UK access rental and training company Premier Platforms has become one of the first training centres to offer IPAF’s Virtual Reality (VR) PAL+ course after its training instructor passed the course virtually.
The original PAL+ course was launched in 2012 as an optional one day course to provide boom and scissor lift operators additional training in high risk or challenging environments. The course was updated earlier this year after IPAF teamed up with Canadian technology company Serious Labs to create an alternative course that can be completed using a virtual reality simulator.
Premier Platforms' IPAF instructor Daniel Williamson successfully has now passed both the theory and practical elements of the course, which included the new virtual site and machine inspections.
Paul Roddis, IPAF training manager, said: “Seeing this implemented is inspiring. IPAF and Serious Labs worked diligently to ensure that the tests are measurably the same and for Dan Williamson to have scored so well absolutely proves that he is an exceptional operator. This will be an incredibly useful tool for conducting this advanced training on site. I know that many forward thinking organisations are keen to maximise both safety and efficiency by training their teams to this advanced level.”
Mark Robinson, Premier operations manager, added: “We are delighted to be able to offer IPAF PAL+ virtual reality training. We believe there is a lot of potential with virtual reality because of how it has revolutionised learning. You gain hands-on experience without actually lifting off the floor. It also creates an environment which benefits and fosters learning due to the fact you can see what you can improve on and how you can improve during and after each exercise is complete. This virtual reality simulator is an exceptional addition to our fleet and we cannot wait to use it in the future.”
Established in 2010, Premier Platforms is based in Cannock, Staffordshire, with a second depot in Thirsk, and runs a fleet of around 450 aerial lifts including boom lifts, scissor lifts, trailer lifts, mast booms and truck mounted platforms.
The addition of a virtual reality option for the IPAF PAL+ course is more than just a simple virtual alternative. Up until now the PAL+ course required a training centre to build an elaborate practical test course using steel work or scaffold to simulate the challenges of working in tight confined areas such as during steel erection. This prevented a good number of training centres from offering the course. While the Virtual Reality training requires a simulator they can be rented or used for other training courses. This is likely to lead to a significant increase in the number of training centres offering the advanced course and that in turn will lead to more people taking it. All of which is a positive safety move.
Earlier this year Cranes & Access took an in depth look at the use of virtual reality with the lifting industry and its potential to change how training is carried out. The full story can be viewed below: