To develop an effective safe use program that complies with new ANSI requirements, it’s important to perform a risk assessment before starting work.
The updated and approved ANSI/CSA standards bring with them a boatload of change. One key aspect every employer needs to be aware of is jobsite risk assessment.
The American Rental Association, Association of Equipment Manufacturers, IPAF and Scaffold & Access Industry Association created a document, Statement of Best Practices for Workplace Risk Assessment and Mobile Elevating Work Platform Equipment Selection, to provide a reference guide and relevant information for the industry. The document, free of charge from any of the mentioned associations, is a thorough guide that covers everything from definitions to selecting the right equipment for the job at hand.
Steps to follow
The guide states: “A workplace risk assessment focuses on job tasks as a way to identify hazards. It examines the relationship between the worker, the task, the tools and the work environment. After identifying uncontrolled hazards, it is important to take steps to eliminate or reduce the risk to an acceptable level. On larger construction projects, a workplace risk assessment may be called a job hazard analysis (JHA). Identifying hazards and assessing risks, regardless of the scope or size of your project, must be completed before work begins.”
Starting a jobsite risk assessment begins with defining the task at hand; what work needs to be done and where is the jobsite location? Will equipment need to be transported?
Next, an appropriate mobile elevating work platform must be selected to perform the required work. Things to consider when choosing a MEWP include: what working heights will need to be reached, ground conditions, site access, load capacities and proximity to people and things like power lines.
Once the above measures have been put in place, procedures and methods needed to control them must be implemented. These include: selecting the correct PPE; understanding fall arrest systems; providing proper training for operators, occupants, supervisors and maintenance personnel.
Also imperative is for employers to have a rescue from height plan. If a MEWP fails, a user must follow the manufacturer’s directions, which are in the operator’s manual on the MEWP. If an operator falls from the platform while operating the machinery, a rescue plan will be required. Many OEMs and associations state that a rescue plan must be put in writing and be a part of the company’s training manual.
Lastly, users must communicate the results of the risk assessment to all parties involved and review and adjust as necessary.