Elevating Safety: UK Electrical’s Pioneering MEWP Rescue Training Initiative

In the ever-evolving construction industry, the emphasis on safety, particularly for those working at height (WAH), has never been more critical. 

The HSE statistics for 2023 show that of the 145 construction site fatalities, 51% were operatives who were working at height.

This alarming trend prompted UKE to scrutinise our existing safety measures, emergency response capabilities and and training programmes, leading us to ask several critical questions:

  • Are our site operatives qualified to carry out mid-air rescues?
  • Do they practise mid-air rescues as part of their standard IPAF 3A & 3B operator courses?
  • Would our site operatives feel confident to attempt a rescue?
  • Would they know what to do in the event of a crush injury?
  • Would they know what to do in the event of a suspension injury?
  • How can we empower our operatives to act with confidence in such an emergency?

To answer these questions, UKE collaborated with GT Access, our trusted MEWP training provider, to review and significantly enhance our emergency response training protocols.

Stewart Flood, GT Access’s compliance manager, confirmed the gap in current training programmes, highlighting the absence of mid-air rescue practice in standard IPAF 3A & 3B operator courses.

Together, we outlined a multifaceted approach to bolster our emergency preparedness including:

New training

  • Creation of a  bespoke Emergency MEWP Rescue training course with hands-on practice for students on a variety of machines
  • IPAF Harness User training for all operatives 
  • IPAF Harness Inspection training for all UKE site supervisors
  • Emergency first aid training for all site supervisors and deputies including protocols for crush and suspension injuries

New procedures

  • Creation of a new emergency MEWP rescue plan tailored for each site, and included in inductions for all operatives
  • Creation of a new mid-air rescue risk assessment
  • Introduction of mandatory MEWP familiarisation procedures for all site operatives
  • Emergency MEWP rescue kits for all sites

Transformative Outcomes

The impact of this initiative has been profound. All of our supervisors and operatives have completed their training and the feedback from both UKE operatives and GT Access has been overwhelmingly positive. 

The Emergency MEWP Rescue course has been praised for its practicality and relevance, equipping our team with the skills and confidence to manage emergency situations effectively. 

Stewart Flood of GT Access lauded UKE’s proactive stance, expressing hope that this initiative would inspire others in the industry to follow suit. He said;

“Colleagues from UK Electrical have recently attended a bespoke MEWP aerial rescue course. The course was built upon the IPAF Operator course and included more detail in the options available to operatives in the event of an incident. It’s encouraging to see UK Electrical identify this area of concern and go the extra mile in commissioning this course. Well done to all the delegates and UK Electrical!”

This feedback underscores the value of the training, not just in enhancing safety protocols but also in fostering a culture of proactive safety management within the industry.

A Commitment to Continuous Improvement

This initiative is just one aspect of UKE’s ongoing commitment to safety and excellence. By identifying a critical area of need and addressing it head-on, we’ve not only enhanced our team’s capabilities but also set a new industry standard for emergency preparedness.

Our collaboration with GT Access has been instrumental in developing a training programme that goes beyond conventional requirements, providing our operatives with the knowledge and tools they need to ensure the safety of themselves and their colleagues.

Our journey towards enhancing workplace safety continues, with the aim of not only protecting our workforce but also inspiring others in the industry to follow suit and prioritise safety above all. UKE remains dedicated to fostering a culture of safety and continuous improvement, ensuring that our team is prepared to face the challenges of tomorrow with confidence and competence.

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