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Why Managers Must Adhere To IPAF Recommendations

Jun 2, 2008
IPAF is the International Powered Access Federation; it is dedicated in promoting safe usage of powered access machinery through effective training courses. Its worldwide stance has meant the organisation has become an authority in all training issues surrounding powered access machinery, operating in many countries globally. Set up in 1983, this year sees IPAF celebrating its twenty fifth year as a non-profit organisation that strives to create safer working procedures for all powered access workers. By creating training guidelines, its work has been fundamental in strengthening the safety aspects of powered access operating.

IPAF performs this important role by regulating training operators and ensuring they meet strict standards of operation. It is currently estimated that almost seventy thousand operatives undergo training in around three hundred training centres in any one year. The result of training is a certificate in the form of a PAL card or Powered Access License. It is not just a top down organisation however; with such a wide base of members, it is through feedback on working procedures that members can influence future legislation and improve the way in which powered access is performed.

IPAF have been recently working toward training all operators to enter into their 'Clunk Click' campaign. Reminiscent of the seatbelt campaigns during the eighties and nineties it sets out to ensure that operatives wear a full body harness whenever they are working at height. Training also ensures that this harness is secured to a suitable anchor point at all times. The campaign can be seen as a clear response to a number of fatalities where boom lift workers were catapulted from their work stations due to a lack of suitable harness equipment.

Legally, IPAF has to constantly keep itself, and it's licensed training centres up to date with current legislation. Most recently the Work at Height Regulation (2005) and the Construction Regulations (2007) have meant an overhaul of the training programs, this work was undertaken meaning that legally defined responsibilities can be easily met for operatives. Having a global approach however means that IPAF must incorporate a number of diverse regulations from different countries in order to comply. It is through a multi-lateral approach that the body have achieved training programs that meet all relevant government legislation.

For those who run a boom lift business, IPAF training will become an even more important element to operation. The new corporate manslaughter act of last year will, according to legal expects work towards protecting conscientious managers while simultaneously punishing those who run dangerous working methods. The act came into effect last month and ensures that managers make relevant provisions and ensure safe working methods are maintained at all times. More precisely this is maintaining equipment extensively and ensuring work areas are safe. If these responsibilities are neglected and a death does occur, an investigation of the company managers will ensue. The findings of the investigation will deem if the company is at fault and whether charges of corporate manslaughter can be levelled.

It is due to these strict health and safety regulations that IPAF has been able to lead safety standards in its field. Without the work of this organisation there is little doubt that the powered access operator would be at more risk. If you are a business manager that regularly utilises boom lifts and other powered access lifts, finding a nearby approved training facility is essential if you do not wish to fall foul to current legislation. Ultimately the organisation is trying to make the working world safer, your responsibilities as a manager are to heed their recommendations and ensure that accidents are kept to a minimum.
About the Author
Industry expert Thomas Pretty looks into the importance of IPAF training for boom lift operators and powered access workers.
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