The impact of safety on customer retention and business growth was the key theme as the International Powered Access Federation (IPAF) hosted its ElevAÇÃO conference in Porto, Portugal, on October 3.
More than 125 delegates attended the gathering for members of the aerial work platform industry, with a selection of presentations and networking opportunities as well as the chance to see practical demonstrations of powered access equipment in action.
Celebrating its 40th anniversary in 2023, IPAF promotes the safe and effective use of powered access equipment worldwide.
The conference opened with an update from IPAF Latin America and Portugal Regional Manager Antonio Barbosa, highlighting continued growth in powered access operator training in Portugal.
By the end of September 2023, operator training in Portugal had already reached a new annual high, with nearly 870 sessions taking place.
Antonio said: “The expectation is to reach 1,100 sessions this year, which will be a historical record and 40% higher than the average of the previous two years.”
IPAF Director of Operations Giles Councell delivered a briefing on safety at height and its impact on customer retention for rental businesses.
Robust safety procedures build trust between companies and their clients, leading to increased brand reputation, repeat business, and ultimately company growth.
Mr Councell told the conference: “Safety is not expensive, it’s priceless.”
The session included an overview of IPAF Rental+, the internationally-recognised quality standard for powered access equipment rental businesses.
Continuing the theme of safety, Hélder Simões of Escola Superior de Tecnologia da Saúde de Coimbra spoke on accident prevention in use of powered access equipment.
He said: “Promoting safety undoubtedly increases the income of rental companies. A positive safety culture helps retain customers and attract new customers.”
Senior Instructor Gonçalo Pereira of equipment rental and training company Transgrua explained the benefits of IPAF’s training programmes for managers and supervisors.
He told delegates: “This training explains legal and management responsibilities and how to ensure the most effective use of these platforms. It is about people who are in management positions being the first to be aware of safety.”
Closing the presentations, IPAF Head of Regional Development and Mast-Climbing Work Platforms Romina Vanzi gave an insight into attitudes to safety around the world, and IPAF’s mission to build a global safety culture.
“She said: “The vision of safety changes from one place to another. IPAF promotes the safe and effective use of powered access equipment, and works to ensure that we offer a consistent safety message to our members around the world.”
ElevAÇÃO 2023 was hosted at the CICCOPN Centre, which was founded in 1981 as a professional training centre for the civil construction industry.
The 86,000 sq m centre includes four learning spaces, eight offices for simulated practice, a laboratory and library, as well as sports facilities and accommodation.
Following the presentations, delegates were able to see practical demonstrations involving three Transgrua machines and a simulator provided by rental company LoxanHune.
The event’s lead sponsors were LoxamHune and Transgrua, with additional sponsors Going Up, RB Componentes, Movicarga, Revista Segurança and CIFESP.