Inaugural SAF-T Conference Stimulates Aerial Lift Safety Discussion

The goals of Maximum Capacity Media's inaugural SAF-T Conference, held July 20 at the Hyatt Regency Long Beach, were simple yet significant. It aimed to clarify industry expectations, promote professional interaction and communication within the industry, and stimulate discussion and debate to further develop aerial work platform safety.

“We by no means answered all the questions facing our industry today, but this event allowed for a conversation to begin,” said Guy Ramsey, president and publisher of Maximum Capacity Media, Fort Dodge, Iowa. “It was our goal to stimulate a serious debate about the issues that we all know are critical. Getting representatives from virtually every aspect of our industry under one roof afforded a unique opportunity to understand one another.”

With more than 125 professionals in attendance, the SAF-T Conference opened the door for equipment owners, end-users, and trainers to become more educated and use that knowledge to promote the safe use of aerial work platforms. "The range of topics, the depth of discussion, and the quality of the presentations provided everyone present the opportunity to learn and take home valuable information that can be used in their jobs the next day," said Tony Groat of AWPT, Inc. "It was refreshing to hear only positive comments from those who invested their time and money to attend. I know that I too learned from the many other presenters of the day."

Following the event, Michael Roth, editor of RER magazine, said, "I'm inspired by the idea of paying more attention to aerial safety and am planning a cover story on the subject in 2008, so we can raise the awareness of aerial safety in the rental industry."

Attendees came from a variety of backgrounds, including construction contractors, engineering firms, local unions and union training centers, airports, insurance providers, and maintenance organizations. A large number of national and regional rental companies attended the event, including Sunbelt Rentals, NES Rentals, RSC Equipment Rental, United Rentals, Ahern Rentals, Sunstate Equipment, Midwest Aerials, GAR Equipment, Rolls Scaffold Equipment, and American Scissor Lift. Other attendees included equipment brokers, such as National Lift Equipment,, and Dealer Alliance Corp.; aerial work platform manufacturers, including Skyjack, JLG Industries, Genie Industries, MEC, and UpRight; and national and regional training organizations, including Ives Training, AWPT, Inc., and FRG Corporation.

Topics discussed throughout the event included a review of the recently revised ANSI A92.5 and A92.6 standards, proper use of fall protection, the effect of equipment selection on safety, applicable standards for using work platforms on telehandlers, and an overview of the real costs of aerial work platform accidents. Discussion panels on training and fall protection also were incorporated into the conference. "This was the best conference I have ever attended," said Roy Funk, director of safety and training for Safety First Education and Training of Salt Lake City, Utah.

Featured presenters and panelists included Jeff Stachowiak, Sunbelt Rentals; Joseph Feldstein, MSA Fall Protection; Rob Vetter, Ives Training Group; Lance Sullivan, Sunstate Equipment; Tony Groat, AWPT; David Baxter, JLG Industries; Brad Boehler, Skyjack; Paul Doepel, Elk River; Howard Kaplan, Southwest Industrial Rigging; Kelly Morstad, 3d Interactive; Morgan Neff, MSA Fall Protection; Matt Rahn, Skyjack; John Laurin, RSC; Mark Monson, M2 Safety Solutions; Gary Riley, Midwest Aerials; and Luke Webber, Genie Industries. Renowned motivational speaker Bruce Wilkinson kicked off the event with the keynote address.

A DVD of the complete SAF-T Conference will be available from Maximum Capacity Media for $59 for the first copy and $19 for each additional copy. To order, call 800-231-8953.