Huge potential for IPAF’s Powered Access License
By Murray Pollok18 September 2008
IPAF president John Ball said there was the potential to train up to 1 million platform operators in Europe every year if the enormous demand for PAL cards in the UK was matched by the rest of the region. IPAF will issue 80000 cards in the UK this year.
Mr Ball, speaking at the second Europlatform conference, told delegates that operator training represented “a huge opportunity without capital risk, and promises some good returns.”
The organisation started its operator training scheme in continental Europe in 2003/4 and it has risen rapidly since then, but still represents a small proportion of the total number of operator licences issued every year. Mr Ball, who himself recently undertook the PAL card training in Dublin, said there was the potential to train 110000 operators a year in Germany, 75000/year in Italy and 55000/year in Spain.
The IPAF president also predicted that demand for training in eastern Europe would rise, triggered by the large number of multi-national companies investing in facilities there and who will require higher levels of safety awareness from contractors and suppliers. “They will change the rules, and increase the awareness of safety”, said Mr Ball.
Even at 80000 cards a year, Mr Ball said there was the opportunity to expand training in the UK; “WE believe the UK is not even close to saturation – in five years time 80000 people will need retrained [the PAL card licence needs renewed every five years]. As we penetrate the market, the statistics will increase dramatically for retraining, as well as new trainees...it s easy to see how we can reach the figure of 1 million operators.””
Mr Ball, who is managing director of Height for Hire/Easy UpLifts in Ireland, also urged senior managers and owners of rental companies to undertake training; “It is important to emphasise that every director and senior manager of aerial companies worldwide should do the programme...One thing the PAL training did for me was to focus [my attention] on the inherent dangers when somebody is using a machine untrained. I think it is very important to do this programme.”