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IPAF calls for more near-miss data

IPAF Global Safety Report

Global Safety Report 2021 highlights need for more powered access near-miss data from across industry

THE latest IPAF Global Safety Report analyses the main causes of serious injuries and fatalities occurring when using powered access machines to conduct temporary work at height, highlighting the need to gather more near-miss data from across industry worldwide to help avoid the most common types of serious accident in future.

Whilst the report, based on incidents logged in IPAF’s Accident Reporting Portal (, indicates the main causes of serious injuries and deaths while using powered access machines have not changed significantly across the most recent two years of data, electrocutions have increased slightly to become the joint most common cause along with falls from the platform.

Over the five-year period 2016–20, the most common causes of fatal incidents were falls from the platform and electrocutions, both accounting for 23% of deaths, followed by entrapments (19%), MEWP overturns/tip-overs (12%), MEWPs being struck by another machine or vehicle (6%) or hit by falling object(s) (5%).

In the early days of the accident reporting project, which launched in 2012–13, most reports were received from IPAF’s UK membership. As the project enters its second decade, reports are now coming in from around the world, with reports received from 19 countries during the most recent two years of data gathering, and more than 25 countries worldwide in the past five years.

This year the report has been presented in a different way with an executive summary giving a global overview, followed by detailed data spreads looking at each of the six main accident types broken down by location, machine type, and industry sector, including lost-time-incident analysis specific to each incident classification.

Brian Parker, IPAF’s head of safety and technical, said: ‘This new format will make the report easier to digest and understand, especially for members of the powered access rental industry and health and safety representatives at IPAF member companies, as well as end-use contractors of powered access.

‘It may be statistically interesting to compare the number of accidents occurring around the world and between industry sectors, but it is more relevant and informative to be able to take a detailed look at electrocutions and falls from the platform, for example, to see what machine type, configuration, location or industry sector these are occurring in, to consider what some of the underlying factors may be and to plan ahead accordingly.

‘This new approach allows us to present some key recommendations to factor in when planning powered access use, linked to specific references – be that technical guidance information, the free IPAF Andy Access safety posters and Toolbox Talk series, or relevant training courses that operatives and managers are advised to undertake to mitigate the specific risks identified leading to certain types of accident.

‘We must now focus on areas where we know we need more data; this means gathering more information about near misses. Whilst we are getting comprehensive reporting of serious injuries and deaths, we need more reports of the seemingly innocuous mistakes that might have led to a serious outcome but didn’t.

‘Near misses are important in understanding trends and preventing serious accidents in future. We hope that direct access to the reporting portal from the newly launched IPAF ePAL mobile app for operators and supervisors will empower more people to record these sorts of incident – quickly, easily and anonymously, if so preferred.’

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