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Record-breaking IPAF Asia Conference signs mass harness pledge

2017/06/28

More than 300 delegates from across Asia and further afield used their attendance at the IPAF Asia Conference in Changsha, China, to affirm their commitment to safety in the powered access industry by signing a pledge to equip all operators of boom-type Mobile Elevating Work Platforms (MEWPs) with a safety harness.

This year’s IPAF Asia Conference, the first to be held in mainland China, saw a record attendance turn out to hear a strong line-up of speakers, with the majority of delegates staying on for a gala dinner in the evening and to join a guided tour of the nearby Sinoboom manufacturing and assembly plant the following day.

An avowed commitment to raising safety standards was a common theme throughout the conference, and among those messages Hu Yuhong of the Chinese State Administration of Work Safety described the strides made in reducing construction industry fatalities after Xi Jinping, the Chinese President, declared that development must not be at a cost to human lives.

Sticking with the safety theme, Eagle Cheng from 3M China demonstrated harness use before Raymond Wat, IPAF’s South East Asia General Manager, Tim Whiteman, CEO of IPAF, and Bai Ri, IPAF’s China Representative, all donned harnesses to lead the hall in signing the mass pledge to use harnesses and lanyards in boom-type platforms.

The conference hosted two lively round-table discussions, which also touched on the fact that striving for greater safety in construction is one of the key driving factors in the burgeoning MEWP rental business in China. Previously very few construction firms in China used the equipment, which was almost solely used in shipbuilding in the country. As the Chinese authorities demand greater safety, however, more and more contractors are switching to MEWPs as a safer way to work at height. 

In terms of the market and the opportunities and challenges for companies seeking to expand in China, Nick Selley, IPAF’s newly elected President, gave a very comprehensive overview of how to grow and manage a rental fleet, while Tim Rule of United Rentals offered a fascinating presentation on how to grow and expand a business in a competitive marketplace, with pointers on how platform rental firms can specialise and differentiate themselves to capture more market share – not least through a strong commitment to and record on safety.

Meanwhile, Steve Cole from Herc Rentals also talked about how an emphasis on safety can help rental companies grow their business, pointing out that the younger generation of construction workers throughout Asia will continue to demand higher safety standards and “will not want to revert to other methods of working at height such as scaffolding when they know how good and safe MEWPs are by comparison”.  

Bai Ri then closed the conference with an explanation of what IPAF training can do to improve safety in the access industry, including training and business support to help firms comply with safety legislation and to keep workforces up-to-date on best practice.  

View the highlights slideshow and presentations at: www.ipaf.org/asiaconference

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