It’s the law that anyone working with construction access platforms must have passed an accredited training course and construction leaders have taken that assurance once step further to protect all workers on site. The UK regulations make sure that the job is completed more efficiently and prevent misuse of the equipment which could lead to serious injury or death and prosecution for employers that don’t follow the letter of the law.
From January 2015, it was agreed by the Construction Leadership Council (CLC) that the industry, including trade associations, contractors, clients and government, should specify and promote card schemes carrying the Construction Skills Certification Scheme (CSCS) logo with no equivalents accepted. CSCS is the leading skills certification scheme within the UK construction industry and the cards are recognised as proof that holder has the required training and qualifications to work on a construction site in a particular role.
However working with powered access platforms operatives is, in many cases, considered to be a specialist role and the requirement will not override the existing specialist accreditation such as the International Powered Access Platform (IPAF) PAL card. As the industries that work at height are so varied, the PAL card offers certification of a new skill on top of existing trades such as electrician, cleaner or window fitter. PAL Cards will continue to be recognised on Build UK sites as proof of MEWP and MCWP operator training and continue to be accepted and recognised as proof of training in the safe use of powered access platforms and mast climbing work platforms (MCWPs) used in the steel industry.
Most PAL Card holders will already hold an occupational skill card relating to their particular trade/profession e.g. electrician or steelworker and so they won’t be affected by this new scheme. PAL Cards are issued as machine-readable Smart PAL Cards which adds an extra level of assurance that only fully trained and qualified operatives can use access platforms or mast climbing work platforms on site.
Employers are obligated by law to provide proper training in the use of access platforms to comply with health and safety and work at height regulations. If employees have a PAL Card, it proves that all legal requirements have been fulfilled in that area and the CSCS accreditation cements those assurances further.
Powered access platforms are easy to operate and widely accepted as the safest way to work at height but without proper training, accidents can still occur. For the employees, PAL Cards certify the skills and abilities of anyone operating access equipment and lifting people and equipment to significant heights.