"Coming from the airline industry, I was shocked by the lack of required training and licensing for operating [aerial] equipment that is significantly more complicated and complex than a pickup truck," says Andy Studdert, chairman and CEO of NES Rentals. "I can't rent somebody a pickup truck without a license, but I can rent them a 150-foot boom without a license."
While there is no program in the works to formally license all operators of aerial equipment, Studdert's statement goes a long way toward highlighting a problem in our industry, which is the general lack of commitment to safety and training where aerial equipment is concerned. Sure, there are those who are leading the charge, such as Studdert, but there are many more who still view safety and training programs as a necessary evil. A change must be made and it must come from the top.
The above is one of many important messages conveyed within the pages of IPAF Elevating Safety, a supplement within our annual safety guide, Construction Zone Safety, included with this issue of Rental Product News. The International Powered Access Federation (IPAF) has been publishing a magazine for its European audience for decades, but this marks the first time its message is being brought to North American readers.
Aimed at owners and operators of aerial work platforms, one of the chief goals of IPAF Elevating Safety is to encourage the safe use of aerial equipment through proper training. Tim Whiteman, CEO of IPAF, says it best, "Aerials are safe and effective, but can be dangerous in the wrong hands - and this means untrained hands."
If you rent aerial equipment at your rental business, IPAF Elevating Safety is a must-read for you. In this inaugural issue, you'll not only find articles about the importance of training, but also an update on ANSI standards relating to aerial equipment, information on AWPT (IPAF's North American subsidiary providing a comprehensive training program to the industry), as well as articles on the advent of mast climbing work platforms and advancements in fall protection technology, to name just a few.
As stated previously, a commitment to safety must come from the top or it won't be embraced by your employees or your customers. Rental business owners and managers need to promote and ensure safety at every turn for the sake of their customers, their employees, and their business. Take a look at the first-ever IPAF Elevating Safety. We hope it will serve as inspiration to renew your commitment to safety and training. It could save someone's life.