The International Powered Access Federation called for standardized training among aerial work platform operators at the APEX conference Sept. 17 in Maastricht, the Netherlands.
“Operator training is paramount to ensuring the access industry is made safer,” said Skyjack group president Ken McDougall in his keynote speech at the conference. “The more educated and trained operators of access equipment we can have, who have been globally trained to a documented standard, the better off the access industry is.”
McDougall urged manufacturers to actively promote the safe use and operation of aerial platforms, as understanding the proper operations and limitations of equipment is paramount to safety.
“The best way to ensure we have this training implemented on a consistent basis is by having a standardized and accredited training program globally,” McDougall said. “We will not ensure uniformity and consistency in training by conducting ‘back of the truck’ sessions that may vary depending on the allotted time and skill of the person conducting the training.”
He commended and fully endorsed IPAF’s operator training program as the driving force behind global operator training.
“The IPAF program gives the industry an example to follow on how to standardize and implement operator training. It is not manufacturer-specific but gives the fundamentals required to operate different types of equipment. I received my PAL Card (Powered Access License) in 2006 and I am proud to say that Skyjack supports the IPAF training program worldwide.”
“Ken has hit the nail on the head,” said Tim Whiteman, managing director of IPAF. “Standardized, generic operator training is the way to prevent unnecessary loss of life in what should be one of the safest industries in the world. Our audited program is a pragmatic solution developed by manufacturers and rental companies. It is available to anybody willing to become an approved training center. By auditing our training centers, we ensure that the PAL Card means the same no matter where your operator was trained. I invite any manufacturer, rental company or training institute to contact us and support the cause of standardizing operator training.”
IPAF is a not-for-profit members’ organization that promotes the safe and effective use of powered access equipment worldwide. Members include rental companies, manufacturers, distributors and equipment owners.
The IPAF training program for operators of mobile elevating work platforms is certified by TüV as conforming to ISO 18878. More than 70,000 people are trained each year through a worldwide network of more than 300 IPAF-approved training centers. Successful trainees are awarded the PAL Card (Powered Access License), which is recognized in many countries as proof of platform operator training.
Aerial Work Platform Training is the North American subsidiary of IPAF. In North America, the PAL Card is known as the Powered Access Licensed-Registration Card. The AWPT training program is based on the IPAF program, which conforms to ISO 18878, and complies with ANSI and OSHA requirements. The U.S.-based Scaffold Industry Association recognizes the PAL Card as proof of training in the use of aerial work platforms and mast climbing work platforms.