What is IPAF?
The International Powered Access Federation (IPAF) was formed to promote safety in the use of mobile work platforms and other powered access equipment of all kinds worldwide. Chief among these initiatives are their safety and training courses.
Training Programme for Platform Operatives
Broadly speaking there are four categories of IPAF classes:
- Operator-level courses, which teach the student what they need to set up and operate a Mobile Elevated Work platform (MEWP) safely and effectively.
- PAL+ add-ons, optional category specific training days intended to give those operators who will be working in particularly dangerous or challenging conditions the training to do so safely.
- Demonstrator-level courses, which teach Demonstrators how to explain the techniques Operators will need to use MEWPs, and their limitations.
- Instructor-level courses which teach students how to deliver full IPAF courses to future students, assessing not just the students understanding of MEWPs, but their ability to confer this knowledge as well.
Why Should I Take the Training Programme for Platform operatives?
Finding employment in a role that requires you to use any of the nine categories of MEWPs in the UK would be difficult without certification in an IPAF approved safety training programme.
Council Directive 2009/104/EC, article 9, sets out the safety and health requirements for using MEWPs and related devices. It requires all subject employers to receive ‘adequate training’, including safety training.
To that end, most employers will require a Powered Access License (PAL) card before hiring anyone for a role involving a MEWP. PAL cards in turn require the bearer to have successfully completed an IPAF-approved course.
How do I know which IPAF course to take?
That depends chiefly on what kind of MEWP you are or will be called upon to use in your role, and the level of responsibility your role calls for. Different courses have been developed for different MEWPs, including:
- Static Vertical MEWPs
- Static Boom MEWPs
- Mobile Vertical MEWPs
- Mobile Boom MEWPs
- PAV (Push Around Vertical) MEWPs
- IAD (Insulated Aerial Device) MEWPs
- Specialist MEWPs (those not covered in any other course)
Each course addresses the safe operation of particular pieces of equipment, and gives students the skills and experience they need to see to both their own safety, and to ensure that of their co-workers and subordinates (if any).