Candidates seeking to renew or obtain PAL Cards to operate Mobile Elevating Work Platforms (MEWPs) and those wishing to undertake specialist management training are advised to opt for online distance learning by the International Powered Access Federation (IPAF), which has also introduced measures to temporarily extend expiring PAL Cards by 90 days for those who complete an eLearning module.
IPAF has also doubled the maximum amount of time between a candidate successfully completing their operator theory module via eLearning and the mandatory practical assessment to 90 days, to allow training centres to manage demand against recommended safe practices during the coronavirus pandemic.
New applicants will not receive a PAL Card until successful completion of the practical test, but any current Powered Access Licence (PAL Card) holder whose card is due to expire may have the expiry date extended under special measures.
On successful completion of the online operator theory eLearning module, and until such time as a practical assessment can be safely undertaken, a PAL Card’s validity may be extended by up to 90 days from the date on which completion of the online module is certified.
IPAF will request that all employers and contractors requiring a valid PAL Card to allow holders to operate MEWPs or access work sites recognise these temporary extensions of an expiring PAL Card, subject to their discretion.
Giles Councell, IPAF’s Director of Operations, comments: “We urge those wishing to undertake IPAF training, whether they are new applicants or renewing an existing qualification, to first locate and contact their nearest IPAF-approved Training Centre to find out what eLearning options are available to them, and to schedule where required a practical assessment if possible, to allow our training providers to manage demand.
“A theory module for MEWP operator training can be conducted online anywhere, any time, on most devices and, provided that a practical assessment is completed within the 90-day period, the candidate will be issued their IPAF PAL Card in the usual way. It’s also worth pointing out that the operator theory eLearning module is available in multiple languages to suit the candidate’s requirements, wherever they are in the world.”
“With regards to IPAF’s MEWPs for Managers, this is currently available in English, and in a special ANSI-compliant variant suitable for the US market, with German set to be made available via our eLearning suite very soon.
“It is possible to complete MEWPs for Managers entirely in eLearning, though it is still assigned to training candidates in the usual way by an approved IPAF training provider. Please contact your nearest IPAF Training Centre in the first instance to find out more and to schedule your training requirements; we hope that the added flexibility offered will assist candidates in completing their training safely and conveniently in the face of ongoing constraints to restrict the spread of the Covid-19 disease.
“The full impact of COVID-19 on IPAF training availability is changing daily. We accept the possibility that workers may struggle to find available training to qualify them to operate a MEWP or to renew an existing PAL Card, and therefore we are asking the industry to support these temporary measures. We will review these periodically in line with the best available national and international guidance.”
To find more information about all of IPAF’s training options and about the temporary changes to the way PAL Cards can be renewed/extended, see www.ipaf.org/training; use the online directory or searchable map function on the same area of the IPAF website to find your nearest IPAF-approved Training Centre.