Working at height is and always has been a dangerous occupation and anyone following industry news or occasionally national news will undoubtedly have heard of a tragic story of someone being injured at work, or worse, that could have been avoided. Early last year we had the story of the worker for a scaffolding company who fell to his death while working at height after health and safety concerns were raised; this type of accident like so many others could have been avoided had the correct safety training been implemented and utilised.

Fortunately there are training courses available that help to prevent these kinds of accidents by providing workers with information that could potentially save their life. The IPAF formed in 1983 as a non-profit organisation that represents all stakeholders in the world of powered access. They deliver a range of services to people and companies that are involved with working at height and one of the most valuable services they provide is a training programme designed to improve safety.

Each year over 100,000 people worldwide are trained to the highest industry standards through an IPAF training scheme which can be delivered at any one of more than 600 specialist centres like Powered Access Sales. Although the training courses are not held by the IPAF they regularly audit all training centres and trainers to ensure that the most up-to-date information is being given.

The fees and course times are all dependant on the centre that is delivering them but class sizes are usually kept small with a mixture of practical and theory applications. The course itself can last a couple of days, depending on the time, and will be concluded with a written and practical test. Once the training has been completed those that have passed will receive their powered access license (PAL card).

What Type of Courses are Available?

There are a few courses available for mobile elevating work platform (MEWP) that should be completed dependent upon your role and the industry that you work in. For example anyone who is in charge of the planning and supervising should consider taking the MEWP’s for Managers course, while there are also courses available for operators to safely prepare various types of elevated equipment. You can find the full list of courses available on the IPAF website, but they also offer courses that detail the safe use of harnesses and their inspection, loading/unloading and Pal+ which is a course designed for those working in challenging environments.

Being trained to safely work at height is legally part of a company’s health and safety procedure with the IPAF the most internationally recognised provider of this service. The courses themselves cost very little in terms of money and time when compared to the valuable information that you learn which could potentially save your life or someone that you work with.