Helping improve safety in the lift and access industry through better and more consistent training is a common goal of both the Scaffold Industry Association (SIA) and Aerial Work Platform Training Inc. (AWPT), an organization that offers widely recognized training programs for aerial work platform (AWP) and mast climbing work platform (MCWP) operators throughout North America.

AWPT does not do any training itself but works through accredited training centers. AWPT and its parent organization, the International Powered Access Federation (IPAF), are not-for-profit organizations that exist to promote the safe and effective use of powered access equipment worldwide. Members include manufacturers, distributors and equipment owners, including rental companies.

About AWPT Training

The AWPT training program is based on the proven IPAF training program and incorporates the latest in U.S. and Canadian regulations. The IPAF program is certified as conforming to ISO 18878 and is conducted through a worldwide network of over 250 approved training centers. More than 50,000 platform operators each year complete the program. A PAL Card (Powered Access Licensed-Registration Card) is issued by AWPT to users who successfully complete a training course on powered access equipment at an approved training center. A separate training program for mast climbing work platforms can also lead to the issuance of a PAL Card specifically for MCWPs.

The PAL Card is valid for five years, after which it must be renewed. This ensures that operator knowledge and skills are kept up-to-date. The PAL Card features a photo of the holder and shows the categories of machines that he or she was trained in.

Because of quality and consistency of the AWPT training program, SIA recognizes and promotes the PAL Card as proof of training in the use of aerial work platforms and mast climbing work platforms. SIA also encourages its members to consider becoming an approved AWPT training center.

SIA currently has about 900 members, many of whom already provide training in scaffolding and suspended access. Many of these members also operate AWPs and MCWPs. Because of this synergy, SIA and AWPT announced a unique program that, for a limited period, allows SIA member companies to become an authorized AWPT Training Center at a special discounted rate. With operator training now required by ANSI, SIA members have an opportunity to provide better service to their customers while adding increased revenue to their bottom line.

“SIA’s recognition and promotion of the proof of training provided by the PAL Card and its desire to see the number of training centers grow rapidly is a superb vote of confidence,” said Tony Groat, AWPT’s director of membership. “It is proof of how fast the AWPT training program is growing and of the worldwide acceptance of the PAL Card. We are delighted to be partnering with an organization as respected as the SIA.”

PROMOTIONAL PROGRAM WILL SAVE LIVES

A worldwide campaign to encourage all users of boom-type platforms to wear a full body harness with a short lanyard has been launched by IPAF, AWPT’s parent organization. Similar to successful promotional campaigns encouraging people to wear their seatbelts when riding in a car, the new program’s initiative came from companies frustrated with the fact that people are dying because they are not following the simple advice in IPAF and AWPT’s technical guidance note H1 to wear a harness when in a boom-type lift. To encourage people to wear a harness, that advice is printed on stickers that are placed on the boom lift where all occupants in the platform can see them.

Called “Clunk Click!” in the UK, the campaign started as a grassroots initiative by the UK Powered Access Interest Group (PAIG), a joint committee of the Construction Plant-hire Association and IPAF. To date, thousands of Clunk Click posters and stickers have been printed and distributed throughout the UK to spread the message.

The program has spread rapidly. At the recent Bauma show (International Trade Fair for Construction Machinery, Building Material Machines, Mining Machines, Construction Vehicles and Construction Equipment) in Munich, Germany, international versions of the Clunk Click program were launched at the IPAF stand including the German “Click Clack!”, the Italian “Clic Clac!” and the North American “Click It!” programs.

“In countries where the program has already been introduced, rental companies have led the way with promotion because they want to stop unnecessary fatal accidents in which operators not wearing harnesses have been catapulted out of boom platforms,” said IPAF managing director Tim Whiteman. “These simple stickers can save lives. Now we need sponsors in countries around the world to help us get them on all boom type machines and make what is one of the safest ways of working at height even safer.”

If your organization is interested in obtaining “Click It!” stickers for your machines and helping spread the word about how safety harnesses can save lives, visit www.awpt.org, download AWPT’s H1 or call for more information.