New work accident figures have been revealed showing the number of fatalities involving employees working at height.
Worldwide, there have been 28 fatalities involving mobile elevating work platforms (MEWPs) in the first half of this year, according to the International Powered Access Federation (IPAF) accident database.
Work accident increase or improved data?
This means there has been a 65% increase from the total of 17 in the same period in 2012, although this may reflect more cases being identified, rather than a rise in incidents.
‘Overturning’ was the most common cause accounting for 10 fatalities recorded in the first half of 2013, followed by; fall from height (nine), entrapment (five), electrocution (three) and impact with a MEWP (one).
As regards the type of machinery involved, 13 of the fatalities involved booms, 10 involved scissor lifts, three involved vehicle mounts and in two cases the machine type was not known.
Fatalities by country revealed
A geographical breakdown of the figures reveals that 13 of the fatalities occurred in the US, two each in France, Germany, the Netherlands and the UK, with one each in Armenia, Canada, Ireland, Malaysia, Norway, Spain and the UAE.
Observers may be concerned the latest data suggests more employees are falling victim to an accident at work, but whether or not this is the case, IPAF believes its accident reporting project is managing to capture more cases.
IPAF’s chief executive officer Tim Whiteman said his organisation’s research has led to estimates that there are over a million MEWPs globally.
“Every fatality is one too many, but these figures show that powered access equipment remains a safe way to carry out temporary work at height,” he commented.
Chris Wraith, IPAF technical officer, said the accuracy of the data is reliant on anyone using MEWPs to report fatalities.
“The comprehensiveness of the data cannot be guaranteed, but where appropriate, action is taken to verify the facts,” he added.