Mobile Elevated Work Platforms Aerial Work Platforms
Mobile Elevated Work Platforms (MEWPs), formerly known as aerial work platforms enable personnel to access work areas at moderate heights. Due to their versatility and wide application in use of MEWPs, ANSI (American National Standards Institute), the national standards and regulations authority, revised policies and standards that employers and equipment operators should stay abreast of.
The changes made are documented in the ANSI A92 standard and are not only meant to unify global standards for MEWPs, but improve their design, reduce accidents, and ensure their safe use. These new standards are a result of the collaboration of ANSI and SAIA (Scaffold and Access Industry Association). As of June 1st, 2020, these new standards were enforced.
New ANSI Standards
  1. A92.22 – Safe Use: This standard outlines safety requirements and hazard-preventative measures for MEWPs to ensure personnel can safely carry out their work. Important points of note in the standard include:
    • A qualified person is required to perform a risk assessment of the work to be done, the safest method for executing the operation by creating procedures and control measures (e.g., rescue plans), and ensure the task can be carried out safely by assessing criteria such as ground conditions and overhead hazards.
    • Only the appropriate MEWP should be used for a specific type of job. Operators and supervisors should both be sufficiently familiar with it.
    • The MEWP operator should be monitored by a properly trained and qualified supervisor.
  2. A92.24 – Training: The scope of this standard covers updates to all MEWP types and their training requirements. Specific requirements to note include:
    • Operators must be properly trained, familiarized and authorized to operate the MEWP.
    • Occupants working from the MEWP must be aware of any potential work hazards, be aware of work plans and procedures, and must use fall protection equipment.
    • At least one occupant must have training over basic MEWP controls, to raise or lower the platform in emergencies.
    • Supervisors must receive training on appropriate MEWP selection, operator and occupant requirements, potential hazard identification, and understand rules and regulations that apply to safe MEWP operation.
  3. A92.20 – Design: This standard covers functional and operational capacities of MEWPs, with the objective of improving safety. Some of the changes include:
    • Load Sensing – The platform will not elevate if overloaded, showing indicator lights if it is. Booms will not extend beyond load extension limits.
    • Wind Exposure – Although maximum wind speed for safe operation is still rated at 28 mph (approx. 45 km/h), all MEWPs are now required to have stability testing, wind indicators, and ratings for the number of occupants.
    • Guardrail Heights – Changed from 39.5 inches to 43.5 inches
    • Stability Testing – Solid or foam tires are required. MEWPs using air tires must remain stationary to allow for stability of the lift.

MEWPs compliant with new design standards will be identifiable with a black and yellow banded tape running on the toe-board and counterweight.

Types of MEWP

Implementation of the new ANSI standard also reclassified MEWPs into two main categories:
  1. Group A – Group A MEWPs utilize platforms that move vertically while staying inside the tipping lines. The platform being parallel to the base during operation means that these MEWPs are very stable. E.g., scissor lifts.
  2. Group B – These MEWPs allow for lifting of the platform beyond the equipment’s tipping lines, and is categorized by all MEWPs outside Group A. What Group B MEWPS sacrifice in stability, they make up for in utility, as the base does not need to move to allow work at several overhead positions of the platform. E.g., articulating boom lifts.

Potential Hazards of MEWPs

Even with new safety standards having been enforced, it is advisable for all personnel working with and around MEWPs to look out for these main hazards:
  1. Overturning – This is when the MEWP tips over due to a lack of balance, and can be caused by strong wind, unstable surfaces, or platform overloading.

Safety Tips: 

    • Carry out thorough site and pre-use inspections, checking for factors such as unstable surfaces, stabilizer condition and tire conditions.
    • Only move the MEWP with the platform lowered and free of occupants.
  1. Collisions – The MEWP may come into contact with overhead cables, pedestrians, or nearby structures. This is due to the operator’s poor hazard visibility, especially while moving when the platform is raised.

Safety Tips:

    • Operator should familiarize themselves with the work environment for obstacles.
    • Have a spotter or Signal Person on site to give direction
    • Avoid moving the MEWP with the platform raised
  1. Falling – Occupants and loads on the raised platform risk falling after sudden movements or loss in balance.

Safety Tips:

    • Ensure occupants have fall-safety equipment
    • The work platform should be fitted with proper guard rails and toe-guards
    • Ensure the area beneath the raised platform is clear of personnel and pedestrians
  1. Electrocution – This is when the MEWP or platform occupants unintentionally come into contact with an electric current. Overhead and underground cables are the main risks of this hazard, but working on buildings under repair or construction can also cause electrocution in case of contact with exposed wiring.

Safety Tips:

    • Ground and/or de-energize overhead and underground cables
    • Adequately insulate the MEWP and equip insulated PPE for occupants and operators when working on sites with a potential electrocution hazard.

MEWP Training At Total Equipment Training

As mentioned, ANSI requires that MEWP operators, occupants, and even supervisors require varying degrees of training for the safe use of MEWPs. OSHA (Occupational Safety and Health Administration) has also outlined several safety guidelines and procedures on aerial platforms (AWPs, now MEWPs) that still currently apply.
Reduce the risks at your MEWP work site by getting up-to-date, professional and qualitative training for personnel at all levels with Total Equipment Training. Thanks to an experienced and very well-informed team, with a stellar MEWP (formerly AWP) training program, you can rest assured of updated, OSHA-compliant safety standards. Contact TET today for a consultation from anywhere across the country and our industry experts will see to all your training and inspection service needs.

Barb Fullman- CEO of Total Equipment Training
About the Author

As the owner of Total Equipment Training, Barb Fullman has been an active contributor to the heavy equipment training industry for over 23 years. Barb, a Penn State University graduate, is recognized as the highest ranking women-owned heavy equipment training business in the US. As a leading authority and provider of heavy equipment training, training manuals and tests based on OSHA Standards and Regulations, Total Equipment Trainings’ client list is composed of most of the Fortune 1000 companies focusing on energy, construction, heavy highway, and manufacturing.

Barb’s motto is “Stay safe, stay up to date”. She is committed to up-to-date & technically correct training, whether it is via in-person or through our library of online heavy equipment resources. With over 50 OSHA qualifying training topics to choose from with TET, the most popular heavy equipment training subjects are mobile cranes, NCCCO, all “dirt equipment”, rigging, crane inspections, and train-the-trainer.