New event meets demand for MEWP safety training in Oman

Jason Woods presenting at the Oman event in July 2019

More than 50 delegates recently attended a special workshop hosted in Oman by the International Powered Access Federation (IPAF), giving a valuable overview on global standards of training for operators, managers and inspectors of Mobile Elevating Work Platform (MEWP) equipment.

The inaugural event was hosted by Jason Woods, IPAF’s Middle East and India Representative, at the Radisson Blu Hotel in Muscat and offered a thorough review of training and standards and how they should be applied in Oman, a country that is eager to establish a robust system of safety standards, widespread MEWP operator training and better support for technical inspectors.

There is burgeoning demand in Oman and the wider Middle East for expert knowledge as to global safety standards and best practice, and professional training for MEWP operators and those supervising and managing MEWPs to work at height.

IPAF is the organisation that certifies the globally recognised Powered Access Licence (PAL) Card, for which there is rising demand across the Middle East since project managers on the huge Expo 2020 construction project in UAE mandated all users of powered access on its site must hold a valid PAL Card. IPAF has also been working in neighbouring countries to support the inspection regime and to help train and support MEWP inspectors.

Jason Woods opened the event by welcoming attendees and praising the work of IPAF’s Middle East Regional Council, which has been helping advise local regulatory authorities on how to adopt MEWP safety standards and promoting IPAF as a valuable resource for its members. He encouraged all those present to join a working group to establish and raise MEWP safety, training and inspection standards in Oman.

Frank Higgins, Head of HSE at Raysut Cement, gave his insights as to what he and the wider construction industry expects from training providers; emphasising the importance of having confidence that high-quality training is being delivered that meets employers’ requirements and objectives. He also highlighted the ongoing successful affiliation between the International Institute of Risk & Safety Management (IIRSM) with IPAF, which was recognised with a memorandum of understanding signed at the IPAF Middle East Convention in Abu Dhabi in 2017.                  

Osama Melhem from Abu Dhabi Quality Conformity Council (QCC) then spoke about regional governments’ desire to drive standards up and improve safety and training levels among machinery operators across all industries. He also announced that IPAF would be assisting the QCC in delivering MEWP proficiency testing of inspectors in Oman on 22-23 September 2019.

Richard Whiting, IPAF’s UK General Market Manager, discussed the work he has been leading on in the development of IPAF’s new service engineer roadmap, and how this could be adapted to suit the region and provide Omani people with a clear career path to becoming a qualified technician within the powered access sector.

Representatives including Dr Ramesh Sivathanu, Deputy Regional Coordinator of the Drops Oman chapter then talked about the risks associated with items dropped from height and the introduction of a new standard charter, the first of its kind in Oman. The work of Drops Global was also promoted.

Jason Woods hosted a summing up session at the close of the event, in which he thanked the speakers and the delegates for giving up their free time and brought to close a very successful event, which he said would very likely become a “regular fixture in IPAF’s growing global events calendar”.

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Other news you might be interested in

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  • In response to new safety requirements due to COVID-19 and following IPAF’s guidance to training centres, Nationwide platforms has successfully completed an online instructor-led MEWPs for Managers course for construction contractor Skanska.

  • IPAF is supporting from The No Falls Foundation, the first and only UK charity dedicated exclusively to the work at height sector, urging workers to ‘Be Safe, Don’t Fall, Stay Alive!’, as lockdown eases and UK construction activity begins to increase.