Sunstate Equipment Becomes IPAF Training Center | Construction News

Sunstate Equipment, Phoenix, Ariz., has recently become an International Powered Access Federation (IPAF) training center for aerial work platform operators.

One of the Southwest’s largest equipment rental companies, with 58 locations and more than 1,200 employees across nine states, Sunstate has been an IPAF member since 2010.

Several staff from Sunstate's training department have become approved instructors for the American Work Platform Training (AWPT) operator-training program,  which is based on the ISO-Certified IPAF program used outside North America, but with slight modifications to include additional training on current ANSI, OSHA and CSA standards.

Sunstate president and CEO Chris Watts said, “We’ve offered aerial work platform training since 1993. Last year we trained over 8,000 people, and about 60% of them were on aerials. Even though we already have a training program in place, we saw the benefits of offering our customers a choice of programs.”

“The AWPT program is the Cadillac,” Watts continued. It’s much more thorough and really gets into depth regarding safety, both what to do, and why you should do it. With our new AWPT program in place we hope to train a lot more people, including all of our employees who deal with aerials.”

IPAF's AWPT training program is responsive to change. Feedback and shared input is constantly being gathered from active training centers, manufacturers, rental companies, and end users all over the world to ensure IPAF training covers not only what standards require, but also what the real world needs. Additional feedback comes from IPAF’s accident-reporting program, the first ever instituted to collect work-platform accident data. All certified IPAF and AWPT instructors are also required to attend periodic programs offered at IPAF continuous professional development seminars to help stay abreast of the latest standards and training techniques.

Sunstate Equipment joins over 70 other IPAF members in North America in a joint effort to make the workplace a safer place.

“We’re making an investment in safety," added Watts. "By implementing a training program that is recognized worldwide, we are doing everything we can to provide our customers with the best tools available to educate their workers and make their jobsites safer."

Sunstate currently has 10 full-time people in its training department, and Watts says the company is planning to open several additional training centers. "We have even developed a new safety-focused logo that we hope will remind everyone that you should put ‘Safety First & Always’.”

IPAF training has grown steadily in North America and worldwide as companies continue to realize the value of a uniform training program. With scheduled audits that monitor the consistency of the training process and continual updates as standards change, the program has become the preferred choice of more and more companies worldwide. From 2007 to the present, the number of IPAF members in North America has grown 700% and the number of IPAF-approved training centers has grown by 500%.

In 2013, 127,365 people were trained by IPAF-approved training centers worldwide and close to 500,000 people currently hold a valid PAL card given to a person who successfully completes an AWPT or IPAF training program. In some areas around the world, the PAL Card is required in order to operate equipment on a site.