UK contractors agree ongoing recognition of IPAF's PAL card
The UK's Major Contractors’ Group (MCG) has this week, confirmed that IPAF’s PAL card will continue to be accepted by its members after 1 January 2004. While this announcement does not on the face of it seem significant, the agreement to recognise an independent “licensing” scheme by the Major Contractors group is a genuine milestone.
In a letter to IPAF, MCG’s John Bradshaw makes the position absolutely clear: “IPAF is included in the list of MCG Accepted Record Schemes, and I am not aware of any proposals to change this at present."
“Although we have an outline agreement that would bring the PAL Card within the ambit of CSCS, the practical details still need further discussion," explains IPAF’s Paul Adorian. “So, until we have a fully workable arrangement, the PAL card will naturally continue to be recognised throughout the construction industry just as it always has been.
“Whatever is ultimately decided upon with CSCS, we do not see this changing IPAF training, the award of the PAL Card is the natural choice for platform operators working in the construction or any other industry,” stressed Adorian.
The key difference between an aerial work platform and other equipment is that an AWP is a tool used by various trades within and outside of the construction industry. Trainees do not become “platform operators” like they become forklift or excavator operators.
PAL (Powered Access Licence) holders are primarily plumbers, electricians, cladders or roofers who have been trained to safely use a particular aerial work platform. Far more operatives need to be trained to use AWP’s than need to be trained to operate the other types of equipment.
No matter what trade, there is more than likely going to be a need to work above ground, usually using an aerial work platform.
So, a different approach with a far greater throughput of trainees and rapid card production is required.
This announcement, close to the end of the year, is a pragmatic and sensible move in the direction of a permanent resolution to the ongoing debate over future recognition by MCG.
With over 100,000 operators cards in circulation and increasingly international acceptance of IPAF's PAL Card, anything but ongoing recognition would have been totally impractical and pointless.