IPAF held its second annual Innovate Workshop, Presentation & Award event July 16-17 in Chicago. The workshop provided the opportunity for anyone in the industry to become part of a work team that collaborated on potential solutions to known industry issues. Teams were given one of 10 topics, with titles such as “How innovation can improve our industry” and “Preventing falls from work platforms.”

Teams discussed the topic, identified issues to address and developed proposed solutions. Each team made a presentation, received feedback and voted on the best ideas presented. This year’s top idea addressed the issue “Are all persons trained/qualified before operating a MEWP?” with the group universally answering “no,” and the reasons why not usually being based on cost, time and machine integration.

This team wanted to address “convincing the industry to utilize all of the readily available technology for training employees”. Telematics are available that offer touch-screen technology for information, key-pad authorization, digital check list, employee/equipment tracking, and operational history and documentation.

The solution was that there is not one single answer and a proposed three-step approach needed to be taken instead. First, work on operator acknowledgement of their need to be trained. Second, offer a “carrot” to comply with training requirement through insurance premium discounts. Third, the industry must drive to get MEWP operator training as an OSHA requirement, as with cranes.

This proposed solution seemed to have the overwhelming support of all in attendance as the key action needed to have effective MEWP operator training become a recognized need prior to operation.

The second top pick addressed “Understanding the value of MEWP familiarization.” IPAF will now develop a white paper on the 10 topics and make them publicly available. The white paper will be on the IPAF web site in the coming weeks.

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