The launch of a new mobile app for operators of mobile elevating work platforms (MEWPs) and mast-climbing work platforms (MCWPs) aims to bring training certification into the digital era and reduce the environmental impact involved in issuing the International Powered Access Federation’s (IPAF) PAL Card and all training certification.
IPAF’s new ePAL app is free to use and features the first ever digital IPAF PAL Card, operator log book and operator safety guide. It also allows operators to receive the latest best practice tips and safety information, and means operators can share their qualifications with site managers quickly and easily.
The ePAL app is a major a step forward in IPAF’s ongoing drive to boost sustainability, as it shifts away from issuing plastic, credit-card sized PAL Cards via the post to every training candidate successfully completing or renewing an IPAF operator course.
The new ePAL app also phases out paper certification of qualifications and logging of machine time and replaces the printed paper version of IPAF’s operator safety guide; it speeds up the processing time and resource required to issue training candidates with their PAL Card and certification.
Peter Douglas, IPAF CEO & MD, says: “A typical year’s output in terms of IPAF PAL Cards and certificates issued used to amount to a 130-metre stack of printed plastic and paper, shipped from supplier, to IPAF, to the IPAF Training Centre and then on to candidates. Then, after five years, the candidate would dispose of it and start again!
“The new app will lead to us reducing the number of steps in processing a PAL Card and cut down on all that waste, as well as the expense, delays and carbon emissions involved in shipping items around the globe needlessly. Developing an operator app has been a key priority for IPAF since I took up post in 2019, and we were excited to team up with IPAF member Trackunit to bring its considerable technical expertise to bear to roll this out.
“IPAF’s ePAL brings huge benefits for operators and IPAF Training Centres alike, while allowing us to streamline and digitise our processes. We are monitoring the roll-out of the new app and are already planning new functionality. These are exciting times.”
Søren Brogaard, CEO of Trackunit, IPAF member company and specialist in fleet management solutions for construction that helped develop the app, says: “This is a big step up for the industry when it comes to safety and efficiency. It has been long in the making, at least in terms of an industry wish-list, and now it is finally here.
“The app allows IPAF to communicate directly with operators and offers them a digital platform to record, show and share their qualifications and operating experience worldwide. ePAL is a commitment to enable collaboration between the operator and the digital ecosystem.
“We all know filling out paper operator logbooks and keeping them up to date can be a challenge. This app provides contractors and operators secure access to equipment and a convenient way to document machine activities. We can also use the app to encourage and make it easier to report an accident or near-miss incident through the new IPAF reporting portal. My hope is we can all contribute to building a safer, digital future for operators.”
Alan Woodage, Health and Safety Manager at Taylor Woodrow, comments: “The introduction of ePAL and digital PAL Cards is another great integration of digital technology welcomed by VINCI Construction UK. As we embrace digital technologies we become many things: More sustainable; better connected; more engaging; and, ultimately, efficient.”
Ben Hughes, Training Manager at Horizon Platforms, says: “ePAL has been something we have been waiting for, for a long time. Having a digital card, that can't be lost, broken or stolen, will cut down significantly on the admin demands of being an IPAF training centre, as well as being much more convenient for our customers.”
IPAF ePAL app is available now in the UK and Ireland. It is initially offered in English with other languages to follow, and is available for Apple iOS and Android devices. The app will be updated with additional features as usage demands and developing technology allows.