Upper controls panel: the new ISO 21455:2020 standard

What impact for MEWP controls?

This post is 4 ans old.

Last month the International Organization for Standardization (ISO) published a new ISO 21455:2020 standardrelated to operator’s controls on mobile elevating work platforms. The standard specifies the performance requirements, location, marking and method of operation related to operator’s controls on mobile elevating work platforms (hereafter referred to as MEWPs) and takes into account operator safety and ergonomics.

It applies to all controls used by an operator and includes provisions for finger, thumb, hand, and foot operated controls, and covers various recommendations such as: 

  • Maximum/minimum forces of controllers
  • Maximum/minimum sizing of controllers
  • Location and distances of controls
  • Movement, operation, and orientation of controllers
  • Layout and grouping of controls
  • Markings of controls
Upper control box- I
Haulotte current upper controls pannel. The new version is planned for the second half of 2020

Haulotte and ISO 21455:2020 standard

Pierre Saubot - ISO 21455:2020 standard
Pierre Saubot president of Haulotte Group.

Haulotte has been involved from the genesis of this subject, thanks to Pierre Saubot, President of the Haulotte Group and former President of the International Powered Access Federation (IPAF), 15 years ago.

With the IPAF Technical committee and HSE a hard and long work has been entered since 2015, to work about the standardization of MEWP controls panel. Many audit and meeting have been required between manufacturers to investigate the similarities and differences between various controls panels.

Why the ISO 21455:2020 standard emerged ?

Besides how this measure could impact the business impact that this measure will have, the main priorities for IPAF were to increase safety for users. They started to raise the subject in 1990. HSE approaches and studies showed that a numerous series of entrapment and fatal crushing incidents was due to skill-based errors which occur when an operator changes from one platform to another. Despite a lot of consciousness to improve the safe use of powered access, the only way to influence control design was to elaborate new Iso Standard. HSE and the HSL started to co-operate in a positive co-operation to identify human factor and ergonomic considerations for control design.

How the new ISO 21455:2020 standard for aerial work platform controls will impact manufacturers and the industry?

Based on current practice as well as user comfort and usability, the new standard will require minor change on control boxes. Most of the modern control boxes suit already the requirement while others may require a significant redesign of the control panel layout and orientation.

The concerned will be at the stage of the movement and orientation of the lift and drive controls. In order to help operators visualize and orientate which way up and down is, work platform controls will now need to be mounted at an angle to the work platform floor when in the neutral position. In this position, up and down should always be relative to the angle of the platform floor and intuitive to anyone looking at it.

The effect will not be immediate; most manufacturers will conform over time.

Pierre Saubot stated ;

“When I was the president of IPAF in 2004-2006 we proposed work on the standardisation of controls – so we are really pleased to see the standard is now published. The main objective was to increase safety for users, but it has required many meetings between the HSE, IPAF’s Technical Committee and manufacturers, to investigate the similarities and differences between control panels from various manufacturers. Today the question is: will all manufacturers conform to the new ISO or not?”

Some competitors have already unveiled their brand-new control panel, today the question is do all manufacturers will also or not apply the new ISO.

On Haulotte side, Alexandre Saubot declared “The third quarter of 2020, we foresee to unveil on brand new products, fitting with the new standardization for the security of our customers all over the world”.

The achieved synergy between manufacturers allows facilitating the daily job of mobile elevating work platforms users. They will evolve in the same environment on all brands to be instinctively familiar with the control, giving the possibilities to standardize training courses.

Alexandre Saubot - ISO 21455:2020 standard
Alexandre Saubot C.E.O of Haulotte Group

What next ?

The next challenge to be considered will be the revision of ISO 21455. The standardizations of placement and functionality of ground control emergency lowering function will improve telematics and common accessibility to analysis of control/function movement.

Improvement never stop in the access industry!

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