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Do You Need a License to Operate MEWPs?

Do You Need a License to Operate MEWPs? post image

Mobile Elevating Work Platforms, also known as MEWPs, are used in various industries where working at height is essential. Because of the risks and dangers involved in working at height, there are a number of rules and regulations in place to help keep workers safe.

Unfortunately, those regulations can often leave workers, or those looking to enter the industry, feeling a bit lost in terms of the requirements expected of them… So, to help clear things up, we’re taking a closer look into the requirements for a MEWPs operator; more specifically whether or not you need a license to operate MEWPs.

MEWPs Rules & Regulations

MEWPs, like cherry pickers, telescopic booms, scissor lifts, etc., are absolutely indispensable for a number of job roles and industries, but using them does come with a number of hazards. These include falling from a height, collisions (with pedestrians, overhead cables or other vehicles), overturning and even entrapment.

In order to minimise these risks and protect workers, the government have laid out the following laws and/or regulations that employers must abide with…

The Health & Safety at Work Act 1974

Under the Health & Safety at Work Act 1974, employers must do the following:

  • Provide proper information, instruction and training for their employees
  • Ensure safe systems are in place & maintain a safe working environment
  • Accept all responsibility for the unsafe actions of their employees

The Management of Health & Safety at Work Regulations 1999

According to The Management of Health & Safety at Work Regulations 1999, employers are required to:

  • Ensure adequate measures are in place to avoid, reduce and control risks
  • Undertake risk assessments and document all findings
  • Implement actions recommended by the risk assessment
  • Appoint competent employees

The Provision and Use of Work Equipment Regulations 1998

As stated in The Provision and Use of Work Equipment Regulations 1998, employers are legally required to ensure that:

  • All equipment is maintained, repaired, and kept in good working order
  • Their employees are authorised to use the equipment
  • They provide all necessary training to safely operate the equipment

The Working at Height Regulations 2005

The most important regulation when it comes to MEWPs, the Working at Height Regulations 2005, states that employers must ensure that any work carried out at height is:

  • Carried out safely
  • Carefully planned & supervised by an appropriate party
  • Only ever carried out by someone that is competent to do so

Do I need a license to operate MEWPs?

Yes, anyone who operates a Mobile Elevating Working Platform must have received adequate training for the machine in question, and be able to provide evidence of this in the form of a certificate or card – also referred to as a license.

In order to obtain such a license, you must complete an IPAF training course relevant to the type of machinery you’ll be operating. Upon completion of your training course, you’ll receive a PAL card and an IPAF Licence that last for 5 years.

Responsibilities of a MEWPs Operator

While the majority of responsibilities surrounding the operation of MEWPs are held by employers, there are also a number of responsibilities that fall on you as an employee if you’re going to be operating MEWPs.

  • You must have received adequate training for the category of MEWP you’re operating
  • You must be able to prove you have completed the relevant training with evidence such as a license or certificate
  • In addition to the formal training course, you have a responsibility to maintain your knowledge and familiarise yourself with the controls and operating procedures of the specific model you will be operating
  • You must ensure that your MEWP license is kept up to date – an IPAF Licence lasts for 5 years, and it’s up to you to renew your licence by taking the relevant training course again before it expires

Do I Need a License to Drive a Cherry Picker?

Technically you don’t need a MEWPs license to drive a cherry picker or similar; anyone with a full UK driving licence is able to drive a cherry picker that weighs up to 3.5 tonnes (or up to 7.5 tonnes if your driving licence was obtained before 1994). But please note, this does not mean you can operate the machinery in any capacity further than simply driving it.

Does a MEWPs Passenger Require a License?

As the current legislation and regulations stand, no; passengers using a MEWP do not require a license. It is only the operators that are legally required to hold the relevant licences and have the knowledge and skill to use them. With that being said, any passengers using a MEWP must be wearing the appropriate PPE in order to safely follow and uphold H&S standards on site.

Obtain Your MEWPs License with SMCL

If you’re required to use Mobile Elevating Work Platforms in your job role, then it’s essential that you take part in the relevant training and obtain your license. To do this properly, you need a training provider you can trust that delivers exceptional IPAF Training Courses to all – like the SMCL!

Find your relevant training course today, or contact us with any queries and we’ll do our best to help.