Coronavirus/COVID-19 update

www.ipaf.org/covid19

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 www.ipaf.org/covid19 regularly for updates from IPAF. Please contact us at info@ipaf.org 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.

Training Validity Extension

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

IPAF has agreed to extend the grace period for card renewals to 90 days after the PAL Card expires (this extension also applies to CAP Cards). IPAF strongly recommends that candidates with expired cards undertake either Operator eLearning theory course or remote instructor-led theory course during this extension period. 

Options include 

  • IPAF Operator eLearning in regions where the IPAF operator eLearning theory is available: Following successful completion of the eLearning course, candidates will have up to 90 days to complete their practical training course, ONCE their training provider has resumed practical training courses.

  • Web based remote instructor-led theory session, in regions where IPAF approved training centres are providing this kind of service: As long as candidates have evidence of participation issued by the training centre they will have up to 90 days to complete their practical training course, ONCE their training provider has resumed practical training courses.    

IPAF will review this situation regularly and will update the guidance accordingly. 

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

PLEASE NOTE: Local governmental legislation about training validity extension takes precedence over the above 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 www.ipaf.org/covid19 regularly for updates from IPAF. Please contact us at info@ipaf.org or your nearest IPAF office for any inquiries about this.

 

IPAF Guidance for Safe MEWP Work During the COVID-19 Pandemic

All MEWP work requires a safe system of work based on a risk assessment. Where this work is considered essential, your risk assessment must include an additional biohazard in the form of the Coronavirus.

For general advice on control measures to protect workers from this new hazard please refer to the guidance issued by your local health department, or, if not available, by the World Health Organisation (WHO).

As a general guide:

  • Clean and sanitize what you will have to touch e.g. MEWP controls, guardrails, tools and equipment.
  • Clean yourself, wash hands regularly for 20 seconds and use a sanitizer if you’ve got it.
  • Avoid touching your face, eyes, nose and lips.
  • Do not put two people in a MEWP platform unless they can always maintain the required safe distances.
  • Wear appropriate personal protection equipment (PPE) as identified by your risk assessment. This may include disposable gloves, coveralls, respiratory protective equipment, face shield or eye protection.
  • Clean and sanitize the MEWP and other work equipment after use.

The guidelines above are general in nature.  These guidelines may vary as the COVID-19 pandemic progresses.  IPAF recommends you follow the local health department guidelines (or the latest WHO COVID19 Recommendations), as they may be more relevant at the time of use of the MEWP. 

 

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 www.who.int/emergencies/diseases/novel-coronavirus-2019

We appreciate your support during this time and ask you to visit www.ipaf.org/covid19 regularly for updates from IPAF. Please contact us at info@ipaf.org or your nearest IPAF office for any inquiries about this.

Other news you might be interested in

  • IPAF is hosting a free webinar on the future of safe learning. The webinar looks at how COVID-19 has impacted training, how IPAF is responding and how employers and powered access operators can utilise different technologies to continue to learn safely.

  • The IPAF Summit & IAPAs 2020, scheduled to be held in London, UK, will now be held over until next year, owing to ongoing uncertainty around the coronavirus pandemic.

  • New guidance has been issued by the UK HSE, following pressure from IPAF to clarify what should happen to machines on work sites that require an update to their safety certificates while the country is still in partial lockdown during the coronavirus outbreak.