, IPAF is calling for reports of any known fatalities involving AWPs worldwide.
“I applaud and encourage the efforts your industry is making to collect and analyze your own data,” wrote principal inspector Joy Jones of the UK Health & Safety Executive (HSE) in an open letter to IPAF members. “Obtaining accident/incident data to identify trends and prioritize remedial action is a perennial problem… Companies sometimes have reservations about sharing their accident/incident data but in my opinion, the reputation of industry representative organizations is enhanced when they base and prioritize their activities on evidence and evaluation.”
“This project will enable IPAF to build a comprehensive record of known AWP incidents and store them in one location and in one common format, something which does not exist currently,” said IPAF technical officer Chris Wraith. “Based on the data gathered, IPAF will then be able to analyze and look for common trends, and propose possible actions to further improve and promote the safe use of AWPs worldwide.”
“Powered access offers one of the safest and most efficient ways to work at height,” noted IPAF CEO Tim Whiteman. “When an accident happens involving a platform, it tends to become a spectacle and grabs the headlines. However, powered access actually accounts for a small percentage of all accidents related to work at height, and this project intends to uncover hard data to support that anecdotal evidence and to inform further safety initiatives.”
The construction industry has one of the highest rates of fatal injuries to workers. In the US for example, it accounted for 751 fatal injuries in 2010, an injury rate of 9.5 per 100,000 workers according to Bureau of Labor statistics. Falls continue to be a leading cause of accidents. Less is known about the nature of the accidents involving falls from height and the type of equipment involved, which is one aspect that the IPAF initiative seeks to address.