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What is IPAF Training and Why Do Your Employees Need It


01 April 2024

IPAF training courses are a common demand for those working at height using access equipment, but what is IPAF training? In this blog post, we’re going to briefly look at exactly what IPAF training is, who needs it, what the different kinds of IPAF training are, why your employees need IPAF training, as well as answering questions like ‘how much is IPAF training?’ And ‘why is GTAccess one of the UK’s leading providers of IPAF training?’


What is IPAF Training?

International Powered Access Federation training, or IPAF training is designed for those who work in any field where they need to operate access equipment to work at height. Most will be using category 3a, 3b or 1b machinery, but this can include the use of mobile vertical, mobile booms, mast climbing platforms, construction hoists and almost any kind of mobile elevating work platforms (MEWP).  

For those looking to operate Mast Climbing Work Platforms (MCWPs) and category 1b equipment, you’ll require category-specific training. mob 

IPAF training is designed to educate participants in the safe operation of MEWP equipment, as well as how to work at height and the health and safety regulations that govern this kind of labour.  

Those who complete an IPAF training course will be granted a Powered Access Licence (PAL) card, which they can carry for five years before it needs renewing.   


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Who Needs IPAF Training?

IPAF training is designed for all those who operate MEWP equipment to work at height as part of their day-to-day job and is available to all workers over the age of 16.

Anyone who works in an environment where they are likely to interact with MEWP equipment at any point should undergo IPAF training, including operators, supervisors and maintenance personnel. Largely, this applies to staff from a huge range of industries, such as construction, manufacturing, warehouse storage, fit-out, engineering, food processing and mechanical and electrical maintenance.


What Kinds of IPAF Training Are Available?

There are a few different branches of IPAF training available. For example, at GTAccess, we offer five IPAF-recognised courses tailored to different aspects of MEWP operation and varying requirements.  

  • IPAF Operating Training (Classroom) - This classroom-based course covers the safe operation and pre-inspection of class 3a, 3b, PAV, and 1b MEWP equipment, as well as how to perform a safe emergency descent and employer and employee responsibilities. It entitles those who complete it to carry a PAL card. 
  • IPAF Operator Training (E-Learning) - This partially remote alternative to our classroom course allows for the necessary on-site time to be reduced by about half, while still giving course delegates the right to carry a PAL card for five years. 
  • IPAF Harness Training - The wearing of harnesses is strongly recommended in the use of boom type MEWPs and is site specific in vertical lifts. We offer three harness training courses – Harness Awareness, Harness User and Harness Inspector. These courses cover the various types of harnesses to be used on, the legislation around them, how to safely use different kinds of harnesses, as well as rescue plans in case of emergencies. 
  • IPAF Competent Assessed Person (CAP) - Once you’ve completed an IPAF operator course, you’re entitled to operate MEWP equipment, but for many worksites, it’s important to have a Competent Assessed Person (CAP) on hand to carry out planning and inspections. Our CAP course is designed to give in-depth training in the planning, management, inspection and data collection tasks surrounding the use of MEWPs and is only available to those who already hold PAL card and the prerequisite certification and correct amount of points to attend the course
  • IPAF MEWPs for Managers (E-Learning) - This course is geared towards those who need to manage MEWP usage on various sites, and covers your legal obligations, selecting the correct machinery and hazard recognition and prevention.
  • IPAF PDI Course - Covering Pre-Delivery Inspection of MEWPs, this course is necessary for anyone requiring an IPAF PDI licence. Delegates will be trained in the proper method of conducting a PDI of various kinds of MEWP equipment, and must hold valid PAL cards in the categories they will be inspecting.


Why do Employees Need to be IPAF Certified to Operate MEWPs?

Employees operating MEWPs don’t strictly need IPAF certification, however, the Work at Height Regulations (2005) state that “Every employer shall ensure that no person engages in any activity, including organisation, planning and supervision, in relation to work at height or work equipment for use in such work unless he is competent to do so or, if being trained, is being supervised by a competent person.” 

IPAF courses are recognised by the HSE and other regulatory bodies as legally sufficient training, meaning that your workforce can be trained to and even above the required standard, allowing you to stay legally compliant and help avoid workplace accidents all in one go.  


How Much is IPAF Training?

The cost of IPAF training varies depending on the course, but in order to become competent in the operation of MEWP equipment and carry a PAL card, staff will need to complete an operator’s course. At GTAccess, our operator courses start at just £155 per person for e-learning, and £240 per person for classroom-based courses.  

Both of these courses, however, are eligible for up to £140’s worth of CITB grant funding, meaning you could pay as little as £15 per person for IPAF certification for your staff.  


Why Choose GTAccess for Your IPAF Training?

Frankly, why would you not choose GTAccess for your IPAF training? We offer fully-accredited IPAF and PASMA courses, as well as Workplace Health and Safety training at 12 training centres across the West Midlands and South Wales. We can even bring our training to you as long as your premises comply with IPAF standards 

All of our courses are backed by more than 30 years of experience with access equipment and offered at extremely competitive rates. We have classroom options as well as e-learning, and we are the UK’s number one choice for IPAF training.  

Now you’re equipped with your answer to ‘what is IPAF training?’, why not book your IPAF training today with GTAccess? Just get in touch using our contact form, or by calling us on 0330 333 4848, or emailing us at  


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