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Serious Labs MEWP virtual reality simulator approved for IPAF PAL card renewals

A simulated IPAF renewal test
The simulated MEWP PAL card renewal tests existing PAL Card holders through a VR-based replica of the IPAF 3a/3b practical test.

After a rigorous review process, Serious Labs' Mobile Elevating Work Platform (MEWP) Virtual Reality (VR) Operator Training Simulator was approved by the International Powered Access Federation (IPAF) for renewals of its Powered Access License (PAL) Card. This is the first time that heavy equipment operators may renew their license by simulator, without even touching a physical machine.

IPAF has issued over two million PAL Cards worldwide, and its operator training is recognized in over 51 countries. PAL Cards typically need to be renewed every five years. Serious Labs' VR simulator offers convenience and standardization to contractors and operators alike.

"This is a major milestone for the safety and training industry," said Jim Colvin, CEO of Serious Labs. "The impact of this approval by such a trusted and esteemed organization as IPAF will make training renewals, and safety overall, more accessible and convenient. That will help save lives, increase uptime and reduce accidents. The fact that heavy equipment operators can now renew their license through simulation for the first time ever is a testament to the years of hard work by our team here at Serious Labs, as well as to the commitment to safety by the access industry as a whole."

The simulated MEWP PAL card renewal tests existing PAL Card holders through a VR-based replica of the IPAF 3a/3b practical test. Two scenarios go through a pre-use check on the machine, and a practical course, just as if the operator was on a machine in the real world. Created from the data and results of trials over the course of eight months, the course uses an abridged theory session but the same practical session, based on ISO 18878 that is used in the standard 3a and 3b courses. The trial used experienced operators with a minimum three years' experience who each held a valid PAL Card.

"These additions to IPAF's training offer fully embrace the possibilities afforded by new technology," said Peter Douglas, CEO and Managing Director of IPAF. "They are borne out of ingenuity and informed by the flexible ways our Training Centres learned to work to help meet continued demand for quality powered access training through the pandemic."

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