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Mobile platform (MEWP) harness wearing

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QUESTION:

Is there a minimum height before a harness or lanyard arrest system should be used when working on a mobile platform (MEWP)?

ANSWER:

The use of work restraint harnesses or fall arrest systems is not determined by height.

The selection of such equipment will be as a result of your risk assessment into the working at height task to be undertaken and the selection of appropriate measures to eliminate or reduce the consequences of a fall, should the risk of a fall not have been completely eliminated.

I presume you mean by mobile platform some form of mobile elevating work platform (MEWP) which either come as scissor lifts which move only up and down, and cherry pickers or boom type MEWPS, which can move in all ways.

Both forms of equipment offer a guarded platform from within, the person or persons should normally work. In a scissor lift this safe working should negate the need for the wearing of a harness.

In a boom the danger comes from movement of the platform and risk of hitting obstacles or being hit by other obstacles . The boom can act like a catapult in these circumstances so the wearing of a work restraint harness is then recommended.

We have literature on our MEWPS page that gives advice on this at

http://www.hse.gov.uk/falls/mewps.htm .

Please select the pdf doc at the foot of the page on Preventing falls from boom-type mobile elevated work platforms. MISC 614 [PDF 72kb.

If you were considering fall arrest equipment then this would not be effectively activated if there is less distance than it takes for the lanyard to deploy. Manufacturers instructions would notify you of conditions for deployment.

All people wearing such equipment must also be suitably competent in its activation and use.

If you were referring to mobile tower/ mobile scaffold platforms, then attaching safety harness lanyards to it is not recommended. In the event of an arrested fall , you are likely to cause the tower to overturn, endangering both occupants and those in the vicinity.

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