Greater emphasis on operator aerial work platform safety was called for by Tim Whiteman, president of Aerial Work Platform Training (AWPT) and managing director of the International Powered Access Federation (IPAF), at his kick-off address to 200 participants at the inaugural Aerial Platform Safety Conference held the first week of November in Dallas.
Whiteman pointed out that with the tremendous growth in the market thousands annually are using an aerial work platform for the first time; but frequently they are workers skilled in a trade, not in operation of a boom lift or scissor lift. The new users can unintentionally be a danger to themselves and their colleagues.
His organization has initiated studies of accident reports and while it is still in the early stages, he reported that “… the trends that are starting to appear point toward operator error as being the most common cause of accidents.” He expressed his belief that the industry insist that anybody using a platform prove they have been trained in the use of that equipment.
He also suggested that manufacturers could contribute to better safety by standardizing emergency descent and other controls.
IPAF, and the North American organization AWPT, headed by Dennis Eckstine, vice president, are not-for-profit entities dedicated to providing one-day training in the safe use of aerial work platforms that is a mixture of theory, practice and testing to assure that the training is understood. Following successful completion of the training, participants are issued a standardized card certifying their training. AWPT does not give the training that is done by companies who have become AWPT training centers by meeting stringent requirements.
Whiteman said, “The goal of AWPT to get as many people as possible trained to a recognized standard to the benefit of all in the industry. AWPT, through its advisory council, is committed to providing that training.”
Readers interested in learning more about AWPT and training centers can visit www.awpt.org.