Coming changes to aerial work platform standards

They're now called Mobile Elevated Work Platforms, and that's just the beginning of it.

The Association of Equipment Manufacturers (AEM)shared coming changes to ANSI (United States) and CSA (Canada) standards that have, for almost 40 years, provided best practices for safe, reliable access to work at height.

These standards have delivered a consistent benchmark for safe machine design in North America. Standards set a safety level for all participants in the market. Good standards also bring global markets closer together, driving commonality and stronger market competition, says Scott Owyen, Genie training manager for Terex AWP, at AEM's 2017 Product Safety and Compliance Seminar.

Why are the standards changing?
ANSI and CSA both require periodic updates to all standards. The updating process includes a review of any ISO standards that apply to the products being addressed. Benefits from incorporating ISO concepts in the new ANSI and CSA standards include: North American aerial work platform manufacturers will be more closely aligned with global markets like Europe, Australia and China.

These changes will allow aerial work platform owners to more easily trade new and used equipment in many countries.

What is changing?
1. Equipment Terminology Aerial Work Platforms (AWPs) will now become known as Mobile Elevating Work Platforms, or MEWPs. In previous iterations of the standards, AWPs were classified by product types, such as booms, scissors and so on. In the new standards, MEWP classifications are made up of a combination of two key distinguishing descriptions: an MEWP group and an associated MEWP type.

An MEWP group is determined by the platform location and the equipment’s tipping line, which is either at the wheels or the outriggers. A Group A machine has a design that does not allow the main platform to extend beyond its tipping line go outside of the drive chassis envelope. Scissor lifts are part of Group A.
Group B machines allow the platform to extend beyond the tipping line. Articulating or telescopic booms are Group B machines.

An MEWP Type is in reference to the equipment’s ability to travel:
Type 1 – Traveling is allowed only with the MEWP in its stowed position
Type 2 – Traveling with work platform elevated and controlled from the chassis
Type 3 – Traveling with work platform elevated and controlled from the work platform

2. Equipment Design Standards The standards also include several big changes to the equipment itself:
Load Sensing: Many MEWPs, when in an elevated position, will be required to continuously check the weight in the platform and disable certain functions if the load is above the platform load limit. Other MEWPs will be able to apply enhanced overload criteria or enhanced overload and stability criteria to satisfy the requirement.
Dynamic Terrain Sensing: Drive and certain boom functions will be disabled when outside of its slope limit but allows functions that will return the machine to safer terrain.
Indoor-only Machines: Allows smaller, lighter-weight MEWP development that will bear an “indoor only” rating. they cannot be used in conditions where they might be subjected to any wind.

The new standards also require toe guards on work platform entrances, prohibits the use of chain gates and flexible gates and reduced lift and lower speeds on some models.

3. Safe Use and Planning The standards require that the user develop a Safe Use Program specific to MEWPs. The program must include a site risk assessment; suitable selection, provision and use of MEWP and associated equipment; and an assessment that the support surface can support the weight of the MEWP. the program must include MEWP maintenance that covers inspections and repairs and inform the operator of local site requirements and provide the means to protect against identified hazards.
A trained and qualified supervisor must monitor the performance or the work of the operator; and prevention of unauthorized use of the MEWP; and protect the safety of persons not involved in the operation of the MEWP.

4.Risk Assessment and Rescue Planning The risks associated with the task specific to MEWP operations shall be identified. These might be associated with the location where the work is to be carried out, the nature of the MEWP, or the personnel, materials and equipment to be carried. This includes identifying control measures and safe work procedures; planning for rescue from height; and communicate the results.

The user must develop a written rescue plan that will be carried out in the case of machine breakdown, platform entanglement or fall from the platform. It must be incorporated into the company's training manual. MEWP users must receive training that explains procedures to follow if they fall and await rescue or witness another worker's fall. This plan must limit the time that a properly restrained worker hangs suspended in the air. Rescue plans can include steps for self-rescue, assisted rescue or technical rescue  by emergency services.

5. Training (Operators, Supervisors & Occupants) Users -- most commonly the employer -- MUST understand several significant changes to training requirements
Supervisor Training: (ANSI only) The user must ensure that all personnel who directly supervise MEWP operators are trained in the selection of the correct MEWP for the work;
the rules, regulations and standards that apply to MEWPs, including the provisions for safe use as defined in ANSI A92.22 Training and Familiarization, and the work being performed; potential hazards associated with use of MEWPs and the means to protect against identified hazards; and knowledge that the manufacturer's operating manual(s) are an integral part of the equipment and need to be stored properly in the weather-resistant compartment on the MEWP.

Occupant Training: The MEWP operator must ensure that all occupants in the platform have a basic level of knowledge to work safely on the MEWP. this training includes the use of fall protection; how their actions could affect stability; safe use of MEWP accessories they are assigned to use; site-specific work procedures related to the operation of the MEWP; hazards of the task at hand and their avoidance; and manufacturer’s warnings and instructions. At least one of the occupants must know how to operate the controls in an emergency where the operator cannot.

6. Maintenance and Repair Personnel Training Maintenance and repair personnel must be trained by a qualified person to inspect and maintain the MEWP in accordance with the manufacturer's recommendations, as well as ANSI and CSA standards. In the case where a MEWP is being rented, the rental center must identify the entity that will be responsible for the following types of inspections and maintenance activities:

Frequent Inspections – When the MEWP is put into service or has been out of service for three months; and
Annual Inspections – Performed no later than 13 months after the previous annual inspection.

This article only scratches the surface of the changes Obtain a copy of the standards fully understand its requirements. The new ANSI A92 Mobile Elevating Work Platform (MEWP) suite of standards covering design, safe-use and training are set for publication in late summer 2017. The CSA standards have now been published. The compliance dates for the ANSI standards is expected to be 12 months from publication. For the CSA standards, no compliance date is noted in the standard, only recommendations and these will vary, based on provincial regulations.

More Information
For more information on the Product Safety & Compliance and Product Liability seminars, contact Nathan Burton, AEM technical and safety services manager (,  414.298.4126).