More consistent accident reporting in 2013 through International Powered Access Federation's (IPAF) voluntary program, revealed more aerial work platform (AWP) fatalities than expected. In 2013, there were 53 reported fatalities worldwide involving AWPs, according to preliminary results from IPAF’s accident database.
The main causes of these fatalities and numbers for each were:
- overturn (16 deaths total)
- fall from height (13)
- entrapment (10)
- electrocution (7)
- impact with AWP (4)
- falling object (2)
- unknown (1)
Almost half the number of reported fatalities (49%) involved mobile booms. Fourteen fatalities (26%) involved mobile verticals and 11 (21%) involved static booms (1b). In two cases (4%), the type of machine involved was not known.
Thirty (57%) of the fatalities occurred in the USA. Three fatalities each were reported in Germany, Spain and the UK, two fatalities each in Belgium, Canada, France and the Netherlands, and one each in Armenia, Australia, Ireland, Malaysia, Norway and in the Middle East.
IPAF’s accident reporting project was launched in January 2012 and has filled a gap where there was previously no single mechanism for reporting and analyzing serious accidents involving AWPs and no definitive data on the number and main causes of fatal accidents. In the first year of the project, 32 fatalities worldwide involving AWPs were reported.
IPAF technical officer Chris Wraith stressed that the accident project is still in an early stage and cautioned against direct comparisons in its second year. “It will be at least 2016-2017 before any realistic year-on-year comparison on the frequency of accidents can be of value,” he said. “The comparative figures presented are for information only and do not in any way suggest an increase in the number of AWP-related fatalities from 2012 to 2013.”
“As awareness of this ground-breaking project grows worldwide, so does the number of countries, companies and individuals who contribute to it,” said IPAF CEO Tim Whiteman. “Over time, this project will capture more comprehensive data and allow us to draw more useful comparisons and conclusions. I would encourage anyone who is aware of an AWP-related fatality in their country to report it to the IPAF website. There is a mechanism to make anonymous reports should people wish to do so.”
IPAF’s accident reporting project is creating a comprehensive record of known accidents. Data gathered enables IPAF to analyze and look for common trends, and propose possible actions to further improve and promote the safe use of powered access worldwide. Data collected is kept confidential and used solely for the purposes of analysis and making recommendations to improve safety.
The data presented is based on accidents reported directly to IPAF, information obtained by IPAF staff worldwide and through information collated from various news media. The accuracy of the data cannot be guaranteed, but where appropriate, action is taken to verify the facts and the data is amended should relevant information become available.