How to Develop a MEWP Rescue Plan

MEWP Rescue Plan

MEWP rescue plan represents the Mobile Elevated Working Platform (MEWP) rescue plan.

Most equipment is built with in-built safety measures to ensure the safety in the use of the equipment as much as possible. However, things still go wrong.

Since no system operation can boast of 100% safety, there must be an emergency measure put in place in case something goes wrong. This is where the MEWP rescue plan comes in.

Aim Of MEWP Rescue Plan

This MEWP rescue plan aims to bring the occupants of the aerial platform to the ground safely. Therefore, all measures adopted must ensure the safety of the occupants of the aerial lift.

Read AlsoMEWP Safety: How to ensure safe use of the MEWP

Need for rescue

Occupant(s) of the MEWP  may need to be rescued in one or more of these situations:

  • Operator incapacitation
  • Occupant injury
  • Snagged platform
  • Platform overload
  • Mechanical malfunction, etc.

MEWP In-Built Safety Measures

Aside from the normal controls, the MEWP also has auxiliary controls that could be used if the normal control fails.

The MEWP has:

  • Normal upper control (From the basket)
  • Auxiliary upper control
  • Normal ground control
  • Auxiliary ground control

It is only when all the above measures have been exhausted and an attempt at repair fails that the MEWP rescue comes into play.

In any situation that prevents the platform from being lowered to the ground by the operator using the normal controls, there will be a need for a clear plan to bring the platform and occupants safely to the ground promptly.

Read Also: MEWP Risk Assessment: What it covers

How To Plan MEWP Rescue

  • Ensure the ground key is always available on the ground
  • Ensure all MEWP operators are trained and fully familiarised
    with the MEWP (including use of auxiliary controls) and the
    work to be performed.
  • Communicate the MEWP risk assessment and safe method of work to everyone involved with the use of the MEWP.
  • Familiarise qualified persons on the ground or working near
    the individual MEWP with the ground controls and allow
    them to practice lowering the raised platform.
  • Identify qualified personnel who can assess the emergency to identify risk and determine risk level.

The qualified personnel is to determine:

– Possible causes of the situation
– If persons in the platform need medical attention and urgency.
– If all occupants in the raised platform are secure where they are
– If there are any reasons why the occupants should be lowered
as a matter of urgency – e.g. excessive winds, lightning storm

Once the situation has been assessed an appropriate action plan can be implemented to recover the situation.

Read AlsoElevated working platform safety regulations

MEWP Rescue Chain of Actions

This rescue plan is activated when the normal upper control function fails. Here are the steps to follow:

  • Normal ground control should be attempted; if it fails
  • Use the upper auxiliary control; if it fails
  • Try the ground auxiliary control; if it fails
  • Try onsite repair if available; if it fails, then,
  •  Use the mid-air rescue (Basket to Basket rescue)

Note: All ground actions must be undertaken by the appointed rescue person.

If you have noticed the chain of events, it is recommended that auxiliary control should only be used if both upper and ground normal control fails if occupants need fast rescue. This is because, auxiliary control takes long to return the aerial platform to the ground, thereby slowing the speed of rescue.

Safety Precautions When Using The Mid-Air Rescue (Basket to Basket Rescue) 

Basket-to-basket rescue can be complicated and pose additional health and safety risks so it is important to follow safety precautions when carrying it out.

Some safety precautions:

  • The rescue machine should be placed in the safest position to minimize any additional danger to anyone involved in the rescue
  • The two machines should be placed adjacent to each other with the smallest possible gap between them.
  • Attach a double lanyard to the person being rescued to provide anchorage on both machines before the rescue takes place.
  • Never overload the rescue machine as this could lead to over-tipping or delay the rescue operation

Note: Where a basket-to-basket rescue is not feasible, crane rescue could be used.

Example Of MEWP Rescue Plan

 1Failure of upper control functions while elevatedWhere the normal upper control functions fail; the operator will use the upper auxiliary controls to lower the platform safely.
 2Failure of the operator to be able to operate the MEWP functions while elevated due to one of the following reasons:


A. Operator incapacitated


B. Both normal and auxiliary functions fail to operate from the upper control station

Where the operator is incapable of lowering the raised platform using the upper controls; an appointed person familiarised in the use of the ground controls will lower the platform safely using the normal ground controls.
 3Failure of normal ground controlsWhere the normal ground controls fail; an appointed person familiarised in the use of the ground controls will use the ground auxiliary controls to safely lower the platform.
  4Failure of ALL normal and auxiliary lowering functionsWhere all normal and auxiliary functions have failed a qualified person, and a service technician should be contacted.

Additional document – PDF

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