Gather the facts when buying a second hand EWP

This non compliant bucket truck had a catastrophic failure due to overloading.

This non compliant bucket truck had a catastrophic failure due to overloading.

There is no doubt that buying second hand is a cost effective way to become an owner of a Mobile Elevating Work Platform.

However people must ensure their EWP meets New Zealand and Australian Standards (AS/NZS1418.10, 2011), otherwise the cost may be high, whatever the purchase price.

Phil Tindle, CEO of the Elevated Work Platform Association (EWPA) says buying second hand equipment is popular for small rental fleet owners and end users, with the world market for pre-owned EWP’s expanding rapidly over the last 10 years.

“Major rental fleet owners tend to remove rental units after four to seven years of service, which then enter the second hand market.”

Phil says all EWPs are a potentially high-risk asset given the nature of the product and conditions they operate under.

“It is essential that before buying a perceived bargain, people do their homework to ensure the EWP meets required standards, is suitable for the purpose it is being purchased for, and is in a condition that meets the level of risk the new owner is prepared to take on.”

New Zealand sets a high regulatory standard when it comes to EWPs, helped by manufacturers, rental fleet owners, owners and end users working together with the relevant statutory bodies to ensure standards are maintained.

Suppliers of EWPs must ensure each unit meets legal, safety and operational standards, while employers are obligated to ensure all operators have been adequately trained in the safe use and operation of the machine.

Pre-owned EWPs must have six monthly inspections carried out along with a Major Inspection called the Ten Year Inspection, (which is carried out every five years thereafter).

This inspection is particularly relevant when buying pre-owned EWPs, as they must be inspected in accordance with Standard AS2550.10, a requirement of the Code of Practice for Safe Use of Elevating Work Platforms, which requires machines to be dismantled, stripped down, and all structural components put through non-destructive crack testing.

“If the first Major Inspection (10 year) has been completed, the full report should be sighted along with confirmation of who did the testing and their qualifications.”

Phil says there are a number of other checks people can make when considering the purchase of a second hand EWP.

“It is important the Compliance Plate matches what is advertised when it comes to platform height, date of manufacture, model type and serial number. The EWP’s maintenance history including retrofits and safety upgrades should also be checked.”

It is a requirement of the Standards and Industry Best Practice Document that original operating and service manuals are available, with Decals in place and legible.

Other considerations include checking who the manufacturer is and seeing if they are represented in New Zealand.

“Potential buyers could contact the manufacturer and seek advice on the EWP they are interested in. They could also contact the previous owner to confirm its working history.”

Phil says by gathering the facts, people can eliminate a significant amount of risk when purchasing a second-hand EWP.

“Legislation can be particularly onerous which is why it is important to be pre-warned. If people are still unsure, they can ask themselves one critical key question, ‘If there is an accident will I be blamed?’”

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