If you’re scared of heights, then don’t bother reading any further than this sentence – this article is definitely not for you. However, there are thousands of workers across the world for whom working safely at height is important every single day.
What is the IAPF?
The International Powered Access Federation (IPAF) is a global organization that works tirelessly on behalf of workers for whom operating at height is part of their daily activities. Whether that consists of using elevating work platforms, hoists, and mast climbing, IAPF training is an essential part of the health and safety of workforces across the world.
Any company that works in construction and maintenance will understand the importance of putting its employees through regular training programs designed to promote safe practices when operating powered access equipment.
What are the risks of working at height?
Part of the training is to highlight both the obvious and hidden risks of working at height – assuming you know what the risks are is usually the first mistake anyone makes. While falling may seem the obvious danger of working at height, there are actually several more. These include:
- Slips and trips, as well as falls. It is important to mitigate the risk of slips and trips. From ensuring workers are wearing the right footwear to testing for any trace of alcohol and drugs.
- Faulty equipment – maintenance protocols must be up to date.
- Falling objects – it’s not just the operators who are on the platform that are at risk – so are the people on the ground. If you drop a spanner from eight, it can cause damage and potentially death if it hits someone below.
- Fragile roofing – if the work involves repairs to a roof, then a proper assessment must be carried out to ensure the roof can take the weight of a worker – and alternatives put in place if required.
IPAF training emphasizes the importance of effective risk management when working at height. Participants learn how to identify potential hazards, assess risks, and implement control measures to minimize those risks. They become familiar with best practices for site planning, traffic management, and the safe positioning of equipment. By equipping workers with these risk management skills, IPAF training helps to create a culture of safety where everyone is proactive in identifying and addressing potential risks, leading to a safer work environment for all.
Enhancing Safety Awareness
It is imperative that health and safety are woven into the company culture at every level, which is why any kind of safety training must be attended not just by the health and safety managers but by everyone who is involved in a project.
Participants learn about the importance of using appropriate personal protective equipment (PPE), maintaining equipment stability, and preventing falls. By raising awareness of these safety aspects, IPAF training empowers ALL workers to recognize and address potential risks, ultimately reducing the likelihood of accidents and injuries.
It also ensures that they are fully compliant with their local safety regulations and standards. While many countries and states have their own rules and regulation, standardizing the training across different territories ensures that the same rigorous standards are adhered to across the board.
Overall you are focussing on instilling knowledge and competence in the operation of powered access equipment, such as scissor lifts, boom lifts, and cherry pickers. Your operatives learn not just how to operate this equipment but do so in a safe and monitored manner. They gain hands-on experience in operating various types of equipment, ensuring they can effectively control the equipment’s movements and handle emergency situations. This competence enhances productivity, as operators can efficiently navigate work areas and complete tasks while maintaining a high level of safety.
IPAF training plays a vital role in promoting safety and efficiency when working at height. By ensuring compliance with regulations, enhancing safety awareness, developing competence in equipment operation, promoting risk management, and increasing job opportunities, IPAF training equips individuals with the knowledge and skills necessary to protect themselves and others while maximizing productivity.