After several years’ hiatus owing to the pandemic, IPAF held an in-person Innovate Workshop in Chicago, IL, in conjunction with the ALH Conference at the end of September. The workshop is open to all industry stakeholders who individually bring their own unique knowledge, experience and expertise to collaborate with others in small work groups. Each group takes on a different industry issue, discussing challenges faced by the industry and developing proposed solutions.
There were six topics considered by this year’s working groups: Electrification of MEWP equipment; risks associated with exiting a MEWP at height; electrocution hazards; preventing falls from MEWPs; standardized MEWP training; and the shortage of qualified MEWP service technicians. Perspectives were offered from a range of stakeholders – from new workers in the business to individuals with decades of experience – representing manufacturers, dealers, rental companies, and suppliers, allowing all to see each topic from different viewpoints to aid in the identification of key problems and practical solutions.
Each group presented a summary overview on their topic, identified the key issue they wanted to address and some proposed solutions. All attendees then voted on the best ideas presented with two teams recognized for their work. This year the work groups addressing “Preventing falls from MEWPs” and “Standardized training” took first and second place respectively.
The “Preventing falls from MEWPs” work group focused on the relatively high number of falls from boom-type lifts. They summarized that lift platforms are fully guard-railed and require the use of an appropriate personal fall protection system, in addition to operators being trained and authorized prior to use. Their solution centered on the industry recommendation of the added use of third-party anchorage detection systems. Team member Don Satterfield from Home Depot shared feedback from a recent trial of a detection system that provides a verbal warning like a car seat-belt alarm system – “you are not connected”.
The “Standardized MEWP training” work group focused on the issue of a significant number of untrained operators still at work in the industry, and issues around recognition of training offered in the market that does not comply with updated ANSI/SAIA MEWP training standard requirements. The group’s solution was for industry associations to work together to develop a method of certifying training courses as compliant with A92.24 so users can easily identify acceptable training options and differentiate from sub-standard or non-compliant training. This would also include means to assess the qualified trainers who deliver the courses. This would be supported by promoting insurance companies that demand the use of quality training.
All workgroups offered great ideas and these will be reviewed before being posted on the IPAF website in due course. The hope is that others will read these and be encouraged to carry the ideas into use. The IPAF North America Regional Council has agreed to identify at least one group’s ideas to become one of its 2023 objectives.
● Visit www.ipaf.org/innovate for more details of this and previous years’ events.