“Operator training is paramount to ensuring the access industry is made safer,” said Ken McDougall, Skyjack group president, in his keynote speech at the APEX conference on 17 September in Maastricht, the Netherlands.
“The more educated and trained operators of access equipment we can have, who have been globally trained to a documented standard, the better off the access industry is,” he said.
McDougall urged manufacturers to actively promote the safe use and operation of aerial platforms, as understanding the proper operations and limitations of equipment is paramount to safety.
“The best way to ensure we have this training implemented on a consistent basis is by having a standardized and accredited training program globally,” said McDougall. “We will not ensure uniformity and consistency in training by conducting ‘back of the truck’ sessions that may vary depending on the allotted time and skill of the person conducting the training.”
He commended and fully endorsed the International Powered Access Federation’s (IPAF) operator training program as the driving force behind global operator training. In North America, Aerial Work Platform Training (AWPT), a subsidiary of IPAF, provides a training program that meets ANSI, CSA and OSHA standards and is based on the ISO-certified IPAF training program.
“The IPAF program gives the industry an example to follow on how to standardize and implement operator training. It is not manufacturer-specific but gives the fundamentals required to operate different types of equipment. I received my PAL Card (Powered Access Licensed-Registration) in 2006 and I am proud to say that Skyjack supports the IPAF training program worldwide.”
“Ken has hit the nail on the head,” commented Tim Whiteman, managing director of IPAF. “Standardized, generic operator training is the way to prevent unnecessary loss of life in what should be one of the safest industries in the world. Our audited program is a pragmatic solution developed by manufacturers and rental companies. It is available to anybody willing to become an approved training center. By auditing our training centers, we ensure that the PAL Card means the same no matter where your operator was trained. I invite any manufacturer, rental company or training institute to contact us and support the cause of standardizing operator training.”