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10th November, 2021

IPAF Scissor Lift Training For Operators And Managers

IPAF training is vital for anyone working at height, whether you're an operator or a manager. We explore what IPAF training is how it can be accessed.

IPAF training is important for anyone working at height as it’s imperative you understand how to use different pieces of machinery correctly. Not only is this important for your own health and safety, but also for those working in the surrounding area.

Mobile elevating platforms (MEWPs) are highly useful as they provide access to challenging areas. Type of MEWPs include scissor lifts, boom lifts, and any other type of aerial platform. However due to their size, weight, and mechanical nature of these machines, they can pose a potential risk to those operating them, especially if this person has not undergone sufficient training.

By attending an IPAF training course, workers are able to better assess risk, develop an emergency procedure, and implement a rescue plan quickly and efficiently if a problem should ever arise.

In this post we will explore what IPAF training is, what it involves, and how it can benefit both operators and managers. For any business using this type of machinery, providing the correct level of training to employees should be a priority.

What Is IPAF Training?

IPAF stands for International Powered Access Federation. Starting in 1983, the organisation provides training courses for those who work with power access equipment. The courses are varied depending on which equipment you use as they cover scissor lifts, boom lifts, construction hoists, and mast climbing platforms.

IPAF itself does not deliver the training. Instead, you can access accredited training from over 750 IPAF approved centres in nearly 50 countries and regions. Each centre is regularly audited by IPAF to ensure they are delivering the highest standards of teaching. The courses are aimed towards service technicians, operators, managers, demonstrators, installers, and instructors.

Although there is no legal requirement for employees working at height to obtain such certification, the Work at Height Regulations 2015 state that employers have a responsibility to ensure workers are competently trained or they must be supervised by a skilled person.

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Who Needs IPAF Training?

To comply with health & safety regulations, anyone who operates a Mobile Elevating Work Platform (MEWPs) must have IPAF training.

Anyone working at height will need to prove that they have received sufficient training otherwise they will be sent off site.

How Is IPAF Training Delivered?

If you’re undertaking IPAF’s MEWP operator course, then you can complete the theory element of your training either as eLearning or in the classroom prior to your practical training and test. If you choose to do eLearning, then this is a flexible and enhanced online learning experience which provides the same high quality training as the classroom.

A huge benefit of this is being able to complete training on a range of devices, at any time of the day, at your own pace. Therefore this works around your other commitments and gives you more control.

Similarly, if you’re completing IPAF’s MEWPs for management course then you have the option to participate in eLearning or the classroom. If you’re interested in the eLearning option then you should speak to yourIPAF approved training centre at the time of booking.

Different IPAF MEWP Training Courses

MEWP Operator Training

Course length: Half a day – 3 days

Course delivery: eLearning or classroom

Certificate at completion: PAL card

This training course instructs an operator to prepare and safely operate various types of MEWPs, also referred to as cherry pickers, aerial lifts or scissor lifts. Categories include Static Vertical (1a), Static Boom (1b), Mobile Vertical (3a), Mobile Boom (3b), Specialist Machines (SPECIAL).

The training course for Push Around Vertical (PAV) MEWPs takes half a day and Insulated Aerial Device (IAD) MEWPs takes two days.

IPAF’s MEWP Operator Training is certified by TÜV as conforming to the international standard ISO 18878 Mobile elevating work platforms – Operator (driver) training.

The time it takes to complete this course depends on the type of course, trainee experience, machine complexity, and the number of machine categories taken.

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IPAF’s eLearning for MEWP operators is available for all MEWP categories (1a, 1b, 3a, 3b) and takes around three hours to complete.

The eLearning is broken down into manageable sections that you can complete at your own pace. You can therefore save and resume your training at any time that suits you best.

IPAF MEWP Operator eLearning training course is available in English, Dutch, French, German, Italian, Portuguese and Spanish.

How to start your eLearning training course:

  1. Find your nearest IPAF-approved training centre that offers ‘eLearning’
  2. Contact your chosen training centre and register for IPAF MEWP Operator eLearning training
  3. You will be sent an email to begin your eLearning training
  4. At the end of your training you will need to complete a pre-theory test
  5. Once you have passed your pre-theory test, contact your training centre to schedule your theory test, practical training, and assessment.

MEWP operator eLearning does not replace practical training. Trainees who complete the online training course must still pass a supervised theory test within 45 days, at an IPAF-approved training centre.

They must also successfully complete a minimum half-day of practical training and testing before qualifying for a PAL Card.

MEWPs for Managers

Course length: One day

Course delivery: eLearning or classroom

Certificate at completion: Certificate

MEWPs for Managers is the essential course for those who plan, supervise, and manage the use of mobile elevating work platforms MEWPs in the workplace. This is available as either eLearning or as a full-day course at an IPAF training centre.


