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IPAF updates injury rates

IPAF has used the latest accident statistics to improve and update its aerial lift fatal injury rate

The new calculation includes the 2014 worldwide rental fleet estimates and the number of recorded fatal accidents involving aerial work platforms for the year.

Using the fleet estimates and average utilisation rates it has calculated assumed the average number of working days to be 250 and thus arrived at 182.4 million platform working days. Using the 64 fatal accidents reported to IPAF it has calculated the fatality rate at 0.035 per 100,000 machine rental days. This compares with its calculation of 0.040 per 100,000 for 2013, when 68 fatalities were reported to IPAF and the fleet was smaller.

The association then took information published by France, Singapore, the UK and the US concerning the number of fatalities due to falls from height per 100,000. For example in the USA the 2013 fatal injury rate per 100,000 due to falls from height for equipment other than Aerial Work Platforms was 0.4, while the IPAF AWP fatal injury rate per 100,000 was just 0.03.

Presenting the research, Chris Wraith, IPAF technical & safety executive said: “End user usage is not included in these numbers, comparing fatalities across the whole industry with the total fleet size would most probably bring down the fatal injury rate, so IPAF is currently taking a more conservative approach, and this is an initial attempt to measure and quantify MEWP safety.”

Chief executive Tim Whiteman added: “We are examining the feasibility of distinguishing between accidents involving rented equipment and those involving end-user owned equipment. This ground-breaking project is helping us to create relevant safety campaigns and improve our training programmes – we would welcome comments and suggestions for improvement.”

Vertikal Comment

While this statistic is impossible to calculate to any level of true accuracy, it is a genuine attempt to put a tangible and scientifically calculated number to something that we all know, that using an aerial work platform is by far the safest method of carrying out work at height. And particularly if they are used by properly trained personnel – most fatalities with aerial lifts are the result of improper use and/or the failure to use safety equipment such as a harness and short lanyard with boom lifts.

As time goes on the accident reporting rate will improve as will this injury rate statistic.