IPAF 2013 U.S. Convention Delivers Valuable Industry Information

IPAF 2013 U.S. Convention Delivers Valuable Industry Information
IPAF 2013 U.S. Convention Delivers Valuable Industry Information
IPAF 2013 U.S. Convention Delivers Valuable Industry Information

The International Powered Access Federation’s 2013 U.S. convention, held October 21 and 22 in Chicago, attracted an estimated 90 access-industry attendees ranging from manufacturers, equipment dealers, and rental companies, to insurers, attorneys, and safety experts.


The 2013 event was the IPAF North American regional group’s third annual convention. It also celebrated IPAF’s 30 years as an international organization serving the powered access industry. 


The convention was the first event that involved staff from IPAF’s newly opened U.S. membership office, which began operation just a few weeks before. The new U.S. membership office, located in metropolitan Chicago, was established to help grow IPAF membership in the United States and to help provide full service to U.S. aerial rental companies, end users, and manufacturers. It complements IPAF’s Aerial Work Platform Training subsidiary located in Schenectady, N.Y.


The information-packed convention presented more than a dozen educational sessions that covered diverse topics ranging from how to assess jobsite risks, factors to consider when selecting aerial work platforms, and leveraging technology, to the levels and kinds of training that are most defensible in court, the importance of training operators in language and methods they can understand, and changes in the Dept. of Transportation’s BASIC roadside truck and driver evaluation system. It also included a panel of experts discussing how industry regulation is likely to address exiting from an elevated work platform.


Other sessions saw IPAF director of operations Giles Councell and IPAF North American manager Tony Groat report on IPAF’s activity during the past year, and the organization’s plans and programs for 2014 and beyond. Groat also presented an update on the activities of ANSI’s A92 committee, which develops industry best-practice standards for aerial work platforms.


The North American Regional Council’s newly elected chairperson, Teresa Kee, and newly elected vice chair Jim Dorris, each gave a presentation at the event. Kee, who is director of environmental, health, and safety for NES Rentals, spoke about NES’ success in using eLearning as part of operator training. Dorris, vice president of health, safety, environment, and sustainability for United Rentals, talked about the need for leaders to drive the industry to think in new ways in order to continuously improve safety.


The first day’s sessions were moderated by lifting-industry veteran and Maximum Capacity Media president Guy Ramsey.


Here is a small sampling of the interesting and important information presented:


  • IPAF now has 1,032 members worldwide.
  • IPAF’s accident reporting system has grown significantly over the past year, with more registered reporters and a growing volume of reported accidents. Its purpose is to identify the types and causes of AWP accidents in order to be able to prevent future ones. IPAF started asking only for information about fatal accidents, but is now expanding the request to include non-fatal accidents and also near misses.
  • IPAF is running field tests of a “smart” PAL card with an electronic chip that would work with a reader on a lift to allow only trained operators to run the machine.
  • IPAF is working on a Rental+ program that focuses on training everyone involved in the rental chain from managers to specifiers, mechanics, and deliverers.
  • Always assess jobsite risks to make sure an AWP is right for the task. Don’t make-do with a lift just because it’s handy.
  • OSHA fines for serious violations ($7,000) and willful violations ($10,000) are likely to triple soon. In addition, OSHA now looks back at five years of records instead of the previous three years.
  • The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) is making changes to its BASIC roadside evaluation and compliance system, which affects all trucks with a GVW of more than 10,000 lbs., even those used as mountings for cranes and aerial lifts.
  • FMCSA is now conducting on-site inspections of fleet operators, in addition to the usual roadside inspections.
  • In 2012, hours of service violations accounted for 50% of all roadside violations. Improper maintenance ranked as the second-highest cause.
  • Be sure to design training programs with potential litigation in mind. Plaintiff attorneys ask not only whether an equipment operator was trained; they also investigate the details of the training, the trainer’s qualifications, and the quality and consistency of a company’s overall training program.
  • A change to the structure of the ANSI A92 standards is in the works. The revised standards will likely be divided into A92.20 Design, A92.22 Safe Use, and A92.24 training.
  • Recognizing that the industry often uses aerial lifts as elevators and that they are often the safest to get workers to high-up work sites, the ANSI A92 committee is looking at creating guidelines for users who need to exit from an elevated platform. Although the specifics of the guidelines are still in formulation, it’s certain they will require a proper risk assessment and likely require 100% tie-off to something other than the lift.


For more information about IPAF, its activities, and the resources it has available for the AWP industry, visit www.IPAF.org.


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