IPAF to launch global consultation on virtual reality in training

Global powered access body to discuss with approved training centres on how VR and platform simulator technology use can complement its existing programmes

The International Powered Access Federation (IPAF) has announced that it will launch a global consultation initiative look into the possibilities of using new technology to provide powered access training and safety guidance through the use of virtual reality and platform simulators.

A statement from the global body of the powered access sector said that virtual reality is now a reality and IPAF’s worldwide network of almost 700 approved training centres are looking for guidance on how best to incorporate VR and the newest generation of simulators into training the more than 175,000 operators that obtain certification from the body every year.

The statement added that the IPAF will soon launch a major consultation exercise with all its training centres to see how the technology can complement its existing training programmes.

For many years, IPAF training has used simulators to effectively train pilots in both the military and civil aviation sectors, as well as to drill workers in high-risk environments such as the off-shore oil and gas industry. The statement said that as the technology becomes more sophisticated, mobile and affordable, the use of simulators and VR is becoming more established in the Mobile Elevating Work Platform (MEWP) realm.

With promoting the safe and effective use of powered access worldwide as IPAF’s mission statement, the body believes that the use of VR with simulators for training MEWP operators is a positive development and should be welcomed.

Tim Whiteman, IPAF’s CEO and managing director, said: “There are lots of complex and potentially dangerous situations that can be experienced in a totally safe environment in the virtual realm that would be difficult or even impossible to recreate safely in most other training environments.

“Our aim is always to find ways in which modern technology can complement our existing e-Learning and classroom-based training for operators and managers. Who better to take advice from than the more than 1,000 accredited IPAF instructors around the world?

“The consultation exercise will be addressed to all relevant stakeholders within IPAF’s membership – manufacturers, training centres, rental companies, contractors, simulator developers and operators.

“IPAF welcomes this technology and immediately endorses the use of VR simulators as a good training tool for MEWP operators, when used in addition to the current IPAF theory and practical training programmes.”

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