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‘Secondary Guarding’ Terminology Change

For a while now, the International Powered Access Federation (IPAF) has been pushing for the term “anti-entrapment” to be replaced with “secondary guarding”, to describe the additional equipment or devices which can be fitted to a MEWP to reduce the risk of an overhead crushing injury.

The federation technical officer Chris Wraith has previously stated, “The term ‘anti-entrapment’ devices is, in the vast majority of cases, factually incorrect,” and has asserted that the term encourages complacent behaviour in operators, who wrongly believe the device will prevent any crushing or entrapment.

In a recent meeting of the recently re-established MEWP Safety Sub-Group under the Strategic Forum for Construction Plant Safety Group (SFPSG), the IPAF has had the change pushed through by unanimous agreement. Now the current misleading 'Anti-Entrapment' terminology will be replaced by IPAF's more accurate terminology of 'Secondary Guarding'.

The SFPSG has supported the IPAFs move to use this new terminology at all rental and manufacturer meetings and in publications.

How the change came about

In a written proposal, IPAF technical officer Chris Wraith has previously stated that: Most additional equipment or devices are only activated once a person has become trapped and forced against pressure sensing equipment or devices, which stop further movement of the platform and activate visual and audible alarms to alert others that the operator has become trapped.

Furthermore, using the term ‘anti-entrapment’ is thought to encourage complacent behaviour. MEWP operators wrongly believe that an ‘anti-entrapment’ device will prevent any overhead crushing or entrapment. They become reliant on the device and less vigilant of their responsibilities and working environment.”

Industry experts agree that neither a terminology change, nor a single solution will prevent the occurrence of overhead crushing incidents. Instead, operators, site management, rental companies and manufacturers must work together towards continual improvements in: operator training, MEWP management on site, clarification of supplier roles and responsibilities and ongoing MEWP design initiatives.

Find out more

You can find out more about this and other industry updates at the IPAF website.

Set up in 1983, IPAF is a not-for-profit members’ organisation that promotes the safe and effective use of powered access worldwide and represents the interests of manufacturers, distributors, users, rental and training companies.

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