Working at height inherently involves a degree of risk and it is an area of concern that most safety organizations and professional bodies look to address in their daily activities. The use of aerial work platforms (AWPs) has largely been recognized as one way to address this issue, however, like all construction equipment the safe use of AWPs relies upon appropriate training.
As part of Skyjack’s 30th anniversary celebration and to support the adoption of safe aerial work platform use, Skyjack is partnering with the International Powered Access Federation (IPAF) and Equipment Today magazine to recognize the first 200 operators that pledge to undertake training and qualify for an IPAF-issued Powered Access License (PAL) Card. This is a package valued at up to $10,000.
"We understand the importance of high-quality AWP training," says Becky Schultz, editor of Equipment Today. "Through the PAL PLEDGE, we hope to encourage our readers to get the proper training for themselves and for all members of their work crews. There are a lot of choices out there, but many of them are designed to be a quick fix and don't offer the recipients real protection. We hope the PAL PLEDGE will go a long way toward increasing awareness of the importance and availability of high-quality AWP training."
Starting in January 2015 and running through December, Skyjack’s PAL PLEDGE program is offering operators in North America limited-edition custom jackets for making the pledge and successfully completing the course within 2015. The stylish lightweight jacket features a detachable hood with adjustable shock cord, open bottom mesh lining, adjustable cuffs and reverse-coil zipper pockets. The water-resistant jacket has a stylish embroidery that identifies the wearer as a PAL-qualified operator.
The PAL PLEDGE program is designed to improve the adoption of recognized training and promote the safe use of aerial work platforms. It’s open to those that are not yet qualified but have a desire to achieve the qualification. Current PAL Card holders or individuals undergoing PAL card re-certification do not qualify for the program.
What is a 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 expiration 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, training 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.
For employers, PAL card ensures 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.
- Employees are trained to the highest standards ensuring 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
- Dos 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: www.palpledge.skyjack.com. The site also offers training and other support material from IPAF and Skyjack.
PAL PLEDGE rules
- Open to participants in North America only (United States and Canada).
- Participation and qualification for the limited-edition custom jacket is dependent upon registering on Skyjack’s PAL PLEDGE website: www.palpledge.skyjack.com.
- Registration on Skyjack’s PAL PLEDGE website must precede the actual PAL card training course.
- Individuals undergoing PAL card re-certifications do not qualify.
- Participants agree to Skyjack sharing submitted information with IPAF for verification and qualification confirmation.
- Qualification confirmation is at the discretion of Skyjack and IPAF.
- All pledges and subsequent courses must be taken in 2015.