IPAF administers and accredits the PAL (Powered Access License, but not actually a license) card scheme, used as proof of competence for operators of mobile elevating work platforms (MEWPs).
From April 2021, IPAF’s PAL cards will be available as a smart phone application rather than a physical card.
Replacing the established credit-card-style physical PAL cards, ePAL credentials will be delivered and stored on operators’ mobile devices in a digital wallet, in much the same way that people store loyalty cards, boarding cards and tickets on their phones.
Since inception, IPAF has issued more than two million PAL cards worldwide, of which more than 800,000 are currently valid. Introducing ePAL creates a digital platform to manage current data and operator’s training qualifications, as well as preventing license misuse which is an ongoing challenge for rental companies and contractors, IPAF said.
The technology has been developed Trackunit, a Danish specialist in fleet management systems for connecting machines and operators.
In addition to enabling evidence of correct and in-date training associated with powered access equipment use, planned future updates to ePAL will support users to maintain a machine use log. Trackunit and IPAF are considering ways in which this process could be automated to create vendor-neutral capabilities in later versions of ePAL.
Trackunit chief executive Soeren Brogaard said: “Working with IPAF, we have created ePAL as an easy to use and update mobile app which fits better with the lifestyles of today’s tech savvy license holders. The platform developed to support ePAL offers the capability for open, industry-wide collaboration and data sharing – over time we expect to see benefits from enriching machine data with human data added by operators and other users.”
IPAF chief executive Peter Douglas said: “Our number one priority is to increase the effectiveness of our operator safety training capabilities – ePAL is a major step forward. Importantly, IPAF members include manufacturers of around 85% of powered access equipment on the market. By working with Trackunit, we have met the need for the new development to be vendor-neutral from the ground up, giving access to industry organisations to expand its capabilities as the system grows.”