Thursday, July 20, 2017

IPAF Calls for Meeting with London Mayor After Tragic Grenfell Tower Fire

by Michael Roth for RER Magazine (July 20, 2017)

Tim Whiteman, chief executive of the International Powered Access Federation, has written to Sadiq Khan, mayor of London, to express members’ wishes to work with the city and its emergency services in the wake of the recent catastrophic Grenfell Tower fire. IPAF member companies want to explore whether taller access platforms could be used in the future to help rescue people trapped during similar fires in residential or commercial towers.


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Wednesday, July 12, 2017

Firefighters' high ladder did not appear at Grenfell Tower for 30 minutes and hoses 'were hampered by low pressure' (Daily Mail)

Firefighters' high ladder did not appear at Grenfell Tower for 30 minutes and hoses were 'hampered by low pressure'.

An investigation has identified a series of failings that hampered the efforts of firefighters to tackle the horrific blaze and rescue the building's residents.

Ladders Came Up Short and Cost Lives in London Blaze, Firefighters Say (NYT)

Tuesday, June 20, 2017

Thoughts on Grenfell and Working at Height...

The Grenfell Tower catastrophe is bringing some shortcomings into focus as far as the availability of rescue equipment that might have been able to assist the emergency services.  There are some pieces of equipment around London that might have been able to reach to the upper stories to provide an avenue of escape.

People familiar with powered access equipment may be aware of the broad population of access equipment from scissor lifts to very tall truck mounted machines, but there has not been a connection between the emergency services and the owners of those machines.

What if the equipment rental companies and the local fire service administrators could begin to learn from each other with the intent of saving lives?  The emergency services could have contact information and lists of the available equipment, and the equipment companies could have employees that have undergone some basic training to safely assist fire personnel in rescues.

Thursday, June 15, 2017

Grenfell Tower

The news of the Grenfell  Tower fire is tragic.

There did not seem to be any tall firefighting equipment on the scene that could reach near the top of the tower.  I had thought that the London Fire Brigade had more tall equipment.

The U.S. cities that have some tall aerial rescue and suppression equipment are fortunate that leaders worked to get the equipment that could save lives in a high-rise incident.  Of course, the 110’ and 118’ ‘tall’ ladders and platforms would only work on structures up to 100’-110’ for rescue, and fire apparatus is now available that will reach up to 365’ (112 meters).

I am sure that there will be a plethora of investigations as to what can be learned from this event, but for now, we should all be thinking of the victims, as well as the heroes that have been risking everything in order to save lives and property.

Monday, October 15, 2012

Worldwide AWP Accident Report

AWPT recently released third-quarter information about worldwide accidents on AWPs.

Between July-August 2012, there were six accidents that resulted in seven fatalities, bringing the 2012 total to 26 fatalities.  All of the third quarter accidents were with category 3b (mobile boom) machines.  The majority of the deaths occur in the United States.

Without strict requirements for what constitutes “appropriate training,” the United States cannot hope to lessen the number of fatalities due to AWPs.  Until the industry truly adopts a “safety first” approach to work, where training investments of both time and money are not shied away from, accidents due to operator error will continue.  With an estimated 85-88% of accidents occurring due to operator error, the necessity for clear, regulated training is obvious.

Are you appropriately trained to operate aerial lifts?  Are your employees?  Refer to the industry’s Best Practices guide on the topic.  Hopefully with more people receiving appropriate training, the number of fatalities due to AWP accidents will decrease.

Thursday, September 1, 2011

The Institute featured in Elevating Safety

The Institute for Aerial Lift Safety featured in the 2011 Elevating Safety magazine from IPAF.  The article “What it Takes to Be an Aerial Work Platform Instructor” highlights trainers from around the United States, including Katherine Hinkel from The Institute for Aerial Lift Safety in Philadelphia, PA. 

Focusing on the importance of having a qualified instructor, the article defines what that term means, both from the ANSI standard and from the perspective of the instructors.

“An instructor has to be passionate about the material,” says Katherine Hinkel… “Providing AWP operators with the knowledge they need to complete their job safely is an important task for any trainer.  The decisions made regarding ANSI standards and OSHA regulations affect all of us in the industry, and a trainer needs to be aware of those developments.”

All AWPT instructors must have adequate operating experience, have experience training, and complete the AWPT instructor training course with an AWPT master trainer.