IPAF Database Reports Rise in Aerial Platform Fatalities

August 22, 2013


In the first half of 2013, there were 28 fatalities worldwide involving mobile elevated work platforms, also known as aerial work platforms, according to findings from the International Powered Access Federation’s (IPAF) accident database.

The main causes of these fatalities were overturn (10), fall from height (9), entrapment (5), electrocution (3) and impact with the aerial work platform.

Thirteen of the fatalities involved booms, 10 involved scissor lifts and three involved vehicle mounts. In two cases, the machine type was unknown.

Of these fatalities, 13 occurred in the U.S., two each in France, Germany, the Netherlands and the UK, and one each in Armenia, Canada, Ireland, Malaysia, Norway, Spain and the UAE.

While releasing these findings, IPAF also updated the 2012 preliminary results following the reporting of a previously unrecorded fatal accident in Canada in October 2012. This brings the total fatalities in 2012 to 32, instead of the 31 initially reported.

Compared with the first half of 2012, which saw 17 fatalities reported, the number of fatalities reported for the first half of 2013 has increased by about 65 percent. IPAF believes that the accident-reporting project is capturing more data, not necessarily that there are more accidents.

While the main causes of fatalities were fairly evenly spread in the first half of 2012, the first half of 2013 saw a rise in the number of fatalities resulting from overturn and fall from height. The fatalities in the first half of 2012 involved more booms (3b) and vehicle mounts (1b). Those in the first half of 2013 involved more booms (3b) and scissor lifts (3a).

“Findings from IPAF’s rental market reports lead us to estimate that there are more than one million MEWPs in the world,” said IPAF CEO Tim Whiteman. “Every fatality is one too many, but these figures show that powered access equipment remains a safe way to carry out temporary work at height.”

According to the Wall Street Journal, there is a rise of deaths occurring on communication tower worksites. A worker was critically injured in Eugene, Ore.,when the aerial lift he was operating tipped over.