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IPAF Event Taking Innovation to Whole New Level

IPAF Event Taking Innovation to Whole New Level

Want to try your hand at some of the latest access equipment innovations and lend your voice to offer ideas that improve safety and efficiency in the powered access industry?

Then you need to make your way to Chicago on July 16-17 for the 2019 International Powered Access Federation (IPAF) Innovate Workshop.

This year’s event, which offers a collaborative format where guests participate in one of 10 workgroups focused on a specific topic to develop and compete for the best ideas presented, will introduce “innovation stations” that allow attendees to get hands-on with some of the latest technology and products, says Tony Groat, IPAF North American regional manager.

Highlights from the stations include three of Serious Labs’ LLEAP-award-winning virtual reality (VR) MEWP simulators brought by United Academy, UKey’s MEWP keyless access device for operators, and technology from Trackunit, among others.

The stations will be open from 9 a.m. to noon at the Sheraton Suites Chicago O’Hare on July 16, and then participants will also get the opportunity to rotate through the stations in the afternoon. Groat says the VR simulators will give participants a first look at an advanced MEWP operator training module that IPAF is developing, ideal for those who work in confined spaces that may have crushing hazards or other risks where training on an actual machine could be dangerous.

When not at an innovation station in the afternoon, participants will be creating solutions and developing a presentation on a pre-assigned topic (guests can select their preferred topic when registering for the event). Each workgroup will include an industry-leading facilitator.

The topics and facilitators are:

Recognizing and avoiding electrocution (Facilitator: Greg Strid, safety director of Mastclimbers)
Electrocution is a known hazard that is a leading cause of fatalities associated with MEWP operations, yet, we have to live with the required source of power to the projects we work on. How can we continue to take better measures to stay clear of the path of this known hazard?

Qualified service technicians (Facilitator: David Kesser, president of Teupen North America)
The industry has long stated that the ability to replace and hire qualified service technicians is a growing problem. How do we develop and attract the next generation of MEWP service to our industry and ensure that MEWPs are properly maintained and required?

Preventing MEWP Tip-overs (Facilitator: Ebbe Christensen, president of Reachmaster)
New requirements for a user to address access, preparation, and maintenance of the site will include an assessment that the support surface is adequate to support the weight of the MEWP. How can the industry assist users with understanding and compliance of this responsibility?
Understanding the value for MEWP familiarization (Facilitator: Terry Dolan, president and CEO of Custom Equipment)

MEWP familiarization has long been a requirement that was too often misunderstood as MEWP training. Soon a user must request familiarization from a dealer to receive it, and it must be provided to all operators prior to authorization to operate. How can we assist users and operators in understanding the value and compliance with this responsibility?

Completing OEM compliant inspections (Facilitator: Jen Lombard, president of Lizzy Lifts)
Required inspections, such as operator daily prestart inspections and owners’ annual inspections, too often fall short of compliance following OEM instructions. How can we assist both operators and owners to successfully meet their responsibility?

User selecting the proper MEWP equipment (Facilitator: Ian McGregor, director of product safety for Skyjack)

A user’s safe use program includes the proper selection of equipment for the task. How can that occur if they are unaware of the options in the market for equipment and accessories to address the many challenges a job can require?

Innovation – How can it be used to improve our industry? (Facilitator: Chris Beasley, sales and business development manager for TVH in the Americas)

How could the development of certain “smart” PPE technology help prevent certain known MEWP accidents from occurring?  (Ex: Hard hats that help prevent crushing hazards, wearables that notify when a fall has occurred, etc.)

Preventing workers falling from an elevated MEWP (Facilitator: Tom Trinen, president of Service One Access)

What can be done to ensure that all platform occupants are wearing required fall protection and are attached to the anchorage system that is provided with boom lifts while operating?

Are all person trained/qualified before operating a MEWP? (Facilitator: Forrest Hester, chief development officer of Tutus Solutions)

With MEWP rentals continuing to grow in the industry (over ownership), there is a continued need to ensure that operators are properly trained before operating takes place.  Perhaps tech/innovation can help us here?

Are users aware and understand supervisory training requirements? (Facilitator: Giles Councell, director of operations for IPAF)

The new requirement for anyone monitoring and supervising MEWP operators will require every MEWP user to get their supervisors trained. How can the industry raise awareness and support meeting this requirement?

Following the workgroups, participants will enjoy a networking event and dinner at the hotel.

The next morning, each group will present solutions on their topic. New this year, participants will use an app to vote for the best ideas, with winners awarded prior to the event’s close at noon on July 17.

IPAF says this event is for all industry stakeholders, including operators, supervisors, service technicians, sales staff, and more, and it is truly a key opportunity for your voice to be heard among the industry’s leadership.

Registration for this two-day event is $125. For more information, go to


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