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What Training Do I Need to Operate a MEWP


17 January 2023

Do you need a licence to operate a MEWP (mobile elevated work platform)? Yes, in order to operate a MEWP, you’ll need a powered access licence (PAL) card. To get your hands on a PAL card, you need to undertake a Health and Safety Executive (HSE) recognised course, such as the ones created by the International Powered Access Federation (IPAF) and offered by our national training centres 

Read on to find out more about the various training available and which course is right for you.  

What courses are available to take?  

What is MEWP training? Well, it’s training in the safe construction, operation and inspection of MEWPs, and it’s broken down into two key categories:  

IPAF courses  

IPAF training, created by the International Powered Access Federation, focusses primarily on the safe use and inspection of MEWPs, including mobile, push around, boom and static type platforms. There are a few different kinds including operators’ courses, harness training, MEWP training for managersCompetent Assessed Person courses and more. To be able to legally operate a MEWP in a working environment, you’ll need to complete an operator’s course and obtain a PAL card. At GTAccess, we offer these courses either part remote or entirely onsite, and both options are eligible for CITB funding.  

PASMA courses  

The other branch of courses was created by the Prefabricated Access Suppliers’ and Manufacturers’ Association (PASMA). These courses are centred on the safe erection and dismantling of MEWPs, as well as general understanding of relevant safety principles. They’re ideal for ensuring safe working environments for everyone involved in the use of MEWPs. The courses we offer include towers for users, towers for managers, working at height essentials, low level towers and more. These courses are also eligible for CITB funding. Check out our blog post here to learn more about the difference between IPAF and PASMA courses.  

Do you need to be trained to operate a MEWP?  

Yes. In order to legally operate a MEWP on a work site, you’ll need to carry a valid PAL card, which you’ll have to undergo training to receive. The PAL card is recognised across a huge range of industries and lasts for five years, so is a worthwhile investment.  

Legality aside, making sure all your staff have thorough training in the equipment they use fosters a safer working environment, reducing the likelihood of accidents and disruptions and protecting not only your workers but also your business. This is especially true if the equipment your workforce uses is potentially dangerous as elevated platforms are.  

How do I pick the right course?  

Different IPAF and PASMA courses are designed to accommodate different needs, and in order to select the right one, you need to consider a few things:  

  • Your needs – What equipment do you need to use as part of your day-to-day job? Choose a course that’s most relevant to the MEWPs you need and the capacity in which you’ll be using them.  
  • Current training status – Consider any training that you already have. You might be able to avoid duplicating your learning, although we’d always recommend erring on the side of caution – you can never be overtrained when it comes to potentially hazardous equipment. Also, remember that PAL cards expire, if yours is due to expire soon, it may be worth bundling your training together to ensure you remain licenced.  
  • The types of MEWPs you want to operate – Different courses cover different MEWPs, and there are separate IPAF courses for each. Make sure you’re selecting the one that tackles the relevant MEWPs.  

Still not sure? Speak to the experts at GTAccess  

If you’re still uncertain about which course is best for you, don’t stress. The friendly team here at GTAccess can point you in the right direction. Just reach out to us using our contact form, by calling 0330 333 4848 or emailing