IPAF Summit –JLG president calls for use of smart technology to improve safety

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Imagine a work environment where smart vests can communicate with mobile elevating work platforms (MEWPs) to warn operators that their harness lanyards are not connected to the anchor points. Or where smart machines equipped with sensors can contribute to collision avoidance and detection.

The 250-strong audience at the International Powered Access Federation (IPAF) Summit on March 26, 2015 in Washington, DC, USA, got a glimpse of how the technology explosion can be used to enhance safety. Keynote speaker Frank Nerenhausen, president of JLG, showed how wearables, augmented reality and remote operation could be harnessed in a powerful system of prevention and control.

At the same time, he underlined the value of human education and intervention: “Training must continue to play a prominent role as our industry advances.”

During the discussion following Nerenhausen’s presentation, IPAF CEO Tim Whiteman revealed that prompted by discussions with JLG, a new category for innovative technology would be introduced at the next International Awards for Powered Access (IAPAs), to be held with the IPAF Summit on March 17, 2016 in Madrid, Spain – watch out for event details at www.iapa-summit.info.

“Safety is not a luxury; it’s a necessity that every worker deserves,” said Jordan Barab, US deputy assistant secretary of labor, Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), as he challenged the access industry to uphold its safety record.

Falls from height remain the leading cause of occupational fatalities in the US and many other countries. Preliminary data for 2013 show 574 fatal falls across all industries in the US, with 284 in construction and 88 in residential, revealed Barab. He commended the powered access industry for its commitment to providing safe equipment for work at height, and commended IPAF for providing training in multiple languages, including Spanish and Chinese, thus enabling training in languages that workers can understand.

He also announced that OSHA would be turning its attention to aerial lift use in residential construction and also called on IPAF and its members to support OSHA’s National Safety Stand-Down which runs from May 4-15, 2015. This is a major effort to prevent falls in construction through education and awareness that will involve some three million workers across the USA. Details are at www.osha.gov/StopFallsStandDown.

IPAF CEO Tim Whiteman confirmed that IPAF would give OSHA’s Safety Stand-Down its full support, calling on resources from IPAF’s accident reporting project and other safety campaigns.

April 10, 2015

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Tom is editor of ivtinternational.com and iVT magazine. During his 20 year career in journalism Tom has worked for a diverse range of titles including Men's Health and Cosmopolitan. He also edits iVT's UKi Media & Events stablemate Traffic Technology International.

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