The International Powered Access Federation (IPAF) has found that aerial work platforms (AWP) are one of the safest ways to perform work at height.

The worldwide fatality rate for rental AWPs was .035 in 2014, according to IPAF. This number was not only lower than the prior year’s fatality rate of .04 but was also much lower than the worldwide fatality rate for falls from height (excluding AWPs) at work and from any kind of death at work (excluding AWPs).

The IPAF calculated the fatality rate for AWPs by taking into account the estimated AWP rental fleet (1.1 million), the average worldwide utilization rate, average days worked per year, and the number of deaths involving AWPs per year.

In 2014 there were 182.4 million AWP rental days worldwide, according to IPAF. During those hours of operation there were 64 reported fatalities involving an AWP, resulting in a .035 fatality rate. The year before, 168.4 million AWP rental days with 68 reported fatalities resulted in a .04 fatality rate.

This shows a drop in worldwide rental AWP fatality rates, even with a growing fleet size and utilization rate.

The IPAF then compared AWP fatality rates with other causes of death at work in the U.S. to put the AWP fatality rate into perspective. In 2013, the fatality rate for rental AWPs was .03, .4 for falls from death, and 3.27 for death of any kind at work.

All the information for this evaluation was gathered using data from the rental AWP industry because there isn’t accurate data for the entire AWP industry’s fleet. The fatality rate for AWPs would most likely go down if the entire industry’s data was analyzed, said Chris Wraith, IPAF technical & safety executive.

The main cause of death for AWPs continues to be falls from height and overturn, according to IPAF. However, the accident data it has gathered will be used to improve the content of training programs and develop technical guidance to target specific high-risk professions, according to IPAF.