Boom Lift Permit: all you need to know

A mobile elevating work platform (MEWP) is a safe way to lift people working at height. However, these lifting devices must only be handled by trained and authorized persons, in compliance with the rules of use and with the authorized CACES PEMP (in France – Certificat d’Aptitude à la Conduite En Sécurité) or with the license issued by the IPAF (PAL card: Powered Access License).

Permit for MEWP or PEMP, choose the PAL CARD

What is a PAL Card?

A PAL Card is a Powered Access Licence for operating Mobile Elevating Work Platforms (MEWPs), Mast Climbing Work Platforms (MCWPs) or Construction Hoists (CHs). To qualify for a PAL Card, operators must complete an IPAF training course and pass a test at an IPAF-approved training centre. This training must be updated every five years.

Over 51 countries accept the PAL Card recognition of high-quality operator training, with over-750 IPAF-Approved Training Centre’s Worldwide. The IPAF PAL card is the most widely recognized training certificate at the international level.

Check operators' permits

IPAF offers a useful tool: an online search engine to check the authenticity of a permit. This tool is useful for safety managers on large construction sites who need to check operators’ permits.

The driving license

Furthermore, only people authorized by their employers can drive a boom lift. The driver must obligatorily follow the training leading to the driving authorization or the CACES certificate.

The employer is obliged to issue a driving license to his employees who drive MEWPs. To do so, he must ensure that they can drive safely, either through training to give a driving license or by presenting a valid CACES certificate or PAL card.

  • The CACES or PAL card is a certificate specific to the holder.
  • It will be valid in all the companies they work for.
  • The training for the driving authorization is specific to the company in which it was passed. In case of a change of employer, the training for the driving license must be repeated.
permit for driving a boom

The driving license is an internal document established by the head of the establishment or his representative, based on the following three conditions:

  • A medical aptitude test, carried out by the occupational physician, valid for two years.
  • A check of the operator’s knowledge and skills for the safe operation of the work equipment. The employer must ensure that the operator has followed certified training for the driving of lifting equipment and for which type of machine.

However, it is quite possible to provide this training in-house.

  • Knowledge of the location and instructions to be followed at the site(s) of use. The employer’s responsibility is to deliver the safety instructions specific to the company in writing and against the employee’s signature.

Following the evaluation on these 3 points, the employer can judge the ability of his employee to use lifting equipment in safety. He can then grant him the driving license specific to the category of the machine.

The validity of the driving license

The driving license is only valid for the activities of the company where it was issued. It is only used for specific intervention sites and a specified type of equipment.

The driving license is nominative and can be withdrawn at any time. It is used to verify that the operator has the aptitude and the capacity to drive the lifting equipment concerned.

It is given to employees who are of age and who are required to drive boom lifts. Its maximum period of validity generally corresponds to the duration of the assignment in the company. However, the period of validity also depends on two notions:

  • The medical aptitude issued by the occupational physician, which is generally valid for two years.
  • and the validity of the CACES or PAL card, which is five years.

Equipment types and permits

The type of permit or license required to drive a MEWP depends on the legislation in force in your country, and local standards. For MEWP and PEMP, the PAL card license recognizes 5 equipment classes:

  • Static Vertical (1a): Vertical personnel platforms (static)
  • Static Boom (1b, 1b+): Self-propelled booms (outriggers), trailers/push-arounds, vehicle-mounted platforms
  • Mobile Vertical (3a, 3a+): Scissor lifts, vertical personnel platforms (mobile)
  • Mobile Boom (3b, 3b+): Self-propelled booms
  • Push Around Vertical (PAV): Push around verticals
permits or licence depends of equipment type
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