Rermag 4073 Ipaf Convention Roundtable Web 1

Speakers, Attendees Call for Increased AWP Safety Training at IPAF U.S. Convention

Nov. 4, 2011
Officials of the International Powered Access Federation and speakers, including Skyjack president Brad Boehler, Mortenson Construction safety director Paul Penzkover, and Access Lift & Handlers editor Lindsey Anderson issued a call for action to increase training among users of aerial equipment at the first IPAF convention held in the United States. More than 100 professionals representing rental companies, equipment manufacturers, contractors, operators’ unions, safety administrations, insurance companies and industry publications, including RER, attended the two-day event in Chicago that organizers and attendees are committed to developing into an annual event.

Officials of the International Powered Access Federation and speakers, including Skyjack president Brad Boehler, Mortenson Construction safety director Paul Penzkover, and Access Lift & Handlers editor Lindsey Anderson issued a call for action to increase training among users of aerial equipment at the first IPAF convention held in the United States. More than 100 professionals representing rental companies, equipment manufacturers, contractors, operators’ unions, safety administrations, insurance companies and industry publications, including RER, attended the two-day event in Chicago that organizers and attendees are committed to developing into an annual event.

Kevin O’Shea, director of safety and training for Mastclimbers LLC, and chairman of the IPAF North American Council, and Tony Groat, Aerial Work Platform Training executive vice president, welcomed delegates to the convention, which focused on the recognition and avoidance of hazards when operating powered access equipment.

O’Shea noted that training and knowledge are the best tools to avoid accidents. “Familiarity breeds content, which can make us careless,” he said. “Aerial work platform users have to be trained to recognize risk and how to avoid it.”

Aerial work platform training expert, Gary Riley, gave a dynamic presentation demonstrating the challenges involved in providing real learning during aerial work platform safety training, not just an overload of information.

“There is a difference between showing someone the information they need to learn and validating that they have learned it,” Riley said.

The conference ended with a spirited panel discussion between delegates and aerial industry experts about the importance of promoting aerial safety training throughout the industry. Panelists included Kevin Groman, senior vice president of safety, sustainability, environmental, RSC Equipment Rentals; Rick Dahl, president of Sugar Grove, Ill.-based Metrolift; Brian Gawlick, safety manager, M.A. Mortenson Construction; Jeff Carter, deputy commissioner of Labor, OSHA; Mike Drew, assistant coordinator and safety administrator, Operating Engineers Local 150; and O’Shea.

“At Metrolift, there is a cultural shift going on,” explained Dahl. “We have a culture of awareness where we promote training via our website, Twitter, and our promotional materials, just trying to increase the level of awareness for the necessity of training.”

Based on positive feedback from its first U.S. convention, IPAF officials say they plan to hold the event annually.