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What is IPAF? Cherry Picker License.

What is IPAF?
What is a Cherry Picker License / Ticket?
What IPAF categories do I need training for?
How much does it cost to get a PAL card?

I do some work with an IPAF training provider in the Northwest of England. These answers come from this experience, for more detailed info you can visit the Astley Hire IPAF Training Site or find out more from any other IPAF training provider. Although I do have links to one company in particular I've tried to write this without any particular bias.


What is IPAF?

IPAF is the International Powered Access Federation. This is a not for profit trade body representing the interests of all those who work with powered access equipment (that includes cherry pickers and scissor lifts). IPAF has, with it's members, development the training courses for Cherry Pickers and Scissor Lifts which have become the industry standard. If you have a Cherry Picker license issued by IPAF, it will be accepted on virtually any site anywhere in the world.

Cherry Picker License or PAL Card / ticket

A Cherry Picker License is a is like a car license, it proves you have been trained and passed a test so should be competent to use a cherry picker. It's not a legal kind of license it's not the police you have to worry about but site safety officers / employers that doing there best to stick within the requirements of Health and Safety legislation.

Like a Driving license there are various categories of equipment that are covered. The IPAF PAL Card (Powered Access License) states the categories you have been trained on. These include Cherry Pickers, static and mobile, scissor lifts or other vertical lifts, or PAV (push around vertical) equipment.

The IPAF Categories are:

1a - Static vertical, this category of machine is very rare so there little demand for training in this category.

PAV - Push Around Vertical, in most cases the supercedes the old 1a category

1b - Static Boom, covers truck, van mounted and trailer mounted Cherry Pickers. These all have outriggers so the machine base is "static" when in use.

3a - Mobile Vertical, go straight up so covers scissor lifts and vertical telescopic lifts, these can be driven about.

3b - Mobile Boom, covers what is often called "cherry pickers" offering outreach as well as height, these can also be driven about.


IPAF COURSE COST, cost for Cherry Picker License, PAL card

The cost of courses varies by a small amount from provider to provider. The competition to supply your training is quite high so the IPAF course cost will never be over the top and should represent good value.

The easiest way to reduce the cost is to get together and book the maximum number on to one days training. This will give you the highest discounts.

When you are enquiring about the cost of IPAF Courses make sure you know exactly what is being quoted for and if there will be any additional costs.

If you're shopping around for a cheap IPAF Course don't forget to check for the points above and consider what the provider might be sacrificing it terms of value to you for being able to offer a significantly lower price.

IPAF Course Cost Comparison

A quick round up of prices published from various providers on the web (as of 2013) gives this rough guideline:

For a single person doing 1 IPAF category cost will be around £160 - £190 per person + vat

For a single person doing 2 IPAF categories cost will be around £170 - £220 per person + vat

Discounts for booking a number of candidates on one day can bring the cost down to between £140 and £170 per person + vat

You might find cheaper prices in which case you've either found a great deal or it's worth asking yourself why in such a competitive market it is so cheap. Some IPAF Training providers may have high prices and add extra benefits to make it worthwhile.

In most cases you'll have to get in touch with the provider to get a date and a price that really is going to give you the best value.

For a cost breakdown visit IPAF Course Cost in Detail


When is IPAF Cherry Picker Training Available?

The calendar shows the dates when course places are currently available to get your PAL Card at an IPAF Training centre near Manchester. Contact the company, Astley Hire to book or enquire about other IPAF training dates that may be available.

For IPAF training availablity from providers in other areas please visit their websites or contact them directly.

Dates for IPAF Cherry Picker IPAF Scissor Lift Courses Plus PASMA training

For IPAF training availablity from providers in other areas please visit their websites or contact them directly.


Working at Height - Why do staff need training?

The short answer is: To keep them and those working around them safe.

