Just under 100 professionals from the fields of equipment rental, construction, aerial safety and more attended the IPAF US Convention in Chicago this week, where they heard from speakers including Craig Paylor, former president of JLG, and Jim Dorris with United Rentals, who challenged everyone to contact him personally with ideas for the next action step to instill urgency in the cause for increased safety in the aerial industry.
Jim Maddux, director, OSHA Directorate of Construction, was slated to headline the event, but was unable to attend.
Sponsored by NES Rentals, Skyjack and JLG, the two-day event was highlighted by Craig Paylor, now with SmartEquip, who examined how technology can assist companies in being more efficient, productive and profitable. The next wave of advancement, he claims, is in the adoption of industry platforms that connect OEMs with rental companies and end-users in areas such as parts management. Equipment owners, he says, need to focus on the life cycle cost of equipment. To OEMs, he advised staying on the cutting edge of technology because end users will increasingly demand it.
Jim Dorris, vice president, health, safety, environment & sustainability with United Rentals, spoke to the crowd about the obstacles currently standing in the way of safety in the aerial industry today. Despite the obvious need for increased safety, he suggested change has been slow in the American culture as stakeholders go through the Kubler-Ross stages (denial, anger, bargaining depression and acceptance) on their way toward adopting new practices. He urged stakeholders to create urgency to effect change, and concluded by challenging all attendees to contact him personally with suggestions for what the next action step should be toward getting the industry to fully embrace the cause of safety.?
Also speaking at the event were Brad Boehler, president of Skyjack, who discussed the importance of aerial work platform risk assessment and product selection, and Jim White, attorney with Bobo, Ciotoli, Bocchino, White, Buigas & Russell P.A., who lectured about what is considered appropriate AWP operator training in a court of law. To protect your business against liability, White said there is "no magic bullet," suggesting the best businesses can do is know and thoroughly understand the regulations and standards.
Nicole Smith, an attorney with DLA Piper LLP, presented an independent employee misconduct defense, while Tony Groat, IPAF North American Manager and AWPT executive vice president, outlined ongoing reviews and updates occurring with AWP and MCWP standards.
The second day of event saw the group split into tracks dedicated to aerial work platforms and mast climbing work platforms.Speaking to the AWP crowd were: Scott Owyen, training manager, global marketing with Terex Aerial Work Platforms, who discussed the industry's challenge in training employees whose primary language is Spanish, and the basic need to provide training in a manner the employees understand; and Teresa Kee, director, environmental health and safety with NES Rentals, who outlined her company's experience with adopting and implementing IPAF's new eLearning module.
Following Kee on the AWP track was a panel discussion on exiting an elevated platform at height. Panelists including Owyen, Groat, Boehler and John Rickert of Local 150 IUOE, discussed what stakeholders can do to make this practice safer since it is a reality on the jobsite.