The future of the powered access industry in Latin America was in the spotlight when the International Powered Access Federation (IPAF) hosted its annual conference for the region in Mexico City.
IPAF Elevando 2023 took place at the Camino Real Hotel in Polanco in early November, bringing together more than 200 delegates from 75 businesses based in six countries.
Celebrating its 40th anniversary in 2023, IPAF promotes the safe and effective use of powered access equipment worldwide and has nearly 120 members in Latin America.
IPAF CEO and Managing Director Peter Douglas addressed the conference on the past, present and future of the organisation, highlighting its contribution to reducing accidents and how accident data is used to drive safety initiatives and the develop training.
During 2022 IPAF received 746 accident reports from 34 countries. Mr Douglas encouraged all companies to support work to identify potential risks by reporting accidents using IPAF’s online portal.
The safety message was reiterated by IPAF Head of Safety and Technical Brian Parker, who gave a presentation on ‘closing the accident reporting gap’, highlighting the importance of sharing information to improve understanding of best practice.
In Latin America, where more than 100,000 mobile elevating work platforms are in use, there were two fatalities reported in 2022.
Mr Parker said: “We can only improve the industry if we know what is happening.
“Reporting accidents has become a more transparent process, allowing lessons learned to be shared and studied, as well as analysis of training opportunities and identification of areas for continuous improvement.”
Prominent economic commentator Erick Guerrero Rosas gave delegates his assessment of the future of the Mexican and Colombian economies and their impact on the powered access industry.
Predicting a turbulent year ahead economically and politically, he discussed the opportunities provided by US businesses looking to the ‘nearshore’ in Mexico, as well as economic challenges including a predicted end to the favourable peso to US dollar exchange rate.
Felipe Basich, director of equipment sales and rental business Occimaq, spoke to delegates on taking advantage of opportunities in the industry through collaboration.
The talk focused on the founding and development of the ‘Opportunities’ group, a project bringing together nearly 100 companies to collaborate, improve performance and enhance professional development.
He said: “I attest to the success of this group since I am lucky to be with them. I see every day how the camaraderie, the generosity between them and the desire to help is their motivation every day.”
The final presentation of the conference came from IPAF Head of Regional Development and Mast-Climbing Work Platforms Romina Vanzi, who explored how training in planning and monitoring has the potential to save lives.
IPAF’s eLearning for managers and supervisors explains legal and management responsibilities and how to ensure the most effective use of MEWPs.
Ms Vanzi said: “A lot of machinery is rented around the world and accidents happen. It is about people who are in management positions being the first to be aware of security.
“IPAF offers a lot of flexibility to those who want to complete the training either via eLearning or in person.”
During the conference, a collaboration agreement was signed between IPAF and the AMDM, the Mexican Association of Machinery Distributors. The agreement was signed by Peter Douglas and Diego Bustamante on behalf of IPAF and Ana Vigil on behalf of the AMDM, which this year celebrates 80 years as an association, and has 150 companies within its membership.
Other event highlights included networking opportunities and an evening dinner to close the conference.
Lead sponsors for the event were Dingli, Genie, Haulotte, Sinoboom, SkyJack, LGMG and Zoomlion, along with silver sponsors TVH, bronze sponsors Basum and EmpaRent and supporting sponsors Movicarga, Prevencionar and RX.