22.04.2020

Standardised platform controls

The International Organisation for Standardisation (ISO) has published a new standard for aerial work platform controls.

The new ISO 21455:2020 standard outlines a range of specifics, including the location, marking and method or direction of operation related to all types of controls, including the use of finger, thumb, hand and foot operated controls.

Building on research undertaken by IPAF into platform entrapment and control design, the UK’s Health and Safety Executive (HSE) began looking into the issue in 2010 before publishing its RR960 and RR961 research reports in 2013.

IPAF's Manufacturers’ Technical Committee worked with both the HSE and US based Association of Equipment Manufacturers (AEM) on this subject which resulted in the creation of the ‘MEWP Industry Manufacturers Group’ which developed the 2015 proposal to develop an international standard leading to the release of the ISO standard this month.

Sadly you have to buy the standard, which costs 118 Swiss Francs (€112) from the ISO web site: www.iso.org/standard/70943.html

IPAF chief executive Peter Douglas said: “This unprecedented co-operation between global access platform manufacturers, trade associations and safety authorities has resulted in this new access platform control standard. It shows how important IPAF’s committees are in driving forward standards globally and it is gratifying to see this project moving to fruition and improving the safety of access platforms by standardising the controls.”

North American manager Tony Groat, added: “I believe this standard provides new language that can impact control designs to improve the operator’s intuitive direction of motion based on the position of the control panel tilted towards or away from the operator. I am optimistic that this standard will immediately influence manufacturer’s and national design standards in their next revisions.”

Vertikal Comment

This subject was first raised in manufacturers meetings almost 30 years ago, at a time when most companies were very protective about the ‘logical layout’ of their particular controls, in spite of them often being quite different from one manufacturer to another. IPAF has worked hard over the years to move this forward and it is good to see the significant progress that this new standard represents.

Cranes & Access magazine will publish a more detailed look into the new standard, its history and the background behind its development, as well as the potential impact on control layout. There is still some way to go however, as local or regional standards will only begin incorporating it when they are revised. Having said that manufacturers are likely to begin adopting any key factors that their controls do not already incorporate far sooner.

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