IPAF Access Platform Operator Training



Course duration

1 Day

Certificate valid for

5 years

The IPAF Training Course programme is designed for the operators of MEWPs, renewal of IPAF (PAL) cards or for those looking to learn how to operate MEWPs across a variety of platforms including mobile vertical platforms (3a - scissor lifts or mobile vertical platforms), mobile boom (3b - mobile cherry picker), static vertical platforms (1a), static boom platforms (1b - van, truck, trailer and track mounted).

IPAF promotes the safe and effective use of powered access equipment worldwide. To ensure candidates are trained appropriately, the course will consist of classroom based tutorials, demonstrations, practical and written tests.

IPAF Training Course Aim  

To provide the learner/s with the correct skills, knowledge and understanding to be able to safely and effectively use an access platform. 

IPAF Training Course Objective

On completion of this course the learner/s will be able to:

  • Understand basic health and safety law as it applies to them including;
    • Understand the safety, benefit and legal reasons for completing training
    • Identify the governing laws and legislations that are associated with training and safe operation of equipment
  • Understand their personal responsibilities for safety at work including;
    • Be aware of the need to refer to the manufacturer's manual 
    • Select and identify the correct Personal Protective Equipment for the job / task 
  • Prepare equipment ready for use 
    • Be aware of and be able to complete a pre use inspection of the equipment
    • Identify the correct manufacturer's manual for the equipment and make reference to it
  • Operate the equipment in a safe, efficient and professional way
    • Mount and dismount the equipment using the correct method
    • Operate the access platform safely in accordance with best practice
    • Demonstrate the correct shut down and parking procedure for the equipment

Elements covered

  • Why we train
  • Health and Safety at Work Act 1974
  • Provision and Use of Work Equipment Regulations 
  • Lifting Operations and Lifting Equipment Regulations 1998
  • Management of Health and Safety at Work Regulations 1999
  • Work at Height Regulations 2005
  • Personal risk assessment
  • Personal Protective Equipment 
  • Accidents and associated risks 
  • Equipment introduction
  • Safe Working Load
  • Stability and instability factors
  • Safe travel
  • Setting up including stabilisers and jacks
  • Ground conditions
  • Operating envelope 
  • Effects of wind speed and wind chill
  • Use near electricity cables
  • Power sources and refuelling procedures
  • Pre-use checks and defect reporting
  • Familiarisation
  • Full practical training
  • Theory, pre-use checks and practical testing on the equipment

Facilities and equipment required for training to commence

IPAF Fax Form – This will be attached with the email confirmation for your training course. This must be completed and returned to Essential Site Skills office to allow for the course to be registered with IPAF. 

Parking – Is there parking on site for the instructor?

LOLER - Appropriate machine/s in sound mechanical condition with current 6 monthly LOLER certificate for the MEWP. Our instructor will need to see clear evidence of an in date certificate (or copy) for the equipment prior to the course. If this cannot be presented to the instructor prior to the practical training, the course will not be permitted to continue.

Equipment - Has the MEWP been checked by a competent person to ensure it is physically sound and operates correctly. Has the MEWP been checked to ensure the platform is free of debris, controls panels checked to ensure that they are legible? Make sure MEWP is fully charged/fuelled and keys available. Are there suitable harness anchor points on the MEWP? 

Risk Assessment - A Risk Assessment will need to be carried out by the instructor on the day of the course with particular reference to the ground for the practical training area against; 

Maximum Working Mass/Maximum Point Pressure/Distributed Load (whichever is relevant) of the MEWP to be used. Nearest First Aid.

Instruction manual - A copy of the platform’s current instruction manual must be made available to the instructor on the day of training. This must be in English. Practical training cannot be completed without this.

Theory area- We will require access to a suitable uninterrupted meeting room to carry out the theory element of the course. The room should have chairs, a table for the instructor to set up projector, laptop and screen or wall suitable for projection, and a 240 volt power supply. The minimum training room size is 15m² (5 metres by 3 metres) or 2.5m² per person – whichever is larger. Should have adequate ventilation/heating and access to toilet facilities. Any learners who do not pass the theory part of the course will not be permitted to complete practical training. Theory retesting can only take place after 24 hours of the initial test. Please provide pens and paper. Have refreshments been arranged for candidates and instructor?

Practical area - The area provided for practical training for 1a and 3a machines must be 5 x the length of the chassis squared and for 1b and 3b the radius of 75% of the maximum operating envelope. Must be cordoned off from pedestrian/vehicular traffic. Area must be free of debris and overhead hazards such as craneage. Must be available for the whole afternoon without interruption and be quiet so the instructor can be heard. 

PPE (Personal Protective Equipment) - Learners attending must bring their own relevant PPE including warm clothing, high visibility vest, safety footwear, hard hat (chin strap preferable) and full body restraint harness and lanyard (course dependent) in accordance with your company policy.

Trainees require - Home address, date of birth, any previous PAL Card.

Weather – In the event of adverse weather conditions, the course may be subject to cancellation unless there is a suitable indoor training area available.

Translators (if required) - Learners must be able to speak, read and write in English. If a translator is required, they must be separate from the course (i.e. not a learner).

Health and Fitness Statement - As the assembly and use of MEWPs can be physically demanding, users should be physically fit and in good health and should, generally, not have problems with eyesight or hearing, heart disease, high blood pressure, epilepsy, fear of heights/vertigo, giddiness/difficulty with balance, impaired limb function, alcohol or drug dependence or psychiatric illness.  If you have any problems with literacy or language comprehension, or have any doubts about your fitness to use MEWPs, you must bring them to the attention of your employer.  This need not preclude you from using MEWPs, provided your employer conducts an assessment and is able to put into place adequate measures, to take account of any difficulties you may have.

All courses are conducted in English.  It is vital, for Health and Safety reasons, that all learners have sufficient working knowledge of English to allow them to participate fully.

Learners will be assessed by testing their practical skills in using the equipment, as well as their knowledge of how to use it safely. Only when they have passed both a theory test and a practical test they will be able to get their licence to use MEWPs.

Successful learners will receive a 3a & 3b IPAF PAL Card valid for 5 years and an IPAF Certificate of Training for the 3a Mobile Vertical and 3b Mobile Boom categories. An IPAF safety guide and an IPAF log book will be given to each learner on the day of training. Photographs for the operator card are taken on site.


Please note: The use of harnesses and lanyards for Boom type platforms is strongly recommended by IPAF. An additional Safety Harness course is also recommended for all Boom operators.

Adverse Weather

In the event of adverse weather conditions, the course may be subject to cancellation unless there is a suitable indoor training area available where the platform can be erected to its full height. If wind speeds are in excess of 17mph, according to the instructor's anemometer, an alternative training area will be sought. Should training not take place as a result of poor weather condition, we will charge £200.00 + vat for the replacement day to be delivered.


The trainer will employ a highly facilitative approach to the training with limited group delivery, incorporating directive and participative styles. The major efforts need to be practical in nature and will include support of theoretical elements to aid understanding. Reflective practices and use of feedback techniques will be utilised to improve training and capability outcomes.