The second IPAF Asia Conference took place on 26 May in Hong Kong, focusing on the development of the aerial work platform sector in emerging markets and the promotion of safety.

An impressive range of speakers provide their insights, Including Alan Chan, vice chairman, Hong Kong Occupational Safety & Health Council, who said the number of construction workers in Hong Kong had seen 50% growth to 80000 in 2014.

In 2013 OSH set up a sponsorship scheme to subsidise companies using AWPs. "It is hoped that ladders and substandard platforms will slowly be eliminated," said Mr Chan. So far the scheme has seen 17000 applications.

Keynote Speaker Andy Studdert used his experience as COO of United Airlines and now as president of access specialist NES Rentals to show how rental companies can be successful and safe. He said renters must demonstrate commitment to your employees, while sticking to strict safety protocols and expecting everyone at the company, and customers, to adhere to them.

Other speakers included OSH specialist at the Singapore Ministry of Manpower Liew Wan Sein, who spoke about Singapore's well developed regulations leading to heavy penalties for companies that flout their responsibilities as far as safety management and performance is concerned.

Mike Davis, vice president and managing director, Terex AWP posed the question: 'how safe are MEWPs now?'. He ran over some of the main safety features that can be found on lifts and and pointed out that technology must be combined with the ability to mass produce those features and incorporate them into standard machines effectively.

Bai Ri, IPAF China representative, provided some key facts about the population of aerial work platforms in China, compared to the rest of the world and said there were around 80 manufacturers in China and 150 - 200 rental companies. He said, "Why does IPAF exist? Because there are so many unsafe situations and it is an organisation like IPAF that can help develop the safety concept, and it is particularly difficult in China."

Brad Boehler, Skyjack president, among a range of topics, provided an illuminating insight into the product mix of work platforms in Asia compared to other parts of the world, and showed how scissors and vertical masts had exceeded 2007 sales levels in Asia, while booms have a distinctly more gradual growth path.

Read more about the conference and its other speakers in the forthcoming July/August issue of Access International.

For more information see website.

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