Are Your MEWP Operators Low Risk?

MEWP Operator Training at AMS Group 2016

“My team know what they’re doing – they’re good operators”… But, do you really know - and can you provide evidence if asked?


Experienced machinery operators of mobile elevating work platforms (MEWP) to cranes, forklifts and other machinery have a significant responsibility for the safety of themselves and others on a work site (on your work site and a worksite that they are contacted to deliver on) and under the new Health and Safety at Work Act 2015 (HSWA), this also means that this is a risk to an organisation that require management. 

Under the new HSWA, it’s not just enough for a good MEWP operator to hold a unit standard, their skills and practices need to be current, relevant to the organisation policies and based on Industry Best Practice. This is what WorkSafe will be looking for during a site inspection.

There are 4 key areas to identify and reduce operator risk:

  1. Training for new operators
  2. Coaching and assessment for experienced operators against units standards
  3. Verification of currency (observation)
  4. Refresher training

Verification of Currency is Assurance and Insurance.

High risk industries, like building and construction, are always focus for WorkSafe and Operators within those industries will be checked for skills, experience and qualification. This includes MEWP Operators. 

The observation of a worker is the verification of the currency of their knowledge and skill in relation to best industry practice as set out by WorkSafe and your own operating procedures.  It is a gap analysis that will also provide a benchmark for the systematic management of risk to your workers.

A verification of currency can be a useful tool to ensure your high operating standards are maintained. It will identify gaps and give you the tools to address areas of development, including practices that can lead to complacency, like performing repetitive tasks.

“Observation of operators provides PCBU’s the opportunity to reduce risk under the responsibility of duty of care in the Section 36 of the Act. It also provides assurance to other organisations on whose sites you are working on that your operators are a low risk to them too” says Simone Rakena, Learning and Development Manager at AMS Group.

Independent observation will give an unbiased view of an operator’s risk and will provide recommendations for performance growth. This is a great way to engage your team and identify areas of professional development. It maintains a clear record of risk management and any remedial action.

Taking short cuts can be a large factor when something goes wrong. This can even happen with MEWP Operators that have confidence and experience too.  When team members change, the dynamic within that team can also change.  New areas of risk may not be as visible. Observation is a powerful tool, and when combined with coaching, can help correct shortcuts that can inch into an operation over time.

New Operators Require Training.

Do you have a good training programme in place and are you training your teams with industry best practice and policies?

New workers that are not experienced MEWP Operators require training.  Often this will happen within the team initially.  However, training with industry experts will help focus on industry best practice. This will assist with professional development and create a confident operator. With a good six months experience they will be ready to complete the coaching and assessment offered in the unit standard based training.

Refresh MEWP Units Standards Every 3 Years

For those that hold the current unit standards, refresher training is a recommended every 3 years as best practice. Keeping refreshers up to date is critical for operators to maintain competency and are across any changes to best practice. Do you have a refresher programme in place? If not, contact us and we can help.               

Training is a significant factor in meeting your risk management requirements, whether this is refresher training for qualified workers, training and upskilling existing workers or unit standard based coaching and assessment for new workers with on the job experience.

If you are interested in any of verification of currency services or training options for MEWP operators, find out more here. To book, contact AMS Group 0800 267 476  or book on one of the courses at a branch online.