Robert Munn, Health & Safety Director, of the huge Expo 2020 world fair construction project has told the fourth Middle East Convention of the International Powered Access Federation (IPAF) that "everyone using a MEWP at Expo 2020 Dubai must have a PAL Card from IPAF."
This year's fourth edition of the event, held at the Meydan Hotel, Dubai, UAE, proved the most popular yet, with around 220 delegates in attendance.
In addition to Robert Munn's resounding endorsement of IPAF training, the event also heard from Engr Ahmed Khalil Abdul Kareem of the Dubai Municipality Health & Safety Department, who supported IPAF's Plan Ahead safety campaign, saying: "Major accidents are usually the result of management systems failures."
Attendees also heard from Dr Rehab Faraj Al Ameri, Director of National Accreditation Systems for ENAS at the Emirate Authority for Standardisation and Metrology (ESMA), with whom IPAF has been working closely to assist, train and evaluate MEWP inspectors in the region.
She told delegates that it was a key aim to improve the quality of infrastructure and provide a safe working environment.
"Everything needs to be done correctly, with stable regulations," she said, adding that one of the many initiatives ESMA is leading on is creating a better record of accidents relating to lifting equipment: "We want to get this information to enhance our standards and regulations."
Rebecca Kelly, Partner at Morgan Lewis, Fahad Al-Raba'ani, Senior Lifting Engineer for Petroleum Development Oman, Mike Palmer, Regional QHSE & Training Manager at Rapid Access, and Matthew Cox, Chairman of the International Institute of Risk & Safety Management (IIRSM) were among the other high-profile speakers in a stellar conference line-up.
Jason Anker, paralysed from the waist down in a fall from a ladder on a construction site 25 years ago, and who is now a global advocate of health & safety on work sites and in particular when conducting work at height, gave a very personal presentation that was moving and powerful in equal measure, emphasising the message that safety must always be of paramount concern no matter how big the contract and regardless of pressure to do the job quickly at the expense of sound planning and preparation.
In the evening there was a networking reception for all attendees, which was very well attended, and general feedback about this fourth edition of the IPAF Middle East Convention was very positive indeed. The next major IPAF event in the region will be the IPAF Summit & IAPAs 2019, which will be hosted in Dubai in March.
Jason Woods, IPAF's Representative for the region, comments: "This was the fourth edition of the IPAF Middle East Convention, and it has grown year on year. This year the presentations were superb, and the whole event was well attended, which is great. Particular thanks must go to all our guest speakers, our event sponsors, and of course all the delegates who joined us to make this event the best-attended one yet!
"IPAF works constantly in the region to deliver training, help governments and contractors develop, implement and adapt to new MEWP safety standards, reaching out to all stakeholders with our Andy Access safety campaign and offering training and technical advice in multiple languages to assist in the operation of safer construction sites and maintenance work in this burgeoning sector. This event sends a positive message to all operators in the region that safety must always come first."
Tim Whiteman, CEO & MD of IPAF, adds: "In the Middle East, IPAF partners with national and international health & safety bodies and major contractors to get the message out that properly trained and supervised operators using the correct MEWP or Mast-climbing Work Platform for the job is the safest way to conduct temporary work at height, so the news from Robert Munn that the Expo 2020 construction project will require valid PAL Cards for all MEWP work is a resounding endorsement indeed."
● The annual IPAF Summit is to be hosted for the first time in the Middle East in 2019, while nominations for the International Awards for Powered Access (IAPAs) are set to close at the end of November. Both take place at the Radisson Blu Dubai Deira Creek Hotel, Dubai, UAE, on Wednesday 6 March 2019. Companies and individuals are now urged to book for the Summit & IAPAs and enter the awards at www.iapa-summit.info