IPAFs MEWPs for Managers training course covers what managers need to know for safe and effective use of MEWPs on site, including planning a job, conducting a risk assessment, selecting the right equipment, and reducing all possible risks.

This course has been designed to be completed only as eLearning and takes between six and eight hours to complete. It is broken down into smaller, manageable sections that you can complete at your own pace.

How to start your eLearning training:

  1. Find your nearest IPAF-approved training centre that offers ‘eLearning’
  2. Contact your chosen training centre and register for IPAF MEWPs for Managers eLearning training course
  3. You will be sent an email to begin your eLearning training
  4. At the end of your training you will need to complete a test
  5. Once you have passed your test, contact your training centre to apply for MEWPs for Managers certification
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What Is a PAL Card?

The Powered Access Licence, also known as PAL Card, IPAF Card, and IPAF Licence, is a small photo card which should be carried at all times whilst onsite. Only registered IPAF training centres are able to deliver the accredited courses and issue official certificates and IPAF Cards.

The minimum age you need to hold a licence is 16. There are no restrictions on the size of the machine you are able to operate providing you hold the licence for that category. There is also no maximum age for someone to obtain an IPAF PAL Card.

IPAF certificates, also known as PAL cards are certified for 5 years from issue. Before your card expires, you will have to take a refresher course to enable you to continue using MEWPs. If you wait until after 5 years, you will need to take the full IPAF test again. If you wish to renew your license you will need to contact an IPAF accredited training centre.

What Are the Benefits of IPAF Training?

IPAF training has many benefits, regardless of whether you’re taking the management course or operator course.

Let’s take a look at these in more detail.

  • Ensures that operators understand how to use the platform correctly. A trained operator will know how to position the equipment properly to ensure the safety of those present. They will also know the best lanyard and harness to use when operating the platform.
  • Expands an operator’s knowledge when the machine is in use. Aside from setting up MEWPS, it is important to understand the risks involved when the platform is in use as this is when lots of accidents can happen. Thankfully, this is covered in the IPAF training courses.
  • Guarantees the safety of people in the surrounding area. Large machinery comes with potential injury and damage which is not limited to the operator, but other workers too. As a result, emergency procedures should be put in place. In order to establish these procedures, operators must be able to recognise potential risks which are covered by IPAF training.
  • Provides the skills required to identify potential hazards as well as equipping operators with the knowledge to create a rescue plan. This is essential in case an operator becomes stuck between a building and platform, as it helps retrieve the operator without exacerbating sustained injuries.

FAQ’s about IPAF Training

Does a passenger in a MEWP require a license before they can go in a MEWP?

No, only the operator requires a licence. However, the passenger will be required to wear the correct PPE.

Is it necessary for a ground based person (designated to help lower the MEWP in an emergency) to hold an IPAF PAL card?

A nominated MEWP ground rescue person should have undergone some form of training relevant to the task. However, as a minimum, the nominated person should have familiarised themselves with the MEWP in operation and the rescue procedure in place.

This ensures they are competent to lower the MEWP platform using the ground/ emergency controls.

Who keeps the card and certificate after training is completed?

The operator should keep their PAL card on their persons as proof that they are sufficiently trained to use MEWPS, and their employer should keep the certificate.

Can candidates who have never used MEWP participate in the operator course?

Yes, candidates can still participate in the course. However this could impact the length of the course and/or the candidates’ likelihood of passing it.

Can I use my PAL card abroad?

The PAL Card is increasingly recognised worldwide. However, the employer and usually also the self-employed, have a duty to know and abide by the legislation of the country they are planning to work in.

IPAF may be able to assist with a summary of the legislation for certain countries. Ultimately it will be down to the individual site manager in each country to decide whether they are willing to accept the training you have received. IPAF’s increasing worldwide reputation means that the PAL Card’s acceptance is continually growing.

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IPAF Scissor Lift Training for Operators and Managers

IPAF training is important for anyone working at height. In these situations, workers are at risk and if they are not correctly trained, they could experience a serious fall or injury.

As a construction manager, it is your responsibility to ensure your team are properly trained and understand how to use different types of machinery safely.

IPAF training is a great way to ensure this happens and it can be carried out either remotely as elearning, or in a classroom setting, meaning it can fit around other job commitments. In the construction industry, time is very important, so having this flexibility is a huge benefit.

Once your staff are trained, they will be able to use a range of MEWPs safely, giving you assurance and peace of mind. At YardLink, we supply a range of mobile elevating platforms from scissor lifts, to boom lifts, to cherry pickers – all available in a range of sizes to suit your rental requirements.

To discuss your project in more detail, give us a call today!


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