Safety tips for operating a Mobile Elevating Work Platform outdoors

Sep 01 2022 | 2 Min. Read Safety MEWP

MEWPs (Mobile Elevating Work Platforms) are useful tools in an industrial environment, allowing operators to reach heights that are otherwise out of reach. But when MEWPS are used outside, there are certain weather conditions that severely impact safe MEWP operation.

This blog post will explain the hazards and how to manage them.

Tips for MEWP operation and hazardous weather

MEWP operators need comprehensive training to ensure their safety, especially in environments where these hazardous weather conditions may occur.

Wind

Wind, whether from the front, back or side, is especially hazardous for MEWPs. Wind can make an extended MEWP unstable and prone to tipping. This is an extremely hazardous environment for an operator.

According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), falls are one of the leading causes of MEWP operator deaths. Falls often occur due to high winds and other severe weather conditions.

If a MEWP is rated for outdoor use, the manufacturer will provide a wind speed rating in the owner's manual and on stickers on the equipment. OSHA’s wind speed section 1926.1431(k)(8)(i) states. “When wind speed (sustained or gusts) exceeds 20 mph at the personnel platform, a qualified person must determine if, in light of the wind conditions, it is not safe to lift personnel. If it is not, the lifting operation must not begin (or, if already in progress, must be terminated).

Cold temperatures

In frigid temperatures, MEWP operators need appropriate cold-weather clothing and accessories like hats and gloves. If it’s extremely cold, the time the operator spends outside should be limited.

Cold weather also impacts the operation of the lift. Hydraulic fluids get thicker in the cold which leads to slower response. Lubricants thicken, too, and components may warp and become brittle.

Heat

MEWP operators need to stay hydrated when it’s hot and take frequent breaks to avoid heat exhaustion.

Rain, snow, sleet, etc.

Any kind of precipitation can be distracting and make it hard for MEWP operators to focus on their task. Plus, rain, snow and sleet can create slippery, unsafe work conditions. If possible, use of the MEWP should be postponed until the weather improves.

Come to TrainMOR for MEWP operator training

MEWPs can be incredibly useful in industrial settings, replacing ladders and scaffolding. However, MEWPs come with unique safety concerns, especially when it comes to weather. Every operator should understand the basics of MEWP safety in various weather conditions if the equipment will be operated outdoors.

When it comes to training operators on MEWP operation and safety, you can rely on TrainMOR. Contact us for information on our Mobile, Memorable, and Measurable training courses—available online, in classroom and on-site.

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