IPAF warns: check the ground before taking your AWP up

By Maria Hadlow24 March 2011

IPAF (International Powered Access Federation) is presenting demonstrations highlighting the importance of assessing ground conditions before taking an access platform on to a worksite. The demonstrations are being carried out in cooperation with the NCCCO (Nationional Commission for the Certification of Crane Operators) highlighting the similarities between safety concerns for access and crane operators.

The demonstration highlights a new initiative called "Look down before going up." It is designed to make operators aware of how heavy their machine is and consider this before taking equipment on to what might be a less robust surface.

A car tyre for example exerts a ground bearing pressure of around 35lb per square inch - a 60 ft boom lift can generate a pressure of over 200lb per square inch. A pavement (sidewalk) or road surface may appear robust but there might be underground services such as sewage pipes which compromise the maximum load. On a construction site there might be uncompacted fill and underground voids.

Tony Groat executive vice president of AWPT (Americal Work Platform Training) the North American subsidiary of IPAF said, "To make the work place a safer place it is the employers responsibility to perform jobsite risk assessments and provide their operators with proper warnings and method statements regarding any known site hazards. Properly trained AWP operators must always perform daily work place inspections, including a review of current ground conditions along with inspecting their equipment to make sure everything is in proper working order prior to using any aerial device."

IPAF also announced that last year 85605 PAL (Powered Access Licence) cards were issued last year and earlier this month they reached the 500000 PAL card issued.

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