Over 1.1 million MEWPs now in worldwide rental fleet

The International Powered Access Federation (IPAF) recently discovered that there are approximately 1,120,000 mobile elevating work platforms (MEWPs) available to hire around the world. This figure is 8% higher than the previous year, and of course does not even include those MEWPs individually owned by construction firms and such.

On the whole, more and more MEWPs are being added to the worldwide rental fleet with most countries seeing a growth in this billion dollar industry.

MEWPs around the world

Almost half of the hireable MEWPs are located in the US, with over 500,000 units available. The market in the US is worth approximately $7.9 billion now which is a 10% rise on last year. Also often known as aerial work platforms (AWPs) in America, the US AWP rental fleet grew by 7% in 2014 due in part by strong demand from the construction industry and rental rates improvement.

Meanwhile, back in Europe the European MEWP rental market increased a little in 2014 (+1%) and is now worth around €2.6 billion. These figures were calculated in the IPAF European Powered Access Rental Market Report 2015. The overall size of the rental fleet in Europe grew at a slow and steady pace to circa 285,000 units. As well as the UK market being studied, other European nations to be investigated were Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Italy, the Netherlands, Norway, Spain and Sweden.

This growth was seen in the majority of European countries in 2014. The only European nations in which the MEWP rental market deteriorated were France and Finland. The markets in Italy and Spain showed indicators of a slow recovery after a number of years of shrinkage. The MEWP rental markets in Germany, Norway, Sweden and the UK increased at a similar rate, largely driven by fleet expansion.

Further afield, the MEWP rental market in China increased hugely at around 25% to 30% over the past couple of years to reach nearly 9,000 units. This is of course driven by a continued building boom in the country.

Where the figures come from

These statistics were compiled by IPAF for its US and European Powered Access Rental Market Reports 2015. IPAF is a not-for-profit members’ organisation which aims to promote safety and training for users of powered access machines around the world. First established in 1983, IPAF now leads the way in design, safety and testing practices in the powered access industry among individual users, construction firms, manufacturers, distributors, training and rental companies.

Proper training

These figures go to show that with so many MEWPs available to hire around the world, the importance of proper training is huge. This is not only to protect those using the MEWPs, but of course also to protect those working around the machines and even nearby civilians. Inadequate IPAF training (and poor Health and Safety training in general) is one of the primary causes of accidents on building sites. There really is no substitute for properly trained staff and a focus on safety.