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All You Need to Know about IPAF and PASMA Training

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Replacing steps and ladders with access platforms can significantly reduce accidents caused when working at height. But, just like any other piece of equipment, they can present their own set of dangers if the operator is not properly trained and competent.  

A-Plant Powered Access IPAF Training Course

IPAF (International Powered Access Federation)and PASMA (Prefabricated Access Suppliers and Manufacturers Association) are two industry bodies who promote the safe and effective use of the types of access equipment used when working at height. IPAF and PASMA approve the training courses delivered by accredited training providers. IPAF training is specific to powered access machines and MEWPs (Mast Elevated Work Platforms) such as scissors lifts and cherry pickers, and PASMA is for low-level access equipment such as scaffold towers.

It is common in many industries, including companies in the construction, manufacturing and maintenance sectors, to specify that operatives must have both IPAF and PASMA training to demonstrate they are competent to work at height on MEWPs and on low-level access equipment. Operatives who have successfully completed these training programmes will be given a card which can be used to demonstrate competence. The qualification is internationally recognised and so are very attractive qualifications to employers; for many companies, the IPAF and PASMA certificates are the only acceptable forms of competence when working on MEWPs and low-level access equipment.

As a fully accredited training provider for both IPAF and PASMA, A-Plant (and Plantfinder in Scotland) are able to offer extensive advice to companies on how to best meet their training requirements to ensure their teams are safe and competent, and, importantly, to demonstrate compliance with the work at height regulations. Read on for the answers to some of the frequently asked questions on IPAF training and PASMA training.

A-Plant Powered Access IPAF training on-site

What is the IPAF / PAL card?

The IPAF Card or PAL (Powered Access Licence) is issued by the International Powered Access Federation (IPAF) to platform operators who have successfully completed their training with an accredited training provider.  IPAF training for MEWPs is split into the following categories:

  • Scissor Lift Training (3a)– for the operation and use of mobile verticals
  • Cherry Picker Training (3b)–for the operation and use of mobile booms
  • Van Mount Training (1b)– for the operation of static booms, which can be completed as a stand-alone session or combined with 3a and 3b courses

Operators can complete up to two categories of training per session, and the training will cover:

  • Introduction and Pre-Course Theory Test
  • MEWP categories
  • Structural Parts
  • Regulations - ISO 18878, European, HASAWA, PUWER, LOLER, MHSW, WAHR, RIDDOR
  • Pre-Use Inspection/Handovers
  • Safe Operating Methods and Hazards
  • Theory Test
  • Practical Training
  • Practical Assessment
  • Licence Renewal
  • Course Evaluation

IPAF PAL+ training is an advanced course for those working in higher risk or more challenging environments. An additional 1 day of training is required to achieve PAL+ accreditation and it is recommended for supervisors or project managers to help demonstrate an additional level of understanding of the risks associated with MEWPs and low-level access.

You can find out more about IPAF training and what the various courses include by watching this video produced by IPAF.

Powered Access training on-site

What is PASMA Training?

This course is designed for the users of mobile access towers (both alloy and fibreglass) and instructs delegates on how to safely erect, move, inspect and dismantle mobile access towers. The official PASMA certification satisfies the Work at Height Regulations 2005 and The Provision and Use of Work Equipment Regulations 1998 (PUWER).  

The PASMA training course covers and includes:

  • In-Depth Theory Session
  • Relevant Health and Safety Issues
  • Accidents and Hazards
  • Towers and Components
  • Safe Use and Stability of Towers
  • Inspections
  • Theory Test
  • Practical Induction
  • Safe Tower Erection
  • Repositioning
  • Safe Tower Dismantling
  • Practical Test

What is the difference between IPAF training and PASMA training?

IPAF courses address the safe use of powered access and PASMA courses deal with the use of mobile access towers, so it’s important for employers to identify the most suitable course depending on the work your operatives undertake and the equipment they will be using.

Who can deliver IPAF and PASMA training?

Only accredited IPAF and PASMA training providers can deliver these courses. You should always check that your training provider is fully accredited to ensure you get the official qualification. A-Plant and Plantfinder are proud to be accredited training providers for both IPAF and PASMA and our Trainers are highly qualified experts in their field, with many years’ hands-on experience. What’s more, earlier in 2019, we received the prestigious IPAF Training Centre of the Year Award to commend a commitment to providing the highest quality IPAF training.

Powered Access training on-site

Is IPAF and PASMA training a legal requirement?

It is not a specific legal requirement to undertake IPAF or PASMA training, however, the Work at Height Regulations 2005 are very clear that in order to prevent death and injury resulting from a fall from height, employers must be able to demonstrate that all employees have undertaken appropriate training and have the required competence to work at height using access equipment.

If there is an accident at your location and the HSE visit to undertake an investigation, one of the first things they will request to see is evidence of operator competency and training.  IPAF and PASMA training cards are a simple way to demonstrate compliance with the regulations and are both recognised by the HSE.  Accredited training can provide peace of mind for employers that their team are fully compliant.

How long does IPAF and PASMA training last?

Both IPAF and PASMA qualifications last for 5 years before they expire. After 5 years, the operator will need to undertake a further course to ensure they are updated of current legislations and best practice.  

How long do the IPAF and PASMA training courses take?

Both the IPAF and PASMA courses can be completed in 1 day. An additional 1 day’s training can be undertaken to get the advanced IPAF PAL+ qualification. To fit around busy schedules we can carry out training at your own premises if it’s not convenient to attend one of our Training Centres.  

How much is IPAF Training?

As fully-accredited training centres for both IPAF and PASMA, the A-Plant and Plantfinder teams can provide a quote for training on a company-specific basis. We will take into consideration the number of candidates, location and individual requirements to provide a competitive quote.

Get in touch with our team today for more information.

  1. Call the A-Plant Customer Training Team on 0115 924 1349
  2. E-mail us
  3. Visit our website:


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