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A Quick Guide to Mast Climbing Work Platforms (MCWPs)

A Quick Guide to Mast Climbing Work Platforms (MCWPs)

When it comes to working at height, mast climbing work platforms (MCWPs) are some of the safest and most efficient tools out there. However, even with the best equipment, accidents can still occur if proper safety measures aren’t taken. 

This article will provide a quick guide to MCWPs – including what they are, how they work, and some of the potential hazards associated with their use. Remember: when using any equipment for working at height, always take precautions to ensure a safe job site!


What is MCWP?

Mast climbing work platforms, also known as MCWPs, are powered units that propel a work platform up and down a vertical mast structure. These devices offer a variety of advantages for workers who need to access heights – including the ability to transport materials and tools to the worksite and providing a stable working surface. 


How do MCWPs work?

Most MCWPs consist of three main parts: the work platform, the mast, and the drive unit. The work platform is where workers stand while performing their tasks; it is typically equipped with guardrails to provide fall protection. 

The mast is a vertical steel structure that supports the weight of the work platform; masts can be either free-standing or attached to a building. Finally, the drive unit propels the work platform up and down the mast; it typically consists of a motor, gearbox, and control panel. 


Advantages of MCWPs

There are many advantages to using MCWPs for work at height, including:

  • Increased productivity: workers can bring materials and tools up to the worksite, increasing productivity with them.
  • Improved safety while working at height: MCWPs are equipped with guardrails and other safety features, which improve safety by preventing falls.
  • Multi-use capabilities: they can be used on various mast structures, including free-standing masts and building-attached masts.
  • Easy to set up and take down: MCWPs can be quickly assembled and disassembled, making them ideal for use on construction sites.
  • Provides a sturdy working surface for workers: working on a platform attached to a mast is much more stable than working on a ladder, for example.
  • Easier transport: MCWPs provide an easier transport of materials and tools to the worksite, saving time while reducing the need for workers to make multiple trips up and down the mast.


Potential Hazards

Despite the many advantages of MCWPs, there are also potential hazards associated with their use:

  • Falling objects: Tools and materials that are not properly secured can fall from the work platform and injure workers below.
  • Electrocution: MCWPs that come into contact with overhead power lines can cause electrocution.
  • Falling from height: Workers who are not properly secured to the work platform can fall and be injured or killed.
  • Slips, trips, and falls: Poorly maintained MCWPs could lead to slips, trips, and falls.
  • Equipment failure: MCWPs can fail if they are not properly maintained or used beyond their weight limit.
  • Being struck by the platform or mast: Workers who are not aware of its movement can be struck by it and injured.


General Safety Guidelines When Using MCWP

To help prevent accidents, workers should always follow safety guidelines when using MCWPs. Some of these guidelines include:

  • Wearing proper personal protective equipment (PPE): wear protective equipment such as a hard hat, safety glasses, and fall protection.
  • Following the manufacturer’s operating instructions: carefully read and follow the manufacturer’s operating instructions to ensure that the MCWP is used correctly.
  • Inspecting the equipment: before each use, inspect the MCWP to ensure that it is in good working condition.
  • Securing loose items: Ensure that all tools and materials are properly secured to the work platform to prevent them from falling.
  • Avoid overloading the work platform: do not exceed the weight limit for the work platform.
  • Being aware of overhead power lines: always be aware of your surroundings and stay clear of overhead power lines.
  • Avoid working in poor weather conditions: MCWPs should not be used in high winds or other poor conditions.


IPAF Guidelines for MCWPs Safety

Mast Climbing Work Platforms are increasingly being used in various industries, from construction and utilities to events and retail. In most cases, MCWPs are more convenient than other forms of access equipment (e.g., ladders, staging/swing stage, or fixed scaffolding). 

At the same time, they can present additional risks that need to be managed. That’s why the International Powered Access Federation (IPAF) has developed guidelines for the safe use of MCWPs. These guidelines cover a variety of topics:

  • The types of MCWPs available
  • How to select the right MCWP for the job
  • How to set up and use an MCWP safely
  • What training is required to operate an MCWP
  • Maintenance and inspection requirements
  • And more.


Click this link to get a complete copy of the “IPAF Guidelines for the Safe Use of Mast Climbing Work Platforms.” You can also get a copy from the IPAF website.


Use DataMyte as a Safety Inspection App for MWCPs!

When it comes to MWCP safety, it’s important to create workflows that focus on the proper use and maintenance of the equipment. This is where DATAMYTE can help! The DataMyte Digital Clipboard, in particular, allows you to create and manage customized safety checklists for your MWCP.

The DataMyte Digital Clipboard is a workflow automation software beyond traditional checklists and forms. Instead, it helps streamline your entire safety process by allowing you to:

  • Create digital checklists that can be easily completed on a smartphone or tablet
  • Collect data in real-time to identify potential hazards
  • Analyze and report data-driven insights to improve MCWP safety protocols
  • Schedule and assign safety checks to specific workers.
  • Receive alerts when a safety check is on-time or overdue.
  • Generate real-time reports on the status of your MCWP safety checklist
  • And much more!


To learn more about how the DataMyte Digital Clipboard can help you improve MCWP safety, contact us today or check out our website.



By following these MCWP guidelines, workers can help ensure a safe worksite. Make sure you use this article as a reference in ensuring proper MCWP safety. However, keep in mind that accidents can still happen — even when the best equipment is used correctly. 

If you or someone you know has been injured in an accident involving an MCWP, contact a personal injury lawyer to discuss your legal options.



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