The number of Powered Access Licence (PAL) Cards issued by the International Powered Access Federation (IPAF) to mobile elevating work platform (MEWP) and mast climbing work platforms (MCWP) operators worldwide has now surpassed 2 million, with 800,000 valid cards currently in use on worksites around the globe.
IPAF first began certifying training in 1993, with the distinctive yellow credit-card-sized PAL Card being officially introduced in at the end of 1998. At that time just over 11,000 MEWP operators had been certified by IPAF; with the introduction of the PAL Card that figure doubled over the next year, the eye-catching licence bearing the operator’s name, qualified machine categories and photo id proving popular from the outset.
In 2014 IPAF marked the milestone of 1 million PAL Cards issued, and in November 2017 IPAF passed the 1.5 million PAL Cards mark. Just three years on, and despite the impact of the coronavirus pandemic, IPAF has now certified more than 2 million MEWP and MCWP operator licences.
Over the years the design and functionality of the PAL Card has been improved upon, to ensure the card remains secure against fraudulent use, and with all cards issued after January 2015 being Smart-capable. The use of Smart technology allows the cards to interact with security, telematics and tracking systems on machines to ensure only authorised, qualified and correctly familiarised personnel are able to operate compatible machines.
All PAL Cards that are currently valid in the world today are Smart PAL Cards. Maintaining a digital log of operators’ machine usage is also a way to simplify the renewal process, and to demonstrate to employers the level of familiarisation they have accrued on different types of equipment.
PAL Cards are now able to carry the name and logo of the issuing training centre, and also sophisticated holographic logos such as the CSCS logo, giving access to all Build UK construction sites to MEWP and MCWP operators, technicians and delivery drivers as long as the card is valid. All IPAF staff are encouraged to hold an up to date IPAF PAL Card or MEWPs for Managers qualification.
“As of this month our Training Centres may choose to assess candidates for the IPAF PAL+ advanced operator qualification using virtual reality (VR) simulators, which is an exciting new development opening up new possibilities,” said Giles Councell, IPAF’s director of operations.