Phoenix-based Sunstate Equipment has become an IPAF Training Center, with several people from the equipment rental company becoming approved instructors for the American Work Platform Training operator training program. Sunstate is a member of the International Powered Access Federation since 2010.

THE AWPT program is based on the ISO-certified IPAF program used outside of North America, but slightly modified to include additional training on current ANSI, OSHA and CSA standards.

“We’ve offered aerial work platform training since 1993,” said Chris Watts, president and chief operating officer of Sunstate. “Last year we trained over 8,000 people and about 60 percent of them were on aerials. Even though we already have a training program in place, we saw the benefits of offering our customers a choice of programs. The AWPT program is the Cadillac. It’s much more thorough and really gets into depth regarding safety, both what to do and why you should do it.

“With our new AWPT program in place, we hope to train a lot more people including all of our employees who deal with aerials.”

The AWPT program from IPAF is responsive to change, said IPAF staff, with feedback and shared input constantly being gathered from active training centers, manufacturers, rental companies and end users all over the world to ensure that IPAF training covers not only what the standards require, but what the real world needs.

Additional feedback comes from IPAF’s accident reporting program, which collects work platform accident data. Certified IPAF and AWPT instructors are also required to attend periodic programs offered at IPAF Continuous Professional Development seminars to help keep up with the latest standards and training techniques.

Watts added that Sunstate currently has 10 full-time trainers and plans to open several other training centers in addition to the Phoenix headquarters

In 2013, more than 127,000 people were trained by IPAF-approved training centers worldwide and nearly 500,000 people currently hold valid PAL cards certifying completion of an AWPT or IPAF training program.

Sunstate Equipment, No. 9 on the RER 100, has 58 branches in nine states.