Upcoming changes to mobile access tower standard EN 1004
Change is coming to the mobile access tower industry, as EN 1004 is expected to be updated later this year. EN 1004 (published in the UK as BS EN1004) is the design standard for mobile access towers used across Europe, including the UK, and it's been adopted in many other countries too. It tells us what materials, dimensions, design loads, safety and performance requirements these products should conform to. Everyone designing, manufacturing, supplying, buying, hiring or using a mobile access tower in Europe should make sure that it complies with EN 1004. What's the reason for the change? All product standards are reviewed regularly to ensure they're still fit for purpose and reflect any developments that have occurred and the way that the products are being used. Back in 2012, CEN - the European organisation responsible for standardisation, carried out a review of EN 1004. This review allowed each country to have a say on if, and how, the standard needed to change to suit today's industry. As you'll expect, PASMA participated extensively in the review process to represent our members and help shape the updates. EN 1004 was first published in 2004 and has remained unchanged since then. Following the review in 2012 it was decided that the standard should be updated, and the process of revision began. So, what's changing? We're now at the stage where we not only know what is likely to change, but when it's likely to happen. It's important to stress that nothing is definite until the final vote in February this year, however everything points to the revision being agreed and adopted. The draft revision of EN 1004 includes numerous technical and editorial adjustments that clarify or improve on the current standard but there are two significant changes: - Low-level towers with the working platform below 2.5m now fall within the scope of EN 1004 for the first time, as it's set to cover towers from the ground up (rather than from 2.5m as it is today). - On towers with the working platform below 2m it will be possible to access the platform from outside the tower. That allows EN 1004 towers to be developed for easier access at low level. Who is responsible for the revision? CEN works with the national standardisation bodies from 34 European countries - for example, in the UK this is BSI. CEN standards are managed by its technical committees (TC's) and CEN TC53 is responsible for temporary works equipment. Within TC53 sits Working Group 4, the team responsible for EN 1004 and the convener of Working Group 4 is currently Don Aers - Technical Director for PASMA. What happens next? The changes are now being put to a formal vote across all the CEN member countries. Voting closes on 13th February 2020, by which point each of the countries will have voted to accept or reject the revision. If it's accepted as we expect, then the revised standard will be ratified and published. Until we know the result of the vote, it's impossible to say with any certainty when the changes will be formally announced. However, we could see this happen as early as May 2020. Don't worry - this doesn’t mean you'll need to make any overnight changes. Standards are not applied retrospectively and there will be a transition period. But you'll very quickly need to start planning and preparing. How will you be affected and how can you prepare? The revision of EN 1004 has implications for all of us in the mobile access tower industry, from tower manufacturers to health and safety officers. To our members - we will continue to communicate with you to ensure you have everything you need to make a smooth transition to EN1004:2020. We're preparing detailed guidance for each membership category and will email you as soon as it's ready. To the wider industry - we will be releasing a free guide to the revised EN 1004, with practical guidance and useful information tailored to those who are responsible for the health and safety of tower users. Please register to receive a copy of this document when it's available. If you have any questions that you want to ask straight away or any comments you want to share with us, please use our EN 1004 Questions and Comments form to submit them. We're particularly interested to hear about any impacts you think this revision will have or any specific support or guidance you'd like from PASMA that we haven't already addressed.