Large variances in the quality of inspections and the abilities of inspectors have driven the Elevating Work Platform Association of New Zealand Inc. (EWPA) to develop a new regime
The Registered Inspector Programme (RIP) is designed to improve the inspection process and quality carried out of mobile elevating work platforms (MEWPs) throughout the country.
Focusing on safety and the certification of MEWPs in accordance with the Australian Standard AS2550:10 and Elevating Work Platform Best Practice Guidelines 2014, EWPA believes its RIP will maintain the industry’s high levels of safety around the inspection of MEWPs.
Currently, the New Zealand MEWP inspector market is made up of hire companies, MEWP specialty maintenance and servicing companies, and importers/distributors/manufacturers.
Typically, these businesses’ MEWP inspection staff are trade-qualified mechanics, auto electricians or hydraulic specialists who are also responsible for other functions in their businesses.
However, there are only a small number of specialist MEWP inspectors, of whom many are not directly employed with a MEWP business.
While these inspectors are highly skilled in their roles, they are only exposed to working on or around MEWPs for a small percentage of their time, EWPA President Rodney Grant says.
Thus, they are limited in their understanding of any advances in technology, innovations and industry-specific safety improvements, he adds.
“We’ve consulted with the industry to get an understanding of where the problems are, which has highlighted for us a number of issues,” Grant says.
“Primarily, the industry has told us they’re concerned by a lack of controls, training, and industry focussed accreditation for inspectors.
“For this reason, RIP was developed to fill the gaps identified and provide a continuing education and training development pathway for inspectors.”
Under RIP, potential inspectors are formally assessed, verified, and moderated to ensure they possess the level of experience and expertise required to undertake six-month and/or major inspections of MEWPs.
Additional and continual education is provided to help improve potential inspectors’ processes through regular auditing.
Grant says this will bring about a pathway for inspector technical development and growth which, in turn, creates an attraction to the industry.
“This is a ‘for industry, by industry’ nationwide initiative, so who better to maintain the competency of MEWP inspection professionals than the peak body?”
“The more registered inspectors are assessed, verified, and moderated, the safer MEWPs will be in the market.”
“You can feel confident a MEWP inspected by an EWPA Registered Inspector has been inspected to the best level available.”