The International Powered Access Federation this week launched a Smart PAL Card, available in different languages, which is machine-readable and is designed to ensure that only trained operators can use mobile elevating work platforms on a jobsite. Standard PAL Cards will continue to be issued and accepted.

The Smart PAL Card looks the same as the standard PAL Card — the data stored on the card, such as the operator name, number and categories trained in, is also printed on it — the only difference is that the Smart PAL Card is marked by a wireless icon and contains an embedded chip.

The data in the chip can be read by a card reader fitted to the machine, and can be set up to accept certain data that will allow the machine to be operated. This data includes whether or not the cardholder is trained, to what level and in which machine categories.

Using a Smart PAL Card along with a reader device can allow control of machine access and thereby improve site safety, IPAF said. Site managers can use the system to ensure that only correctly trained operators can operate MEWPs or mast climbing work platforms. They can also track who has used which machine, for how long, and prevent fraudulent use.

“The yellow PAL Card is established as a must-have qualification on most jobsites and the optional new smartcard technology will bring added benefits,” said IPAF CEO Tim Whiteman. “The Smart PAL Card can be used as part of an electronic logbook of operator experience and can be linked to machine tracking systems. It brings exciting possibilities to make MEWP access safer and MEWP use more secure.”

Smart PAL Cards can be read by virtually all card readers and there are no restrictions on which smart card readers should be used. Operators or companies can specify if they wish to be issued with a Smart PAL Card or a standard PAL Card when booking courses with their IPAF-approved training center.

PAL Cards are issued to operators who successfully complete the IPAF training program after passing a written and a practical test. They are valid for five years and show the machine categories that operators have been trained in.

For more information on IPAF training and the PAL Card, visit www.ipaf.org/pal.

IPAF is a not-for-profit members’ organization that promotes the safe and effective use of powered access equipment worldwide.