Steps for Developing a MEWP Operator Specific Site Risk Assessment

An ANSI compliant MEWP* Safe Use Plan requires all employers to perform a Site Risk Assessment before starting a job.

The employer, or User** must first appoint a Qualified*** person to perform an assessment of the risks associated with MEWP use at the facility or job site. Risk assessments and machine selection involve multiple factors. The Qualified person must consult manufacturer references for additional guidance.

This required MEWP specific risk assessment should  start by defining the steps for developing a standards compliant plan.

1. Identify the task to be undertaken

The task to be undertaken must be clearly identified, including location and timing.

2. Select an appropriate MEWP

An appropriate machine for the task must be identified. Factors to consider can include, but are not limited to:

  • The task to be performed
  • Constraints of the worksite
  • Is the jobsite indoors or outdoors?
  • Ground condition
  • Site access
  • Proximity to other personnel on job site
  • Proximity to other equipment
  • Proximity to the public

3. Assess the risks associated with the task

All risks associated with MEWP operation must be identified. To identify risks, a daily workplace inspection must be performed, and operators must always remain aware of their surroundings and possible changing conditions. Any observed condition changes should be immediately communicated to the entire work force on site.

Examples are:

  • Traffic
  • Wind and unsafe weather
  • Drop offs and potholes
  • Overhead obstructions
  • Other personnel in the work area
  • Electric overhead

4. Identify control measures

For every identified risk, control measures must be defined.


5. Rescue from Height

The employer or User** must develop a written rescue plan that will be carried out in the event of machine breakdown, platform entanglement or fall from platform.

The plan must be put in writing and become part of the company’s training manual.

All platform occupants must receive training that explains the procedures to follow if they fall and await rescue or witness another workers fall.

Equipment failure

If system failure results in loss of control functions, the operator must:

  • Notify and coordinate with MEWP supervisor. (if possible)
  • Switch to auxiliary power system and lower platform.
  • If necessary, the operator will attempt to get help from other personnel in the work area to assist with emergency manual descent controls to lower the platform.
  • If necessary, call emergency technical services. (911)
  • Fall from platform

    This part of the Rescue from Height plan is intended to assist an operator who has fallen from the platform. A Qualified*** person must develop a plan that limits the time a person is suspended after a fall. That plan may include:

  • Self-rescue – rescue by the person involved
  • Assisted rescue by other workers in the area
  • Technical recue by emergency services. (911)
  • Implementing the Risk Assessment

    The risk assessment must be communicated to everyone involved. For long term jobs, it must be repeated periodically as necessary. Any changes to the risk assessment must be communicated immediately to all workers on site.


    * MEWP:  Mobile Elevating Work Platform

    ** User:  The person or persons who are in the position of directing operators to use a MEWP to perform work. Most commonly, this is the employer.

    *** Qualified: One who, by possession of a recognized degree, certificate, professional standing, or who by extensive knowledge, training, and experience, has successfully demonstrated his or her ability to solve or resolve problems relating to the subject matter, the work, or the project.

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