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The International Powered Access Federation, otherwise known as IPAF is an organisation which promotes the safe and effective use of powered access equipment through providing technical advice and information through influencing and interpreting legislation and standards and through its safety initiatives and training programmes.

The not-for-profit organisation is owned entirely by its members; consisting of manufacturers, rental companies, contractors and users worldwide. Since being set up in 1983, IPAF has represented the interests of manufacturers, distributors, users, rental and training companies serving as a forum for all powered access. IPAF has played a key role in promoting many of the design, safety and testing procedures which are now well established in the powered access industry.

IPAF, owned by its members, runs a scheme for members boasting several benefits. The organisation has connections with a plethora of companies working in and around the construction industry. Membership of IPAF is open to users of platforms, manufacturers, distributors, rental and training companies. Currently, the majority of members come from Europe and America; however the organisation does have members in the Middle East, Far East and the Pacific.

IPAF runs a training programme for platform operators wishing to gain a PAL card. The programme, certified by TUV as conforming to ISO 18878, trains more than 100,000 operators each year through a worldwide network of over 600 training centres. The course lasts between one and two days and combines theory work and practice.

Candidates whom complete the training process successfully gain a Powered Access Licence card (PAL). PAL cards are the most widely held and recognised proof of training for platform operators; showing the machine categories which the operator has been trained in as well as photographic identification and a signature. The card can be verified by calling IPAF.

As aforementioned, members of IPAF enjoy a number of benefits; these include access to a wealth of valuable and practical information on legal, technical and commercial aspects of platform use. The chance to influence the growing body of legislation and regulations that governs platform use, free services such as a specialist advisory service, an insurance management system and a business information service. IPAF members can access the member’s only area of the website, which holds meeting minutes, presentations and other useful guides. In addition, PAL card holders and IPAF approved training centres in the UK can benefit from the service from Rift, which specialises in claiming tax refunds for construction workers, including PAL card holders.

Members of IPAF must abide by a code of conduct, should this be breached, members may be expelled. By choosing to accept the code of conduct, members send a powerful message that they are committed to raising standards and upholding professionalism in the industry. The code states that a company shall not knowingly misrepresent facts, or mislead any customer or supplier, concerning any aspects of the goods and services it provides. It shall market only products and services that conform to specific industry standards relevant to its business and it shall provide adequate training and instruction to its employees and agents.

IPAF staff bring more than 100 years of experience, working with well known manufacturers in the rental industry. Aid from said expertise is at member’s disposal. The organisation lobbies and makes representations to the relevant authorities on issues of concern to its members. It represents its members within organisations such as the American Rental Association (ARA), the European Rental Association (ERA) and the US-based Scaffold and Access Industry (SAIA). Additionally, IPAF actively participates in several committees relating to EN 280, ISO, FEM and ANSI standards committees as well as the British standards committees BS 8454 and BS 8460. It cooperates with safety bodies worldwide, such as the HSE in Britain, Berufsgenossenschafen in Germany, Suva in Switzerland, OPPBTP in France and OSHA in the United States.

For more information on IPAF and PAL cards, please visit www.ipaf.org

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