IPAF Releases Tool for Calculating Spreader Plate Sizes

April 20, 2012

IPAF has launched the “ready reckoner,” a conversion tool that helps operators calculate appropriate spreader plate sizes to ensure the safe use of powered access equipment. The tools is part of IPAF’s international “Spread the load” campaign, which states that plates should always be used with boom-type mobile elevating work platforms (MEWPs) when fully supported on their outriggers. Spreader plates should be used with all other MEWPs that have outriggers unless a risk assessment indicates they are not necessary,  IPAF says.

The “ready reckoner” conversion tool enables operators to quickly understand the weights and loadings that need to be considered when using spreader plates. By entering the weights of machines and identifying the different soil types, operators can then identify the suitable size and specification of spreader plates to be used. Spreader plates should have sufficient size, stiffness and strength to spread the load over the required area.

“A significant problem is that manufacturers currently use a variety of units for measuring relative bearing pressures,” said IPAF technical officer Chris Wraith. “The new conversion tool makes it clear and simple for operators looking for ready guidance. The campaign message is straightforward: Always do a risk assessment and check ground conditions. Know the weight of machines and be aware of machine point loadings and ground load-bearing capacities.”