The International Powered Access Federation (IPAF) is the beating heart of the powered access industry. Since its formation in 1983, this not-for-profit organisation has been at the forefront of worldwide platform safety, from creating recognised training programmes to their involvement with the implementation of legislation.
There are IPAF members in over 65 countries, with more than 700 official training centres across the world, and this body currently provides programmes to more than 150,000 people each year. As a result, the IPAF had had a significant influence on the industry, so much so that its members currently manufacture over 80% of MEWPs sold across the globe.
For professionals working with powered access platforms, the IPAF offer a wealth of helpful resources covering a huge range of categories. These are available in different languages with topics that include technical guidance, law and workplace advice.
IPAF training categories and courses are regularly updated to include the latest safety information, making them just as relevant for workers, if not more so, as we look towards 2023. Attaining this essential knowledge can equip you with all the necessary know-how to take your career further in the coming new year. With this in mind, we delve further into what IPAF training is and what specific courses are available.
What is IPAF Training?
IPAF training programmes provide the technical, theoretical and practical knowledge required to operate access platforms safely. Designed by industry professionals, this extensive training benefits all types of workers including sole traders, managers and employers. IPAF courses cover a range of industry-wide standards that are delivered by approved providers, such as our IPAF training centres in Wakefield and Warrington, and ensure individuals are fully familiar with and competent when it comes to these best practices.
To find out more about IPAF training, including what recognised and accredited courses are available, take a look at our IPAF training blog.
Andy Access and MEWP Safety
One of the IPAF’s most useful resources is their Andy Access campaign. This includes informative posters, Toolbox Talks and films involving two characters, Andy Access and Hugh Hazard. These have been designed to deliver important safety messaging surrounding common issues and hazards associated with MEWP usage. They are free to download and the IPAF encourages all members to display these throughout the workplace and make use of them in their daily operations.
Here are some of our favourite Andy Access campaigns:
- MEWP Familiarisation
At Horizon Platforms, we provide fully accredited IPAF courses and we’re proud to have a 96% pass rate. However, the operation of powered access platforms can vary across brands and models and while steps have been taken to standardise controls across the industry, this has yet to happen across the board. As such, before operating a new machine, users must familiarise themselves with tools and controls before operating. Failure to do so could place both the operator and those on-site at risk.
Before using a MEWP, all users, operators, site managers and the nominated rescue person must be familiar with the machine and utilise the IPAF’s Andy Access Familiarisation Toolbox Talk. During this time, it’s essential to cover the manufacturer’s instructions and user manual, control layout and use, cover visual checks, safety functions, and operation and emergency procedures.
Access the “Know Your Machine” download here.
- MEWP Re-Inspection
When hiring a MEWP from Horizon Platforms, we utilise a thorough three-step process when delivering our machines, inspecting the equipment at every stage. This includes familiarisation with the controls and ensuring our platforms are ready for use after arriving on-site. However, to ensure the safety of personnel, all access platforms need to be inspected before each use, whether this is completed daily or at the beginning of a shift.
Inspections should cover both visual and functional checks that comply with manufacturer guidelines. This includes the engine, tyres and wheels, stabilisers or outriggers, controls and signage. To assist you with this, we’ve created an extensive Pre-Use Inspection MEWP safety Checklist that you can download and refer back to when required.
- MEWP Ground Conditions
The stability of a powered access platform is a key component to its safe operation and ground conditions are one of the largest factors to ensure a MEWP is stable. Uneven ground can lead to serious accidents, therefor the ground must always be assessed before using, moving or driving a scissor lift or cherry picker. This includes all models, regardless of whether they have wheels, outriggers and jacks.
Ground settling during use or travelling from hard to soft surfaces could lead to the platform sitting on unlevel ground, leading to instability or even overturning. Machine warnings and indicators should be followed when operating an access platform, including adjusting the positioning if required. IPAF has produced assessment guidelines to assist with ground conditions.
Download the “Unsafe Ground” poster here.
In addition to IPAF’s resources, you can find further help and information in our Knowledge Centre.
Choosing an IPAF Training Course
With over a dozen IPAF training courses available, choosing the right one for you can be a bit of a minefield.
To narrow down your search it’s a good idea to first identify which area you’d like to expand your knowledge in. To get you started, here are a summary of the most popular IPAF categories:
- IPAF 1a Training Courses
- IPAF 1b Training Courses
- IPAF 3a Training Courses
- IPAF 3b Training Courses
- IPAF Push Around Vertical Training
- Safety Harness Use and Inspection
- IPAF Safety Harness training
- IPAF MEWPs For Managers
For a full breakdown list of what each of these training categories covers, check out our blog on How to Choose the Right IPAF Training Course.
IPAF Training Online
IPAF online training courses have now been introduced as an additional avenue to boost knowledge and awareness of safe work-at-height practices. An e-learning option from the IPAF means customers receive more time for the practical elements of access platform training – including the hands-on, up-in-the-air, learn-as-you-do bits – as well as more rigorous, flexible and convenient training that improves site safety. The implementation of this e-learning option instantly makes IPAF training courses more accessible to workers across all locations.
Enhancing practical at-height training
It’s important to highlight that this type of e-learning is designed to enhance, not replace, practical at-height training. On completion of the online module, trainees would still need to attend an IPAF-approved training centre where they would take the practical element of the training in the form of a half-day-long course.
What are the benefits of IPAF online training?
It’s easy to envisage the benefits of rolling out this alternative to instructor-led classroom training even further in the future. Traditional IPAF training provides evidence that an operator has been trained to manoeuvre powered access equipment safely and effectively. A move from classroom to computer must take with it all the safeguards and quality learning that trained instructors deliver so well.
Ben Hirst states, “there are also the finer details to consider: we need to know how many modules are planned.? What skills and knowledge does each one cover? How long will the online training take to complete? Who can trainees talk to if they have any queries? It’s not my style to sit on the fence on any topic. At the moment there are more questions than answers, and with limited information available – even in my role as vice-chair of the IPAF UK Country Council – it’s hard to say whether learning online should be the way forward for our industry. We simply need more details, especially on costs. Until then, I’ll reserve judgement.”
If you’re looking to begin your training as soon as possible, book your IPAF training with Horizon Platforms now or get in touch to speak to a member of our friendly team of experts for further. information.