Operating Engineers Local 150 in Illinois Embraces Aerial Platform Training

The International Union of Operating Engineers (IUOE) Local 150 training center 50 miles south of Chicago in Wilmington, Ill., recently joined the International Powered Access Federation (IPAF) and has become an American Work Platform Training (AWPT) training center. As a result, the union can now train its members on how to safely use aerial work platforms (AWPs).

AWPT is IPAF’s North American subsidiary. Its training meets OSHA requirements and ANSI standards. They are based on IPAF’s proven program, which conforms to ISO 18878 and is used in many countries worldwide.

Whether working as heavy-equipment operators, heavy-equipment mechanics, or in allied jobs, operating engineers are found on any project using construction equipment. AWPs are rapidly becoming one of the most common types of equipment used on a jobsite. Recently, Local 150 has seen exponential growth in its members’ use of AWPs in large equipment maintenance, municipal work, and general industry.

After looking at many training methods, Local 150s apprenticeship and skill-improvement program (ASIP) managers concluded that AWPT’s training programs were the most thorough and provided the tools to integrate aerial-work-platform training into the union’s certification protocols.

AWPT offers the internationally-recognized PAL (Powered Access Licensed-registration) Card to people who successfully complete training for a specific type and capacity range of work platform. AWPT also provides a logbook for listing specific machine familiarization, so union members can show they have trained on a particular piece of equipment. Local 150 now has more than a half dozen AWPT-approved instructors.

Local 150’s training center sits on more than 300 acres, has a 342,000-square-foot space housing 30 classrooms, an indoor training area, testing labs, a 200-seat auditorium, and more than 200 pieces of heavy equipment. It serves union members throughout northern Illinois, eastern Iowa, and northern Indiana. The training center offers a variety of apprenticeship programs that provide journeypersons and apprentices with the skills to acquire and maintain jobs in many industries. The site is open year round, with full-time instructors available to its members from Monday through Saturday.

IPAF is a not-for-profit members’ organization that promotes safe and effective use of powered access equipment worldwide. AWPT is a wholly owned IPAF subsidiary responsible for delivery of industry standard training by members in North America.


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