Getting North American equipment operators properly trained has traditionally met with challenges due in part to our culture’s strict adherence to the idea that time is money. Employers and employees alike are often resistant to having workers spend extended time away from their jobs to get the training they need. Meanwhile, rental companies often use their salespeople as trainers, which can mean less than ideal training for your operators.
Fortunately, there are new options available that aim to alleviate these issues.
Effective training is vital to the safety of equipment operators and particularly for those who use aerial work platforms (AWPs). While aerial equipment is by far the safest means of working at height, there’s a lot that operators must understand before they can be proficient. With this in mind, two new online training options have been introduced that make it more convenient for North American operators to get the training they need, and for training centers to offer the best product to their customers.
Online options now available
There is no bigger champion of AWP safety and training than the International Powered Access Federation (IPAF). Through its North American subsidiary American Work Platform Training (AWPT), IPAF offers a full-service training package for aerial platform operators that meets OSHA, ANSI and CSA requirements and is certified by TUV Rheinland Group as conforming to ISO 18878.
IPAF’s training program has traditionally used classroom instruction. Now, the organization offers its eLearning Module as an option for trainees. “We don’t believe operators of aerials can be fully trained purely using eLearning techniques,” says Tim Whiteman, IPAF’s CEO and managing director. “But we’ve developed a module that can be used in place of the half-day classroom training program. It’s exactly the same information, the same syllabus, but you can go through it at your own speed, at home or in the office.”
Likewise, Genie Industries introduced Genie Lift Pro Online Operator Training at The Rental Show in February. This professional-grade program is based on the company’s traditional training package, but is delivered through a web-based platform and is designed to satisfy the general training requirements for AWPs as defined by ANSI, OSHA and CSA.
Genie’s program incorporates current adult learning theory and consists of detailed graphics, narration, video and a variety of quizzes that provide an interactive learning environment for the trainee. At the end of the program, there is a 30-question exam to verify knowledge retention. Upon passing the exam, a certificate of completion is presented as proof of training in preparation for the hands-on portion. The trainee must then receive hands-on familiarization from a qualified person to complete the training process and become a qualified operator.
“By offering this course online, a much broader range of individuals will have the opportunity to become a qualified operator, and a wider range of Genie customers who don’t currently offer this type of program will have the ability to provide high-quality operator training to their end users,” says Jeff Weido, director of marketing, Terex AWP. “By increasing the percentage of operators who have received quality training through this program, we are all contributing to the improvement of overall AWP industry safety.”
How it works
Both online training programs take approximately two and a half to three hours to complete. Trainees can start and stop as often as needed until they complete all of the sections.
“It can be done at the trainee’s leisure; they can leave the program at any time and return where they left off,” Weido says. “They may choose to complete the course in one sitting or they may break it up and do a short section each day. They learn at their own pace, in their own way.”