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EWP services explained: your guide to effective use

Nicole Carbone |   June 28, 2024 at 9:00 AM

EWP services explained: your guide to effective use

In commercial painting, reaching high ceilings and other challenging areas has never been easier thanks to Elevated Work Platforms (EWPs). EWPs allow workers to access hard-to-reach places safely and efficiently, negating the need to use ladders or other methods that can be unsafe. But knowing when to use one, which one to use and how to use it safely is crucial to getting the job done right. If you want to get up to speed on the correct use of EWP services, we’ve got you covered with this quick guide. 

High exterior facades

If you need to access the facade of a tall multistory building, EWP services will get the job done. Here’s a breakdown of your options.

Articulating (knuckle) boom lifts

The multiple bends in the arm of the articulating boom can get past obstacles, making it perfect for accessing difficult-to-reach places. So, if you need access to an apartment block facade with trees, power lines or scaffolding in the way, an Articulating Boom Lift is the right tool for the job. Check out how we used an articulating boom for a colour upgrade at Atlantic Tower Motor Inn.

Telescopic (straight) boom lifts

Best for reaching high and wide facades. These typically have longer vertical reach than articulating boom lifts, so if you need that extra reach, a telescopic boom lift is your best bet.

Scissor lifts

While a boom lift is preferable in most cases if you’re facing rough or uneven outdoor surfaces, a scissor lift is equipped to handle it. With their in-built stabilisers and higher ground clearance, scissor lifts are perfect for maintaining a solid base over rough terrain.

Ceilings and overhead structures

For similar reasons listed above, scissor and articulating boom lifts are commonly used for high ceilings and overhead structures. But if you need more manoeuvrability in tighter indoor spaces, here are a few more options.

Vertical mast lifts

Due to their small base and lack of stability, these aren’t typically used outdoors where uneven terrain will compromise their stability. But because they’re compact, manoeuvrable and have a small footprint, they’re ideal for indoor use.

Cherry pickers

At first glance, these might seem similar to a boom lift, but cherry pickers have unique features that make them distinct. While both have a bucket attached to an extendable arm and a grounded base, unlike a boom lift, a cherry picker is usually trailer-mounted and has four legs for stability. Cherry pickers cannot move while the arm is raised, but they have the advantage of being smaller and usually more inexpensive than Boom Lifts, making them ideal for accessing smaller indoor spaces.

Complex architectural features

Whether you’re dealing with a heritage building or a modern structure with angular geometric features, EWP services can also help you navigate complex architectural features that might otherwise be challenging to access.

Let’s say you’re restoring an old cathedral with high vaulted ceilings and ornate facades. Different types of EWPs like articulating boom lifts, telescopic boom lifts and scissor lifts are valuable tools in your arsenal. This allows you to reach around obstacles, access detailed carvings, and get the height needed to safely reach high vaulted ceilings. Strategically combining these platforms allows for detailed work on delicate and complex sites.

Safety regulations - why you need experienced contractors

While EWPs are ubiquitous on modern construction and maintenance projects, they come with a range of safety risks you need to be aware of. These include:

  • Collisions: Incidents can occur if EWPs collide with other equipment, structures, or vehicles on the worksite. Poor visibility or lack of communication can contribute to these incidents. This can result in injuries or property damage.
  • Falls: This is one of the most significant risks associated with EWPs. Operators or workers can fall from the platform if it is not properly secured or if the platform is not stable. Falls can also include tools or other objects falling from the EWP causing damage or injury below.
  • Overloading: EWPs have weight limits that cannot be exceeded. Overloading can lead to instability and potential tip-overs, especially on uneven surfaces or in windy conditions.
For these reasons, it is crucial for workers using an EWP to have their high-risk work licence when the length of the boom is 11m or longer. Before allowing a worker to do this, you must first look at their licence. Prior to commencing any project where an EWP service is likely to be used, you’ll need to complete a safe work method statement and ensure that all work aligns with the statement.


Whether you're already working with a painting and maintenance contractor, or you're in the process of sourcing providers, our essential guide to WHS contractor management will help you meet Australian industry regulations and ensure site safety. Download it today.

Higgins Coatings is Australia's premier commercial painting contractor with nearly 75 years of experience in providing cost-effective painting and tailored maintenance solutions to a broad range of industries including hospitals, aged care, schools, and strata. If you need quality painting services delivered on time and within budget, contact us today.