Mobile Elevating Work Platforms (MEWP) are versatile items of Plant that can be used in a variety of applications. These items of Plant are designed with the intention of lifting people and have the possibility of causing serious injury or death if not operated or maintained in a safe manner.
Mobile EWPs shall be designed, manufactured, tested and inspected in accordance with AS1418.1: 2002 and AS1418.10:2011 and operated and maintained in accordance with AS2550.1:2011 and AS2550.10:2006. All mobile EWPs must undergo pre-operational inspections, routine inspections, periodic inspections, enhanced periodic inspections or major inspections as outlined in clause 6.4 of AS2550.10:2006.
The following inspections are applicable:
- Pre-operational inspections – required for all MEWPs;
- Routine inspection and maintenance – required for all MEWPs;
- Periodic inspection – required for all MEWPs;
- Enhanced periodic inspection; or
- Major inspection – required for those MEWP’s not subject to an enhanced periodic inspection regime.
Enhanced periodic inspection of all critical components shall be implemented after the first 5 years of service or alternatively continue with periodic inspections followed by a major inspection by the end of the 10th year. Regardless of the option chosen, all critical components shall have been inspected by the end of the 10th year.
a ) Pre-operational Inspections
Pre-operation inspections are to be carried out before the commencement of each work shift and include both visual inspection and functional tests. As well as checking control functions for speed, smoothness of operation and limits of motion, functional tests include the testing of all emergency and safety devices including interlocks and emergency lowering devices.
These inspections should be carried out by the operator and include the items from Table 6.4.2 of AS2550.10:2006.
b) Routine Inspections
Routine inspections and maintenance shall be completed in periods not exceeding three-monthly unless the EWP is not in service. The inspector shall verify the current logbooks and operators’ manuals are up to date and available on the EWP.
The dismantling of any parts or components is not usually necessary during this inspection, however the opening of covers, which are required for service and inspection purposes shall be included.
The control functions and emergency and safety devices shall be tested during the routine inspection. Provisions for ground controls to override basket controls shall also be tested. All hydraulic hoses and connections, chains and cable mechanisms shall be inspected for wear and damage or leakage. All moving parts shall be lubricated and fluid levels and filters should be checked.
Visual inspection of the structural members and welds shall be carried out as well as inspection and measurement of all critical components such as brakes, gears, fasteners and shafts shall also be inspected. Signage, wear on tyres and corrosion shall also be inspected and a written report shall be produced upon completion of the inspections by the competent person.
c) Periodic Inspections
Periodic inspections shall be carried out at a frequency based on the working environment, frequency and severity of use. The inspection interval shall not exceed 12 months. The competent person shall identify components that require particular attention and produce a written report that shall include an assessment of the practicability of applying the requirements of the latest edition of AS1418.10.
The periodic inspection is a more detailed inspection than the routine inspection and may include dismantling of parts to check for continued suitability of use. The MEWP is not to be returned to service until all safety related malfunctions and problems have been corrected.
An area that very few owners or operators of MEWP’s are aware of, is the requirement in AS2550.10:2006 for vehicle mounted MEWP’s entirely or partly supported on wheels and axles with flexible suspension, to have a stability test as part of the fifth periodic inspection i.e. five years and every two years thereafter.
This requirement is not required for vehicle-mounted MEWP’s that are fitted with four outriggers that are interlocked to prevent the boom from operating unless the outriggers are set.
d) Enhanced Periodic Inspections
In addition to the periodic inspections there is also an enhanced periodic inspection after the first five years of service and every five years thereafter. These enhanced periodic inspections shall be structured to ensure all critical components are inspected and tested where appropriate within a five year period.
Inspection of the critical components may be deferred until the end of the fifth year, in which case the MEWP shall be subjected to a major inspection.
e) Major Inspection
A major inspection and associated maintenance of a MEWP must be carried out if any of the following conditions have occurred
- The MEWP has not been subjected to the enhanced periodic inspection regime, and has been operated for a period of ten years;
- MEWP’s that have had a ten year major inspection and been operating subsequently for a further five years, since the last major inspection; and
- MEWP’s that are to be re-commissioned or imported and do not have any previous continuous working records and maintenance records.
In practice the major inspection requires the MEWP to be fully stripped down and any paint, grease and corrosion removed from all relevant critical components to allow a complete and thorough inspection and all structural welds sandblasted and NDT for cracks using Dye Penetrant (DP), Magnetic Particle Inspection (MP) or Ultrasonic inspection (UT) techniques.
In reality when a MEWP reaches the end of its minimum design life of 10 years, rather than strip it down and rebuild the EWP many owners sell them. So if you are in the market for a second hand MEWP check its age and its service/maintenance history.
Critical Areas for Monitoring
In addition to the pre-operational, routine and periodic inspections there are some critical areas that should be closely monitored on both boom type MEWPs and Scissor Lifts as shown in the diagrams below.
This article was written by AME Managing Director, Trevor Hughes. For more information, please call Trevor on (08) 9466 7444 or contact us here.