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IPAF: How to Get Your PAL Card

Posted on Friday, 20th March 2020

IPAF: How to Get Your PAL Card

IPAF is a highly respected name in the construction industry. For over 30 years, the awarding body has set the standard for training on powered access platforms. But what does IPAF training involve and how does their certification work? In this blog, we look at how you can achieve an IPAF qualification and get your PAL card.

What is IPAF?

IPAF logoIPAF stands for the International Powered Access Federation. They’re the leading authority for safe use of powered access platforms for the construction industry around the globe. Their oversight has ensured industry-wide regulation of safety measures when it comes to operating powered access platforms such as scissor lifts and booms.

IPAF training provides employers with peace-of-mind knowing their staff are fully versed on all the necessary health and safety measures and latest regulations when working with powered access platforms. IPAF is a not-for-profit organisation, owned by its members. Members of the organisation include manufacturers, rental companies, distributors, contractors and users. The majority of the MEWP rental and manufacturer worldwide is done by IPAF members. Because of this, you can be sure that IPAF standards are created by workers, for the benefit of workers.

What are PAL cards?

PAL stands for Powered Access License. PAL cards are verified and accredited by IPAF, to ensure that owners of the card are up-to-speed with the latest guidelines. These cards are industry standard, and the vast majority of roles that involve operating powered access platforms will demand that workers hold them. Simply put, if you work at height and use access equipment, you probably need an IPAF card.

PAL card

How do I get an IPAF card?

To get your hands on an IPAF PAL card, you need to have completed the necessary training course that proves your knowledge of operating a range of powered access platforms. Training for these cards is broken down into various categories, two of which being IPAF 3a and 3b. 

3a covers machines such as scissor lifts and vertical personnel platforms, while 3b looks at self-propelled equipment such as booms. At ESS, we can provide an IPAF Access Platform Operator Training course that covers 3a, 3b or both, depending on the specific needs of the individual. Successful learners will be presented with a PAL card upon completion.

What does our IPAF course involve?

The ESS-run IPAF course provides learners with all the essential knowledge, skills and understanding needed to operate a range of access platform equipment safely and efficiently, all in one day. Through theoretical teaching and hands-on practical learning, participants will be engaged in course content including:

  • Understanding basic health and safety law and applying it to work
  • Understanding the importance of Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) and using it correctly
  • Preparing the equipment for use
  • Operating the equipment, including how to safely perform the mounting, dismounting and shut down procedures

At the end of the course, learners will complete short theoretical and practical tests to ensure they have fully understood the training and how to implement it in a work environment. Successful delegates will be awarded an IPAF PAL Card and an IPAF Certificate of Training for each of their completed training categories. All PAL cards are valid for five years. 

Book IPAF training with ESS now >

Dangers of access platformsPrevent unauthorised use

How much is an IPAF card?

Depending on the specifics of the person applying and the organisation they work for, obtaining an IPAF may be free! 

We utilise a variety of grant funding options to help provide training to companies who would not normally be able to finance the upskilling of their workers. For this specific course, certain organisations will be able to utilise the CITB Skills and Training FundThis funding is available to organisations with less than 100 employees. The amount of staff they have on their books will also dictate how much funding they can receive. If you want to find out more about this funding and whether your company would be able to apply, why not talk a member of our training team on 0115 8970 529 or email [email protected].

How do I verify a PAL card?

With the new PAL cards, it’s simple to check the validity of cards provided to them by workers. To check a card, all managers need to do is go to the IPAF website and enter the card holder’s details such as their name, photo, date of birth etc onto the verification tool. With this system it has never been easier for managers to prove the validity of worker’s qualifications and keep track of when workers are due for further training. This offers peace-of-mind to employers and can speed up the process of checking and renewing qualifications of staff.

How do I renew my card?

IPAF qualifications are valid for five years, at which point they will need to be renewed. To do this, workers will need to contact an IPAF-approved training centre, such as ESS. This does not need to be the same as the centre where they achieved their original qualification. To speed up the renewal process, workers need to be filling out the log-books they received as part of their original qualification over the intervening five years. Completing this process correctly will mean operators will just have to complete a renewal test to receive their updated card. There needs to be at least 60 entries, with at least 10 of these coming in the final year before renewal. If workers have not been filling out the log-books correctly, they will need to complete the full IPAF Access Platform Operator Training course again to remain qualified. 


How do I replace a lost IPAF card?

As much as nobody wants to think about replacing a lost card, accidents do happen. The process to replace lost cards is straight forward, and the verification tool means that your license can still be verified online. You simply need to contact the training centre that you acquired your qualification through and they will be able to sort you out with a replacement card for a small fee. If you have completed your course with ESS, you can contact our team on 0115 8970 529, or email [email protected].

IPAF courses near me

As part of our package, ESS offer in-company training across the UK. We ask that organisations provide the powered access equipment necessary, and highly recommend that harnesses are available on-site. If you don’t already have these, you can buy industry-standard harness equipment from our website.

Other courses

As well as this IPAF course, ESS offer a wide variety of courses across many different sectors. To see a full list of the learning options available, check out our online course index.

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