Letter to the Editor: Harmonised Licenses

07 March 2008

Dear Mr Sleight,

Would it really be too difficult to implement a harmonised European licensing system for construction equipment operators across Europe? Apparently a lot of your readers think so (Question of the Month, p12, December 2008).

The reality is that an industry-led voluntary programme is already doing this for operators of aerial work platforms in construction, industry, logistics, retail etc right across Europe. That training is delivered by 183 IPAF-approved training centres from Lisbon to Prague and from Helsinki to Rome.

The content of the training programme was devised and is monitored by a mixture of manufacturers, rental companies and educationalists – this keeps it practical and effective. The training centres are independently audited and we do not hesitate to suspend companies if they do not comply with our regulations. In 2007 more than 70000 people were issued with a PAL Card and the number is growing so fast that contractors are able to insist that only people with PAL Cards may operate platforms on their sites.

IPAF is sharing its experience of setting up an audited, voluntary, self-funding licence system with the European Rental Association of which it is a founder member. We believe that industry should take the lead on training and then look to government to support professional, voluntary programmes. I would be delighted to share our experience with other associations and bodies.

Don't wait until governments devise piecemeal, bureaucratic solutions; seize the opportunity to create your own professional European training programmes that industry can adopt as standard.

Yours sincerely

Tim Whiteman

Managing Director

International Powered Access Federation

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