"to promote and support best and safe practices in the use and maintenance of Elevating Work Platforms"

EWP Safety Certifier

You Must Verify Your Certifier

The Elevating Work Platform Association of New Zealand (EWPA) wishes to bring to your attention the Department of Labour's recently published a statement clarifying your legal obligations for safe use of Elevating Work Platforms (EWP) in your workplace.

The Department's statement reiterates that employers (HSE Act, section 6) and those who sell, hire out, or otherwise supply EWPs (HSE Act, section 18A) have a clear duty to take all practicable steps to ensure that the EWPs are designed, made and maintained so that they are safe for any known or likely use.

The Department also makes it clear that duty holders cannot simply rely on a certificate that an EWP is acceptable for use in NZ, or has received the required major examinations, six-monthly inspections and daily checks in accordance with the Approved Code of Practice (ACOP). This means that duty holders must satisfy themselves that persons carrying out inspections are competent.

Major examinations and inspections must have been carried out in accordance with the recommendations of the ACOP and the Standards cited in the ACOP. If the certificate is issued by a Certification Board for Inspection Personnel (CBIP) certified inspector, the Department accepts that the duty holder has been assured that inspector is competent for this purpose. If an EWP does not have a certificate issued by a CBIP-certified inspector, the duty holder may be required to demonstrate further detailed evidence of compliance.

For example, the scissor lift pictured below was completely written off as unsuitable for repair after being dropped from a crane. The machine has been 'certified' by non-CBIP inspector and is likely to soon be operating in a NZ workplace. The EWPA does not accept that this machine can ever be made safe but, in the event of an accident, various duty-holders would be expected to have confidence in the machine's certification. 

Given that the CBIP accreditation scheme has now been operating for several years, it is the view of the EWPA that an inspector who is not CBIP-accredited is unlikely to be competent or issuing ACOP compliant certificates. To ensure your compliance with the HSE Act and DOL guidelines, you should ensure that any EWP you employ has safety certification by a CBIP accredited inspector.

A person who fails to comply with the HSE Act knowing that the failure is reasonably likely to cause serious harm to any person may be liable for the maximum penalties available under the Act, which are a term of imprisonment of up to 2 years, a fine of up to $500,000, or both.

Failure to ensure that an EWP is inspected and maintained in accordance with the ACOP might also result in refusal of insurance claims for property damage.

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