Coronavirus/COVID-19 update

Stay informed on the latest developments about COVID-19. Follow advice given by your healthcare provider, your national and local public health authority or your employer on how to protect yourself and others from COVID-19. National and local authorities will have the most up to date information on whether COVID-19 is spreading in your area. They are best placed to advise on what people in your area should be doing to protect themselves.

We appreciate your support during this time and ask you to visit regularly for updates from IPAF. Please contact us at or your nearest IPAF office for any inquiries about this.

Impact on IPAF training applications

There are growing concerns surrounding coronavirus (COVID-19) and the potential impact on IPAF’s ability to issue certification and PAL Cards to new applicants or those wishing to renew their qualification prior to expiry.

Currently the best option for both new and renewal applications is to undertake the theory section of the training as eLearning. At this time, eLearning is available for both MEWP Operator Training and MEWPs for Managers. For training courses where eLearning is not available, to contain the spread of the virus, some test centers have started to limit the number of candidates they accept on a course. Other test centers are beginning to offer remote theory training using digital platforms.

These are sensible solutions for theory training, but practical assessment presents greater challenges. IPAF and the wider industry should therefore consider the impact coronavirus may have on the ability to deliver the face-to-face practical training and assessment and the subsequent impact this will have on MEWP operators and the industries in which they work.

What does this mean for IPAF training?

The full impact of COVID-19 on IPAF training availability is changing daily. We should prepare for the possibility that workers may struggle to find available training to qualify them to operate a MEWP or to renew an existing Powered Access Licence (PAL Card).

Those undertaking IPAF operator training for the first time may be unable to take a practical test and cannot be issued a PAL Card unless successfully assessed by an IPAF instructor. The number of expired PAL Cards circulating in the industry might increase as existing card-holders cannot renew their cards without being reassessed, and this could lead to workers being turned away from site as they do not hold a valid PAL Card or their existing PAL Card has expired.

What action is IPAF taking?

IPAF cannot and will not endorse allowing people to operate MEWPs until they have passed a practical assessment, however, in recognition that COVID-19 will prevent some workers from renewing existing PAL Cards, we are asking the industry to support the following temporary measures:

Requesting employers and those responsible for site access and card checking procedures to allow workers whose PAL Cards have expired since March 2020 who can provide evidence that they have completed their IPAF operator eLearning theory to continue to work for a period of 90 days from successful completion of the eLearning. A receipt is provided to all successful eLearning candidates that can be downloaded as a PDF or printed out as evidence. This period of 90 days will be further reviewed as the situation continues to develop.

Agreement to this temporary extension is at the employer’s discretion, but until COVID-19 is under control we are asking all employers and the wider industry to support these measures.

Keeping you informed

IPAF will continue to monitor the situation and where necessary introduce further proactive measures to limit the impact on IPAF applicants and the wider industry.

We appreciate your support during this time and ask you to visit regularly for updates from IPAF. Please contact us at or your nearest IPAF office for any inquiries about this.

IPAF Events

In consideration of the Coronavirus/COVID-19 outbreak, IPAF is monitoring developments and noting updates and advice given by national governments and the World Health Organisation in regard to our schedule of planned events. We will update this information as developments occur. For details see

We appreciate your support during this time and ask you to visit regularly for updates from IPAF. Please contact us at or your nearest IPAF office for any inquiries about this.

Other news you might be interested in

  • Accidents while working at height using MEWPs are proportionally more likely to occur when working in public areas or alongside roads than on controlled work sites such as construction sites or commercial premises, according to IPAF’s latest safety report. The report is now available to view or download free of charge via

  • The IPAF Summit & IAPAs 2020 event, scheduled to be held in London, UK, on 23 April 2020, has been postponed and will now be held on 8 October, owing to ongoing concerns and contingency planning in response to the worldwide coronavirus outbreak.

  • The first in a series of potentially life-saving safety briefings has been launched by IPAF. IPAF’s ‘Toolbox Talks’ are a series of safety presentations ideal for use in breakrooms and worksites to get key messages across at the start of a shift.