The International Powered Access Federation (IPAF) is a not-for-profit members’ organisation founded in 1983, which promotes the safe and effective use of powered access equipment worldwide. Currently the organisation has around 1,350 members, including manufacturers, rental firms, contractors and users.
Across 2017, IPAF’s Back to Basics safety campaign focusing on identifying and mitigating typical risk scenarios when operating Mobile Elevating Work Platform (MEWP) equipment worldwide has actively inspired and informed safety messages and key industry events from Las Vegas and Amsterdam to Shanghai and Abu Dhabi.
IPAF decided to pursue a Back to Basics campaign in 2017 after fatal accident data revealed that many causes of death and injury were due to “basic” errors in planning, preparing or executing MEWP operations, and that more needed to be done to try to eradicate relatively simple errors that could lead to disastrous consequences, through better risk assessment and comprehensive training for operators and supervisors.
The campaign received its worldwide debut at the Conexpo event in Las Vegas, with a “safety trail” of full-size MEWPs demonstrating key risk scenarios. IPAF experts were on hand to walk visitors through the safety trail, asking them to identify the risks and explaining simple ways to mitigate or avoid those risks entirely.
Following requests from IPAF members, IPAF’s Technical & Safety experts devised a MEWP controls research project that made its debut at APEX Amsterdam, gathering data for the international standards body tasked with making recommendations on how to simplify and standardise MEWP controls worldwide.
IPAF’s Asia Conference, held for the first time in mainland China, in Changsha, Hunan province and attracting a record number of delegates, signed a mass pledge to provide all operators of boom-type platforms with appropriate harness and lanyard, while in the US IPAF supported an OHSA safety standdown aimed at reducing falls from height.
The Back to Basics message has underpinned IPAF’s press releases and communications output, while new Andy Access posters were published, a series of special Toolbox Talks were devised and the Andy Access safety mascot made many highprofile appearances at events around the world.
IPAF’s technical guidance materials have been updated to reflect the latest standards and legislation, including new versions of the “H1” Harness and Catapult warning leaflets; while other safety materials and training support has been made available in new languages including Czech, Polish, Slovenian, Danish, Finnish and Swedish.
The IPAF Middle East Convention in Abu Dhabi, UAE, saw a record number of attendees and also saw IPAF sign a memorandum of understanding with the OSHAD in the region. IPAF training centres in the UAE are now able to provide accredited training in Hindi, as large numbers of workers in the region are originally from India.
Tim Whiteman, CEO & MD of IPAF, comments: “It’s impossible to put a figure on the number of accidents we’ve helped people avoid, but the tenets and principles of good safety behaviour have certainly travelled far and wide in 2017. IPAF will shortly be announcing additional safety campaigns for 2018, so do please keep an eye on www.ipaf.org/safe.”