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Powered access ‘safe and effective’ way for people to work at height

Powered access equipment is the safest and most effective way of lifting people to work at height, according to IPAF CEO Tim Whiteman.

Mr Whiteman has given his backing to a position paper issued by the FEM Product Group for Cranes and Lifting Equipment which slams the use of tower cranes for lifting people.

The paper makes clear that such cranes are designed and manufactured to lift loads, not people, and that they should not be used for entertainment purposes.

It follows an earlier paper criticising the use of cranes to lift people “for shows, bungee jumping, dinner-in-the-sky or lifting of other structures with people on the structure or underneath”.

Mr Whiteman said: “IPAF’s members will not stand by such flagrant disregard of all safety campaigns that are aimed at ensuring that temporary work at height is performed by properly trained operators using machinery designed to lift people.

“While such fun rides may not contravene local legislation, they go against safety principles and industry good practice. Falls from height are still the largest workplace killer in Europe and in the USA, and circus entertainment has no place in the professional construction and lifting equipment industry.

“Powered access equipment is a safe and effective way to lift people to perform temporary work at height. Our industry is safe and we strive to keep it that way.”

The FEM is the European manufacturers’ association for material handling equipment. Its position paper states: “Tower cranes are, in general, designed and manufactured to lift loads as the intended use. All other uses are not allowed by manufacturers.

“When a user of a tower crane decides to operate a tower crane not in line with the intended use as described by the manufacturer, the user is responsible for a risk assessment according to the national work place safety regulations and he does so under his own responsibility.”

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