The Scaffold and Access Industry Association (SAIA) plans to launch its newest offering — aerial work platform (AWP) operator training — by yearend. The SAIA is a 40-year-old trade association whose mission is “to ensure those who make, install, depend on or govern the use of access tools and equipment pursue the highest standards of safety, craftsmanship and ethics.”
Since 1997, SAIA has successfully trained about 35,000 workers on various types of scaffold systems through its Accredited Training Institutes and the association says the new AWP operator training program is a natural progression that expands upon its training model.
“Many more people are using AWPs and, sadly, a large percentage have not been properly trained or trained at all,” says Granville Loar, SAIA’s director of education and training. “Using our existing training program and tapping into the expertise of our members directly involved in AWPs, we were able to create a program to address the industry training needs.”
The AWP operator training curriculum was built from the Statement of Best Practices of General Training and Familiarization for Aerial Work Platform Equipment (see story on pg. 19), which was based upon consensus standards for aerial work platforms and Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) regulations. The course content was developed by AWP experts representing rental companies, AWP manufacturers and industry consultants, and covers all the issues required for aerial work platform operator training.
SAIA training programs are delivered through Accredited Training Institutes (ATIs), which undergo a rigorous qualification process, including assessment of instructor qualifications. SAIA provides all training materials, including presentations, manuals, tests and supplies. In addition, approved instructors learn facilitator skills for leading adult education classes.
Located throughout the United States, Canada, and Central and South America, SAIA’s Accredited Training Institutes are resources of AWP operator training for both employees and customers of American Rental Association (ARA) members.
Employees must be trained before using AWPs, which includes driving them on or off trailers or familiarizing renters on specific units. Similarly, rental customers also can benefit from the SAIA AWP operator training program. Consensus standards require rental companies to offer operator training when renting AWP equipment, which is accomplished by providing a source of that training, which in turn adds value to the rental transaction.
Rental companies also can become Accredited Training Institutes, thereby expanding their services and creating an additional revenue stream. Even those who already offer AWP operator training could benefit from the association with SAIA’s brand, reputation and marketing support.
SAIA’s success with scaffold training has shown that the model of a single curriculum, developed by subject matter experts and presented by accredited instructors, can ensure the quality and consistency of the training.
“The SAIA AWP operator training will ultimately create safer workplace environments,” Loar says.
— Maura Paternoster