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Safety Alert - MEWP Ram Failure

Information has reached us of a hydraulic ram failure on an MEWP JLG 450AJ series 2 model. Please take action if you operate such a model on any of your sites.

Model Affected: The MEWP is a JLG 450AJ series 2 with a SWL 230kg.

Subject: MEWP Ram Failure.

Issue: A hydraulic ram fitted to a boom life MEWP failed as the MEWP was travelling with the basket at low level, resulting in the man riding basket tipping forward.

The machine affected was manufactured in 2012 and had recorded only 266 hours operating time. The machine had been on hire since November 2012, but used infrequently. The machine had an in date certificate of thorough examination, a lift plan had been produced for the operation. The operator had an in date IPAF competence card of the correct category. The operator had been using the machine all week without incident, or any faults identified. The hydraulic ram failed without warning, there was no hydraulic oil leak.

Actions: The incident is currently under investigation The organisation involved have stopped using any MEWP of the same make and model until the cause of the failure has been determined Other sites are advised to stop using this model 450AJ series 2 until the cause of the failure is determined.

March 2013


Update on Hydraulic Ram incident  

Following the issue of Safety Alert reference LC401-LTR-APK-HS-COM-0001 relating to an incident involving a hydraulic ram on the JLG Model 450AJ Boom Lift, a review of available information has been undertaken by a team consisting of BAM Nuttall, A-Plant and JLG representatives. The following update, to the previously issued Safety Alert, Reference: LC401-LTR-APK-HS-COM-0001 can now be released:  

Whilst there is no evidence that the operator worked outside of the permitted working parameters and a definitive cause for the incident cannot be confirmed, damage of the slave level cylinder rod on the above referenced model was most likely caused by an overload event which occurred sometime prior to the buckling of the rod. The overload and initial distortion could have been caused by either impact of the platform into the ground, overload of the platform, a significant dynamic force when driven over an obstacle exceeding normal usage parameters or an accumulation of effects from minor instances.   

The leveling rod is most exposed when at low level in travel mode; it would be unlikely that this incident would occur when at height and with the rod retracted into its cylinder.  

The cylinder remained attached to the machine, as designed, and due to site and manufacturer requirements being followed by the platform occupants, in the wearing of appropriate fall protection, any associated risk was appropriately mitigated.  

It is considered that the risk of a repeat event is low. It is advised that the initial restriction placed on JLG manufactured 450AJ boom lifts is now lifted.    

Lessons learned from this occurrence are: 

1. Operators should ensure that daily checks include inspection of the rod and cylinders. If any cylinder rod damage is suspected, place a rule on the cylinder rod to ensure the rod is not out of alignment.

2. Travel speed of the machine should be appropriate for the site conditions and should be set to "slow" when operating on uneven surfaces as noted in the Operation and Safety Manual.

3. Platform positioning should be adjusted to prevent impact with the ground whilst driving.

4. Operators to record any occasions of the overload alarm activation on the daily inspection form and to notify the supervisor of activation.

5. This incident demonstrates the importance of wearing the appropriate harness and lanyard.  

Please ensure this notification allowing the use of this model to continue, on the QEOP project is passed on to the supply chain and associated parties.

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