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MEWPs for Managers is a must

06 January 2020

The International Powered Access Federation (IPAF) now offers an enhanced version of its globally recognised MEWPs for Managers training. The course isn’t about how to operate the machines, but is for those who plan, supervise or manage work at height using powered access. It is available in eLearning for the first time.

Paul Roddis, Training Manager at IPAF, says: “MEWPs for Managers has received a major upgrade and it is now available as eLearning for the first time. This will make it very convenient for project planners, site managers and supervisors to fit this essential training into their busy schedules. 

“The course has been overhauled to make it easier to directly apply the learning in the real world. The redesigned course considers the whole process of MEWP management, from selecting the right machine, training the operators and providing protections, through to organising safe delivery and collection of plant to and from work locations. 

“The course is a must for all those who plan, supervise, manage or control the use of MEWPs in the workplace. It utilises interactive 360-degree graphics and virtual scenarios that contextualise specific hazards, asking candidates to put various pieces of risk assessment and technical or safety guidance together to control identified risks.

“This updated course promotes higher-order thinking skills and will aid retention of learning. The idea is that anyone who passes the course can take the key points straight into the workplace to instantly improve efficiency and safe working from day one.”

The eLearning version of the IPAF MEWPs for Managers course allows candidates to undertake the tuition section-by-section and pass the online course at a time and place of their choosing, on a compatible device. It can also still be taken as a classroom course at most IPAF Training Centres.

IPAF’s MEWPs for Managers course has been recognised as an important qualification for managers at all levels by the UK HSE. IPAF also offers the globally recognised PAL Card for MEWP operators, with almost a million valid cards in circulation worldwide. To learn more or find an IPAF Training Centre near you, see www.ipaf.org/training


The first training candidates have successfully passed the IPAF PAL+ advanced MEWP operator course in a virtual reality (VR) environment using MEWP simulators. 

Paul Roddis says: “PAL+ is an advanced MEWP operator training course for people that will work in higher-risk environments. PAL+ is the ideal solution for employers that want to reduce risk to their teams when they are working in complex areas such as factories and warehouses, steel erection, inside power stations, processing plants etc.”

Following extensive development work and fine-tuning involving IPAF staff and member firms, IPAF has launched controlled trials involving some of its training members to deliver PAL+ training testing candidates using sophisticated MEWP simulators instead of real machines.

The other elements of the PAL+ course, notably the theory module of the course and the pre-use inspection, are conducted as usual at an approved IPAF Training Centre, and the first batch of candidates has now successfully completed their PAL+ training at member firm AFI-Uplift’s Training Centre in Rothwell near Leeds, W Yorks, using simulators instead of real MEWPs for the assessment portion. 

Take part in IPAF reporting project and help save a life

Andrew Delahunt, IPAF’s Director of Technical & Safety, urges all users of powered access equipment worldwide to participate in IPAF’s accident reporting project, see www.ipaf.org/accident for more details.

All the data IPAF collects is anonymous and confidential, with identifying information deleted. The analysis shows that accidents when using powered access are relatively uncommon, considering there are nearly 1.5 million MEWPs in rental fleets worldwide. 

A snapshot of accidents from France, the Netherlands, Argentina and the US was presented shows that the causes are recurring and preventable. More countries than ever before are reporting and this data is used to inform the industry, via IPAF’s safety campaigns and technical guidance. 

As part of the ongoing drive to get more companies in more territories reporting accidents and near-misses, IPAF will relaunch its global reporting portal, optimised for web and mobile devices, by the end of 2019.

Paul Roddis, who was present to witness the first candidates tested using a simulator, adds: “There has been a huge amount of hard work put into making these assessment scenarios as lifelike in the VR environment as possible; the next step was to prove the technology using real training candidates under genuine assessment conditions. 

“We have worked with the developers of the simulator technology over many months perfecting the detail and quality of the VR environment, testing extensively at events including Vertikal Days, bauma and IPAF Innovate in the US, working out the fine details, gathering feedback and calibrating the simulators for use at IPAF Training Centres. I am pleased to say this hard work has paid off and IPAF now has its first official PAL+ advanced MEWP operators certified via simulators.”

Giles Councell, IPAF’s Director of Operations, adds: “IPAF is now looking to fully develop the IPAF PAL+ course into eLearning and VR by developing a digital version of the theory module and simulated pre-use inspection. It’s an exciting project that requires a lot of work and will make 2020 a very exciting year.”

IPAF’s PAL+ operator training was developed in response to increasing demand for a recognised qualification demonstrating advanced operator proficiency and a certain level of experience in using different MEWPs in a variety of challenging scenarios. 

New Andy Access Toolbox Talks ideal for workplace safety briefings

Supervisor and managers of powered access equipment are reminded that IPAF’s award-winning series of Andy Access posters is now accompanied by a series of Toolbox Talks, free to download from the IPAF website. 

Anyone who visits www.ipaf.org/resources will see the latest versions, which are one-page of A4 and designed to aid managers and supervisors give specific site safety briefings to those about to start work. Companies can add their company logo and are free to share via their own websites and intranet sites.