Horizon Platforms Blog

What Is IPAF Training & Why Is It Important?

IPAF training includes a range of internationally recognised courses that have been developed and approved by the International Powered Access Federation (IPAF). These programmes provide the technical, theoretical and practical elements required to safely operate access platforms and have been designed utilising the expertise of industry professionals. Their training benefits all types of workers including sole traders, managers and employers.

IPAF courses were created to implement industry-wide standards, ensure that all of those who work with MEWPs meet legal training requirements and assist with the reduction of accidents and fatalities associated with the use of access equipment. They are delivered by approved providers, such as our IPAF training centres in Wakefield and Warrington, and are regularly updated to ensure individuals are fully conversant with best practices.

Here at Horizon Platforms, we deliver a broad range of IPAF courses from operator certificates and safety harness use to demonstrator and instructor modules. Furthermore, our fully-qualified instructors are passionate about teaching, not just testing. This means participants leave our MEWP training courses possessing the knowledge required to work safely at height.

Recognised and Accredited Courses

While taking an IPAF course is not mandatory for working at height, the Work at Height Regulations 2005 (WAHR) state that individuals must be able to demonstrate the completion of appropriate training, as required by law. This applies to all of those involved with working at height, including access platform operators, ground workers, supervisors, site managers and business owners.

IPAF have paved the way for standardising MEWP training on a global scale, creating accredited programmes that instruct on health and safety when working at height, as well as how to comply with regulations and legal requirements. After successful completion, qualified operators and demonstrators receive an internationally recognised Powered Access License (PAL) card. Today, there are more than 600,000 PAL cards registered across the world.

There are a range of IPAF training courses available at Horizon Platforms. This includes IPAF 1b, a programme that covers static boom operation; IPAF 3a/3b, a combined course for self-propelled vertical and boom platforms; and MEWPs for managers, a module that qualifies supervisors and management to plan and oversee work involving a variety of access platforms.

Minimising Risk and Preventing Injury

Falls from height are the leading cause of workplace fatalities in the UK, with 40 workers fatally injured after falling from height in 2018/19. However, access equipment can be utilised as a preventative measure. As HSE guidance GEIS6 for the selection, management and use of mobile elevating work platforms, states: ‘MEWPs are designed to provide a safe work platform for temporary work at height. In relation to the fall protection hierarchy, they are considered to be work equipment that can prevent a fall.’ That being said, it is important that those responsible for selecting, specifying and managing MEWPs on site understand the risks associated with the use of access platforms, so they can advise on the precautions required to eliminate or control those risks.

As the popularity of access platform hire continues to soar, training must remain a priority in order to minimise health and safety risks, prevent injuries and fatalities, and promote business safety – it is the responsibility of the employer to ensure that all MEWP operators have been adequately trained. Additionally, it is vital that all of those involved in MEWP operation are familiar with platform controls, understand emergency procedures and inspect the equipment prior to use.  

Continual Learning and Development

IPAF programmes are delivered in small class sizes and provide the hands-on experience required to deliver highly qualified and competent powered access operators and demonstrators. Additionally, training centres are audited on a regular basis and courses are frequently amended to include the latest practices. This ensures that each person who completes an IPAF programme, from new trainees to experienced individuals, is equipped with the most up-to-date knowledge. 

Qualified operators and demonstrators benefit from these updates when renewing a PAL card. This process involves passing a theoretical test and demonstrating practical proficiency across each platform category. To be eligible for license renewal, log books must be filled in correctly with at least 60 entries, where a minimum of 10 must be from the last year. Furthermore, tests must be completed prior to the expiry date, as failure to do so will result in an individual retaking the full course(s).

Are you interested in booking training courses at an approved IPAF centre with a 96% pass rate? At Horizon Platforms, our programmes are typically delivered over one or two days, with Saturday courses available. We are also able to offer multilingual course material.

We are experts in all things related to access equipment, from platform sales and hire to training and machine maintenance. As a result, we have been awarded IPAF rental + status. This mark of excellence is given to companies that achieve the highest audit standards in areas such as customer service and equipment inspection. 

How has IPAF training benefitted your business? We’d love to hear about your experience. Get in touch with on LinkedIn or Facebook.