In more detail:

a) Training enables employers to comply with the "Working at Height Regulations 2005" (WAHR 05), to ensure that those involved in work at height are trained and competent. So the employer is complying with the law

b) The training also helps operators to work more efficiently and productively so it should have a positive effect on the bottom line

c) Without the right Training (and proof) you won't be able to work on properly run sites

The Right Training for the JOB

To be accepted on site you will need to prove you are a "competent person". The easiest proof to give is a certificate/ card from a recognised training organisation to prove you have successfully completed the training for the equipment you will be using.

After normal scaffolding, the access equipment used on site normally falls in to one of two categories

1. Powered access equipment - This is sub-divided in to different types to cover all MEWP (Mobile Elevated Work Platforms), Scissor lifts, Cherry pickers, Boom lifts, Static booms, Mobile Booms, Static vertical, Mobile vertical, Access platform, Man lifts,, Genie lift, JLG, Sky jacks etc.

2. Manual Towers and Access Platforms - This category covers Access towers, Mobile towers, Alloy towers, Decks, Platform towers, Scaffold towers, Zip up, Pop up, Razor deck etc.

The most commonly accepted training and qualification programs are run by IPAF for Powered access and PASMA for Manual Access.

IPAF - Powered Access Training Course

IPAF the International Powered Access Federation accredited training centres are authorised to issue PAL cards (Powered Access Licence). PAL cards are recognised by the HSE (Health and Safety Executive), and the MCG (Major Contractors Group).

IPAF promotes the safe and effective use of powered access worldwide. IPAF is a not-for-profit members' organisation, representing the interests of manufacturers, distributors, users, and Hire and training companies.

The IPAF training programme for platform operators is certified by TUV as conforming to ISO 18878. More than 70,000 operators are trained each year through a worldwide network of over 300 training centres. Successful trainees are awarded the PAL Card (Powered Access Licence), the most widely held and recognised proof of training for platform operators.

The PAL Card is valid for five years. It shows the date on which the holder was assessed and the expiry date by which re-training would be needed.

It shows the types of equipment that the holder has been trained to operate. Also the level to which the holder has been trained, e.g. operator, demonstrator and instructor.

It has security features including a holographic logo and the holder's photograph and signature to prevent misuse.

All successful trainees also receive a log book to record their working experience

PASMA - Access Towers and Platforms Training

PASMA the Prefabricated Access Suppliers' and Manufacturers' Association back the training certification for manual towers and platforms. On completing the course, trainees receive certificates of competency and an ID card. PASMA certificates/ID cards are the most widely recognised proof of competency for inspection, assembly, use, moving and dismantling of towers and platforms

The Association devised its PASMA Training Course for users of alloy towers, now universally acknowledged as the industry standard. PASMA is well known for its training programme which has helped more than 24,000 users in the year 2005 alone to improve their safety and operational performance. Only available from PASMA Registered Training Centres, the authorised programme is not available from any other source.

The training courses are based on a format and content agreed by all PASMA members and draws upon their collective, first-hand experience. The courses are widely recognised and recommended by safety professionals.

Successful delegates who pass a written and practical test are presented with a competency certificate and an encapsulated, credit card sized photocard.

Other Schemes

Other schemes are available and the law does not state it has to be a PASMA or IPAF PAL card. However due to the nature of construction work, moving from site to site, it's good to have the proof that every Safety Manager will recognise.

Cherry Picker and IPAF Training questions answered

I hope this has given you a little insight in to the training courses for Cherry Pickers and Scissor Lifts. Hopefully you've got answers to the initial Questions: What is IPAF? and What is a Cherry Picker License? and you're better equipped to approach a training provider to get idea of the IPAF course costs.


For IPAF Courses in or around Manchester and the NW I can recommend:-

Contact Astley Hire to book or enquire about IPAF training

Section Contents:

All about Cherry Pickers on iDoStuff (please read the notes)
What is a Cherry Picker
Types of Cherry Pickers
Cherry Picker Limitations
Cherry Picker Safety
IPAF Training for Cherry Pickers
IPAF Course Cost in Detail