Mobile Elevating Work Platforms Vs. Scaffolding

MEWPs vs Sacffolding
Majority of jobsites today require some form of elevating system.

These systems are used to help workers get from ground level to an upper level and in most cases these workers will also be dealing with materials that will also need to be lifted from ground level to higher levels.

Scaffolding has most often been the first choice for many of these contractors to use while working on a job that requires aerial work.

However, with the fast paced, always changing construction environments of today; it is important to weight the benefits of using mobile elevating working platforms (MEWPs) instead of scaffolding.

Today’s dynamic construction industry almost always has the same question to be discussed at the forefront of any job –

What will be the most efficient way to get this job done?

A major drawback from scaffolding is the set-up time. Depending on the size of the structure, a safe set up can take anywhere from a couple of hours to a couple of days.

Most of the time construction companies will have to hire outside erecting companies to install the scaffolding. This means more time is being wasted on set up of the system rather than working on the completion of the actual project at hand.

Using MEWPs will allow for workers to use their time and energy in a more productive and efficient way.

As self-propelled MEWPs can be driven right onto the jobsite, these machines allow for workers to get to their desired working platform in less time and without having to waste energy manually hoisting material and tools.

Daily tasks and jobs on the job site completed using aerial lifts instead of scaffolding require less time, less workers, and over all less money spent.

Jobsites can range from multiple different surfaces and areas. From a smooth concrete slab, to an indoor job, and even any outdoor rough terrain conditions, there is an MEWP that can work efficiently under all different jobsite conditions and circumstances.

Scaffolding requires a leveled surface and a standing structure to secure all of the scaffolding ties to.

Mobile elevating work platforms can be used indoor, outdoor, on unleveled ground, on rough terrain conditions, and do not need to be secured to any other object when being used.

For example, an SJIII3219 is a smaller electric scissor lift that can fit through standard doorways and pathways to be used inside without causing any damages.

Larger outdoor MEWPs such as a telehandler can come with 4 wheel drive, 4 wheel steering, levelling controls, and stabilizers to be used on rougher, uneven grounds and surfaces.

Safety is another major element to take into consideration before deciding on how to proceed with a job.

Falls have been deemed one of the most common workplace hazards by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration.

Therefore, the inspections, installations, operations, and maintenance procedures for both scaffolding and MEWPs need to be completed by properly trained and qualified workers.

OSHA mandates the use of PPE when working at 10 feet or more. Yet, when using scaffolding, contractors often insist on fall protection starting at six feet due to scaffolding having a higher fall risk.

Scaffolding can be very risky to work on, they are not equipped with outriggers like most lifts which give you extra stability. Scaffolding often requires many more safety measures to be in place to ensure a hazard free working environment.

MEWPs provide guardrail systems to support fall protection measures. These systems have been created in a way that allow them to move with the operator and occupants through the entire duration of the job. Harness and lanyard attachments points are provided to enable the MEWP occupants to tie off with a fall restraint or fall arrest system as required.

Even though Scaffolding has been used throughout history, playing a key role in the construction industry.

Since the invention of mobile elevating work platforms (MEWPs), scaffolding has been replaced by a much safer, more efficient way of getting the job done!

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