High winds are forecast to batter the South West in the coming days, which is likely to result in unsafe weather conditions for operating mobile elevating work platforms (MEWPs).
The Met Office has upgraded its severe weather warning for the region and has put the Westcountry on amber alert throughout Monday.
Gusts between 60mph and 80mph are forecast to hit Cornwall, Devon, Somerset, Dorset, Hampshire and Wiltshire. The wind could be even stronger on exposed or coastal areas.
Under BS EN280:2001+A2:2009, the maximum wind speed in which MEWPs (except those designed specifically for interior use) can work is 28mph or 12.5 m/s. Operators must also be aware that wind speed can increase with height and may be 50% greater at a height of 20m above ground level.
The guide on the IPAF website also states: “Care must be taken when handling building cladding, sheet materials, panels and other such materials which can act as ‘sails’ and seriously affect the stability of a MEWP, especially in gusty wind conditions.
“For the same reason, signboards and the like must not be applied even temporarily to the platform.
“You should be aware of the shielding and funnelling effects of high buildings which may cause high wind speeds on days when the wind speed in open areas is low.
“Other sources of local high wind speed to consider are aircraft slipstreams at airports and high-sided vehicles on motorways.”
If wind speeds exceed 28mph when the platform is raised, lower it and do not operate the machine until the wind drops.
Wind speed can be measured by using a digital anemometer. Click the link to buy a digital anemometer from our online shop.