With the new year coming up soon. now is a good time to reflect on the past year and your training program for using powered access platforms. Both employers and individual users are liable if the people in charge of the machinery are not properly trained. Training on MEWPs can make working at height safer, quicker and more efficient but it should be remembered that operators need a PAL card and this needs to be renewed every 5 years. Are all log books up to date? Is a refresher course needed?
If your future job plans mean working in higher risk or challenging environments your operators may need a PAL+ card. Special training is available, for example, for working in confined overhead spaces or on challenging terrain.
There are courses for managers who are responsible for planning, supervising and effectively managing the use of powered access equipment. This is not about operating the machines per se, it’s about health and safety regulations, accident prevention and control, protective equipment and pre-use checks and maintenance schedules.
All levels of management would benefit from this type of training. This includes project managers, foremen and supervisors working in a broad range of industries such as construction, facilities management, retail, airports and arboriculture.
Employers and individual users must make sure operators are properly trained. Rental companies are also obliged to direct their clients to appropriate training if they don’t deliver it themselves.
Courses are available for:
Accredited training centres are located across the country and courses can be held at their premises, or on a convenient site with suitable facilities.
Training on MEWPs is a combination of classroom based study and hands-on experience with the equipment and includes:
• industry regulations and standards
• Choosing the right platform for the job
• Carrying out workplace inspections
• Operation of the powered access platform including demonstrated proficiency in all functions of the equipment
• How to recognise and avoid common hazards
• Operator warnings and instructions
• The purpose and use of manuals
• Carrying out a pre-start inspection
• Factors affecting stability
• Personal protective equipment
• General equipment components
• Safe use of equipment
• Understanding issues associated with larger machines: e.g. outriggers/stabilizers, extendable axles and envelope management systems.
IPAF the aerial work platform industry professionals have recently developed an online eLearning training course for operators.
This new enhanced eLearning module is part of IPAF’s full training programme for operators of mobile elevating work platforms (MEWPs). The eLearning module delivers flexibility and interactive tools, with the same emphasis on practical training. Operator eLearning does not replace practical training. Trainees who complete the online session must still pass a supervised theory test at an IPAF approved training centre and must successfully complete a minimum half-day of practical training and testing.
Powered access platforms have many benefits for working at height but there is a legal obligation to make sure they are used safely and properly. Training staff is not only a legal requirement but jobs can be completed more efficiently if everyone involved knows how to use the equipment properly and dangerous and costly accidents are avoided.