Deaths reveal machine control covers/shrouds do not provide protection

A Safety Alert Ref: FOD 3-2014 has been issued by HSE advising that covers/shrouds on mobile elevating work platforms (MEWPs) machine controls do not protect against entrapment of operators between the machine and nearby obstructions.

This advise follows an HSE review of seven fatal accidents in which operators were crushed. In five of the accidents the operator was crushed between an overhead obstruction and a cover/shroud fitted over the controls of the machine.

HSE acknowledges it is not possible to conclude that the accidents involving shrouds would have been prevented if those machines had not been fitted with shrouds. Nevertheless, HSE wants to share the conclusions of its review with those responsible for the selection of MEWPs (and secondary guarding devices) where there is a risk of entrapment and/or crushing of the operator.

Action required by HSE

HSE states that the following action is required:

  • Assessment – duty holders should assess the potential for entrapment/crushing accidents in MEWPs for the specific tasks they are to undertake. In making the assessment and deciding on appropriate safeguards, they should consider the issues described in the UK Strategic Forum for Construction Plant Safety Group, Best Practice Guidance for MEWPs, Avoiding Trapping/Crushing Injuries to People in the Platform
  • Secondary devices – where a secondary guarding device, as defined in IPAF Guidance on Secondary Guarding Devices, is required it should be selected for the specific application and its limitations should be clearly understood by those who will be using the machine.
  • Covers/shrouds – for machine controls should not be relied upon to reduce the risk of entrapment/crushing more generally.

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