BS 7981:2017 Code of practice for the installation, maintenance, thorough examination and safe use of mast climbing work platforms (MCWPs)

BS 7981:2017

Code of practice for the installation, maintenance, thorough examination and safe use of mast climbing work platforms (MCWPs)

Status : Current   Published : October 2017



What is this standard about?

It’s about mast climbing work platform (MCWP) safety. It offers recommendations and guidance on the installation, dismantling, maintenance and thorough examination of MCWPs. It also gives recommendations and guidance on their safe use.

Who is this standard for?

Users will come from many industry sectors including: 

  • Building construction and maintenance
  • Telecommunications
  • Tree surgery
  • Rental industry
  • Training companies

The standard will be used by: 

  • Employers, managers, supervisors and operators of MCWPs
  • Safety professionals
  • Training and educational establishments
  • Trade and industry federations
  • Rental companies
  • Manufacturers
  • Enforcement authorities and standard agencies

Why should you use this standard?

Working at height is a high risk activity. Using this standard maximizes the likelihood that appropriate MCWPs are selected for use and that they are positioned, used, maintained and examined safely.

What’s changed since the last update?

Since BS 7981:2002 was published there have been significant technical developments affecting machine design, safety and working practices. Major changes to the standard include:

a) Greater detail on the implementation of a risk assessment

b) Simplification of the responsibilities for the safe operation of an MCWP, including:

  1. The removal of the term “user” and its replacement with “operator”
  2. The introduction of recommendations for the “appointed person (user)” and the“appointed person (supplier)”
  3. The recommendation for a trained installer to remove and reinstall a top tie
  4. Clarification of the role of the demonstrator

c) The replacement of “induction” with “familiarization” and additional recommendations for familiarization

d) Additional recommendations for:

  1. Alteration
  2. Thorough examination, including examination following installation, reconfiguration and repositioning
  3. The use of safety harnesses and the preparation of a rescue plan
  4. Record retention

e) A new table giving a mast climbing work platform training needs analysis

f) New example MCWP daily and weekly checklists in Annex A

g) A new example checklist for thorough examination in Annex E

NOTE: The vertical moving component (work platform/deck) of a MCWP is used to move persons and their equipment and materials from the work platform to and from a single point. This is of one of the features that distinguish MCWPs from builder’s hoists. 

This British Standard does not give recommendations for: 

  1. Dealing with the hazards involved in the manoeuvring, erection or dismantling, fixing or removing of any materials or equipment which are not part of the mast climbing work platform 
  2. The handling of specific hazardous materials
  3. Mobile elevating work platforms (MEWPs) as defined in BS EN 280, suspended access equipment as defined in BS EN 1808 or lifting tables as defined in BS EN 1570
  4. Delivering persons and/or materials to fixed landing levels

Equipment referred to as lifts, hoists or transport platforms are dealt with by other standards, including BS EN 12158-1, Builder’s hoists for goods, BS EN 12159, Builder’s hoists for goods and passengers, and BS EN 81-43, Safety rules for the construction and installation of lifts.

Standard NumberBS 7981:2017
TitleCode of practice for the installation, maintenance, thorough examination and safe use of mast climbing work platforms (MCWPs)
Publication Date31 October 2017
Normative References(Required to achieve compliance to this standard)BS EN 1495:1997+A2:2009
Informative References(Provided for Information)Lifting Operations and Lifting Equipment Regulations (LOLER) 1998, The Management of Health and Safety at Work Regulations 1999, The Health and Safety at Work etc. Act 1974, Electricity at Work Regulations 1989, The Provision and Use of Work Equipment Regulations 1998, Safe use of lifting equipment. Lifting Operations and Lifting Equipment Regulations 1998, BS EN 12158-1:2000+A1:2010, BS EN 81-43:2009, BS EN 1808:2015, BS 7212:2016, BS EN 12159:2012, BS EN 1570:1998+A2:2009, BS EN ISO/IEC 17020:2012, BS EN 280:2013+A1:2015, BS 5975:2008+A1:2011
ReplacesBS 7981:2002
Draft Superseded By17/30342358 DC
DescriptorsMobile working platforms, Lifting, Examination (quality assurance), Lifting equipment, Passenger hoists, Installation, Performance testing, Occupational safety, Hoists, Equipment safety, Maintenance, Mast hoists, Inspection
ISBN978 0 580 94431 4
File Size12.72 MB

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