While the use of aerial work platforms have ultimately eased the jobs of construction workers, providing fast access to typically unreachable places, they can also be risky when used improperly. To increase safe AWP use across the industry, Walls & Ceilingswill help promote with Canadian manufacturer Skyjack to launch the PAL Pledge, a campaign promoting the adoption of recognized training and safe use of AWPs.

“We are excited to team up with W&Cand IPAF to incentivize operators to obtain safety training through the PAL Pledge,” says Malcom Early, vice president of marketing for Skyjack. “Operator safety is an important issue for Skyjack—we believe with proper training and education, operators can minimize the risks and use AWPs safely and efficiently.”

Working at height, whether installing lighting in a high ceiling or to stucco a building’s exterior, inherently involves a degree of risk. Minimizing this risk relies upon appropriate training on the safe use of AWPs from recognized nonprofits such as The International Powered Access Federation Platform.

Developed by industry professionals, the IPAF training program is certified according to international standards for AWP operation. These operator safety training programs help reduce the risk of accidents and are vital to achieving safer AWP usage worldwide. The training is provided by approved training centers through a network of more than 600 locations worldwide. The course teaches operators how to prepare and safely operate various types of mobile elevating work platforms including planning, selecting the right machine for the job, logistics, regulations, recognition and avoidance of hazards and risk assessment. Upon completion of a written test at the end of the course, operators qualify for the Powered Access License card, also known as the PAL card. 

As part of Skyjack’s 30th anniversary celebration and to support the adoption of safe AWP use, Skyjack is partnering up with IPAF to recognize the first 200 operators that pledge to undertake training and qualify for a IPAF issued PAL Card. The PAL Pledge program is open to those that are not yet qualified but have a desire to achieve the qualification. Pledges who complete the IPAF course will be certified for five years. 

Starting in January 2015 and running through December, Skyjack’s PAL Pledge program is offering operators in North America limited edition custom jackets for making the pledge and successfully completing the course within 2015. The lightweight jacket features a detachable hood with adjustable shock cord, open bottom mesh lining, adjustable cuffs and reverse coil zipper pockets. The water resistant jacket has stylish embroidery that identifies the wearer as a PAL-qualified operator.

What is the PAL Card?

Established in 1983, IPAF is a nonprofit organization representing manufacturers, distributors, rental companies, training companies and equipment users. IPAF’s core aim is to promote the safe and effective use of powered access worldwide. Today it has more than 1,100 members in 52 countries.

One of IPAF’s leading initiatives has been the introduction of the PAL card, which is recognized worldwide across industries as proof of platform operator training to the highest standard. The card is issued to platform operators who successfully complete a training course at an IPAF-approved training center. The IPAF training program was developed by leading industry professionals and is certified by TÜV as conforming to the international standard ISO 18878 Mobile elevating work platforms—Operator (driver) training. More than 100,000 PAL Cards are issued each year through more than 600 IPAF-approved training centers around the world.

The PAL Card is valid for five years. It shows the date on which the holder was assessed and the expiration date by which re-training would be needed. It also shows the types of equipment that the holder has been trained to operate. In addition, the card shows the level to which the holder has been trained, e.g. operator, demonstrator and instructor. It has security features including a holographic logo and the holder’s photograph and signature to prevent misuse.

IPAF believes that operators that need to work at height and use access equipment should receive basic training. While platforms are designed to be easy to use and offer a safe way to work at height, with basic training operators will be able to use the equipment more effectively and safely.

For employers, the PAL card ensures that:

  • Legal requirements have been fulfilled.
  • Employees have received adequate training in the use of work equipment as required by most legislation, health and safety obligations, accident prevention and work at height regulations.
  • Employees are trained to the highest standards ensuring operators work more efficiently and productively.

The typical training syllabus includes:

  • AWP product categories
  • Structural parts and AWP selection
  • Regulation and standards
  • Pre-start inspections
  • General Training vs. familiarization
  • Safe operating methods and hazards—risk assessment
  • Do’s and Don’ts
  • Practical Test

Once operators make the pledge, they will have 12 months to complete the PAL course. There are more than 30 IPAF training-approved organizations in North America and the average course cost is $150. Operators interested in making the pledge should register at PALPledge.skyjack.com. The site also offers training and other support material from IPAF and Skyjack.

PAL Pledge rules

  • Open to participants in North America only (United States and Canada).
  • Participation and qualification for the limited edition custom jacket
  • is dependent upon registering on Skyjack’s PAL Pledge Web site:
  • www.PALPledge.skyjack.com.
  • Registration on Skyjack’s PAL Pledge Web site must precede the actual PAL card training course.
  • Individuals undergoing PAL card re-certifications do not qualify.
  • Participants agree to Skyjack sharing submitted information with IPAF for verification and qualification confirmation.
  • Qualification confirmation is at the discretion of Skyjack and IPAF.

 All pledges and subsequent courses must be taken in 2015.