Positive Association: SAIA and IPAF Alliance Grows

Alliance, collaboration, and focus on member and industry benefits will see an increase in the activities and events where SAIA and IPAF join forces in the future, leveraging their shared expertise to enhance the safe use of powered access equipment.

SAIA evaluator class
SAIA evaluator class

Trade associations serve to protect and promote the interest of their members. They can take on keys issues for the industries they represent, undertake market research and develop actions to raise awareness and educate members, provide advice on technical issues, and serve as a forum for members to interact with each other. An association can leverage the strength of the collective, to be the voice for many in the industry. 

Those benefits are doubled when associations work together for the mutual benefit of their members and industry. This year, the International Powered Access Federation (IPAF) and the Scaffold & Access Industry Association (SAIA) signed an agreement to work together to promote safety and training in powered access throughout the U.S., Canada, and Mexico.  

While the associations have worked together in the past, the goal is to develop cooperation and coordination among members. This alliance agreement will be part of each associations ongoing strategies to leverage the strengths of each for the benefit of all members. 

Members of the SAIA evaluator training classMembers of the SAIA evaluator training classThe agreement will focus on joint promotion of industry standards, including the updated A92 Suite of Standards that went into effect in the U.S. in June 2020, as well as sharing knowledge and disseminating good practices, informing and influencing national safety and regulatory bodies with a unified voice, and promoting the need for effective powered access operator and supervisor training.  

Both SAIA and IPAF offer technical expertise regrading equipment to place workers at height to accomplish various task using all types of scaffold systems, mast climbers, transport platforms, hoist, and mobile elevation work platforms (MEWPs). Working safely at height is a common focus for all of this equipment and will be a common goal of the alliance. 

An immediate outcome of the alliance is SAIA’s adoption of the IPAF PAL Card training program as proof of appropriate operator training for users of MEWPs, mast-climbing work platforms (MCWPs), transport platforms, and hoists. IPAF-approved training centers and SAIA-accredited training institutes (ATIs) will offer IPAF’s globally recognized training, developed by leading industry professionals and available in multiple languages to suit local demand. 

SAIA encouraged their ATIs to add the IPAF MEWP operator training course to their offerings and four immediately signed up. Using the IPAF MEWP operator online theory course, the ATIs attended a two-day MEWP evaluator course to enable their personnel to become qualified evaluators for MEWP hands-on practical training and evaluations. Five candidates from ATI’s Stone Mountain, Turnkey, Trekker, and Safety Hawk are now approved IPAF evaluators.  

SAIA evaluator classSAIA evaluator class“I was extremely impressed with the IPAF training course. The eLearning portion of the program was one of the best that I have experienced in the industry, and I was surprised at the additional knowledge I took away from the class about MEWP’s. IPAF’s senior instructors, Jeff and Amy, were genuinely concerned about getting the message of safety through to each of their students so they in turn could spread it through the industry,” says Micah Turner of Trekker Group, Florida.  

SAIA ATIs had previously become IPAF-approved trainers to deliver MCWP operator training, which applies to all persons who will occupy the work platform and provides the basic understanding on how to safely work from the MCWP. The IPAF MCWP also has more detailed training for those who wish to become qualified to install MCWPs – a much more detailed course. 

While support and promotion of industry standards and delivery of compliant training are obvious areas of the alliance, the associations have many other areas to work together. One example is activities planned at the SAIA Annual Convention, which is held August 29 through September 2. IPAF will coordinate the delivery of a second MEWP evaluator training two-day course for SAIA ATIs who want to add MEWP operator training to their offering. There will also be MEWP operator hands-on practical training for anyone who has successfully completed the IPAF MEWP operator online theory course prior to the event.  

I'm scheduled to present with Kevin O’Shea (both IPAF and SAIA members) on the topic of “User Need to Develop MCWP and MEWP Safe Use Programs. Additionally, the IPAF North American regional council has scheduled their meeting immediately following the convention to allow IPAF members to attend the SAIA convention and network.  

There is no doubt that alliance, collaboration, and focus on member and industry benefits will see an increase in the activities and events where SAIA and IPAF join forces in the future, leveraging their shared expertise to enhance the safe and effective use of scaffold and powered access equipment.