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Operating EWPs in Windy Conditions

Most accidents that occur during the use of an EWP could have been avoided with the appropriate elevated work platform operator training and by using the equipment within the manufacturing specifications.

Elevating Work Platforms can be subject to side forces. The predominant side forces are those arising from wind and manual forces (e.g. pushing or pulling).

The below points address the use of EWPs in windy conditions:

  1. Under no circumstances should an EWP be used outside of Original Equipment Manufacturer (OEM) specifications.

  2. All operators of scissor lifts / vertical manlifts / trailer mounts and boom lifts up to 9 metres should obtain the “EWPAA Yellow Card License” before operating any EWP in this category.

  3. Wind Speeds of an EWP should always be visible on the decals of the machine; these are usually located at the entrance door and in the basket near the control panel.

  4. Wind speeds should always be specified on the compliance plate of any EWP to ensure the EWP has been engineered for outdoor use subject to external conditions.

  5. 12.5 m/s (meters per second) or 45km wind speed is required to be clearly stated on decals and compliance plate of the machine. Should the EWP not have this stated, the EWP must be considered for inside use only with no subjection to external weather conditions.

  6. Anemometers and Beaufort Wind Scale can be used to measure wind speed.

  7. Operators should never work in EWPs if the current conditions exceed the stipulated wind speeds or if the operator deems it unsafe to use or work from the EWP.

  8. NO external attachments should ever be fitted to the EWP without OEM certified approval as this can affect a range of machine capabilities including wind speed criteria.

  9. The operator must make sure they understand the specific plant and how the wind speed can change equipment operation. For example; an EWP may be rated at the 12.5 M/S, however this may reduce given the amount of personnel in the basket when working outdoors. Not all machines are the same and can vary so operators must be aware of machine capabilities. This is covered through the Yellow Card training program in detail.

The two critical factors are the “Human Element” training and knowledge, and equipment quality. Operators should be using the best quality equipment available fitted with the latest safety and operational technology in the market. Having both quality equipment and qualified operators will reduce incidents when operating EWPs.

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