Working at height with any type of construction equipment involves many risks, but a push for safety training among aerial work platform (AWP) operators has helped significantly reduced risks associated with electrocution, falls, entrapment and technical or mechanical difficulties. Knowledge of the machines and the correct way to use them, as learned in safety training courses, is vital to the safety of anyone who uses an AWP.

Skyjack, an avid supporter of operator safety, is teaming up with the International Powered Access Federation (IPAF) and Access, Lift & Handlers (ALH) magazine to promote safety training through the PAL Pledge. This campaign incentivizes AWP operators to sign up for an IPAF safety training course and register for an IPAF issued Powered Access License (PAL) card.

"Access Lift & Handlers supports the PAL Pledge because we believe that by undergoing training, workers will be better informed and prepared to use and handle AWPs in the best way possible," said Lindsey Anderson, editor of ALH. “The safety of our readers is a big priority, and we urge them to take the pledge.”

The PAL Pledge program, which will run from January to December 2015, is offering limited edition custom jackets to those operators in North America who make the pledge and successfully complete the IPAF training program. The stylish lightweight jacket features a detachable hood with adjustable shock cord, open bottom mesh lining, adjustable cuffs and reverse coil zipper pockets. The jacket is also water resistant and has a stylish embroidery that identifies the wearer as a PAL-qualified operator.

The program also wants to improve the adoption of recognized training in an effort to promote the safe use of aerial work platform. It is open to those that are not yet qualified but have a desire to achieve the qualification. Workers who already are PAL card holders or are undergoing re-certification do not qualify for the program.

What is the PAL Card?

Established in 1983, IPAF is a not-for-profit organization representing manufacturers, distributors, rental companies, training companies and equipment users. IPAF’s core aim is to promote the safe and effective use of powered access worldwide. Today it has more than 1,100 members in 52 countries.

One of IPAF’s leading initiatives has been the introduction of the PAL card, which is recognized worldwide across industries as proof of platform operator training to the highest standard. The card is issued to platform operators who successfully complete a training course at an IPAF-approved training center. The IPAF training program was developed by leading industry professionals and is certified by TÜV as conforming to the international standard ISO 18878 Mobile elevating work platforms – Operator (driver) training. More than 100,000 PAL Cards are issued each year through more than 600 IPAF-approved training centers around the world.

The PAL Card is valid for five years. It shows the date on which the holder was assessed and the expiry date by which re-training would be needed. It shows the types of equipment that the holder has been trained to operate. It shows the level to which the holder has been trained, e.g. operator, demonstrator and instructor. It has security features including a holographic logo and the holder’s photograph and signature to prevent misuse.

IPAF believes that operators that need to work at height and use access equipment should receive basic training. What’s more it offers operators a set of new skills. While platforms are designed to be easy to use and offer a safe way to work at height, with basic training operators will be able to use the equipment more effectively and safely.

The card ensures employers that legal requirements have been fulfilled, employees have received adequate training in the use of work equipment as required by most legislation, health and safety obligations, accident prevention and work at height regulations, and that they have been trained to the highest standards to ensure that operators work more efficiently and productively.

The typical training syllabus includes:

  • AWP product categories
  • Structural parts and AWP selection
  • Regulation and standards
  • Pre-start inspections
  • General Training vs familiarization
  • Safe operating methods and hazards – Risk assessment
  • Does and Don’ts
  • Practical Test

Once operators make the pledge, they will have 12 months to complete the PAL course. There are more than 30 IPAF Training approved organizations in North America and the average course cost is $150. Operators interested in making the pledge should register on: http://palpledge.skyjack.com/. The site also offers training and other support material from IPAF and Skyjack.

PAL PLEDGE rules

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