Preventing a Repeat of Notre Dame Tragedy

Words: Dan Kamys

Preventing a Repeat of Notre Dame Tragedy

Preventing a Repeat of Notre Dame TragedyFollowing the recent fatality at the University of Notre Dame, where a student operating a scissor lift was killed when it was blown over by wind gusts, Tim Whiteman, managing director of the International Powered Access Federation (IPAF) says, “This is a horrible tragedy and our thoughts are with the family of the victim. I say victim, because this was a needless death that proper training should have prevented. Aerials provide the safest way of doing temporary work at height, but everybody in the industry needs to say loudly and clearly that untrained operators should never, ever operate aerials. Our deepest condolences go to everybody who cared about Declan Sullivan.”

To assist people in using and operating aerial devices safely and expand risk-management knowledge for use of these machines, the American Rental Association (ARA), the Association of Equipment Manufacturers (AEM), the Associated Equipment Distributors (AED), the International Powered Access Federation (IPAF) and the Scaffold Industry Association (SIA) have jointly released a “Statement of Best Practices of General Training and Familiarization for Aerial Work Platform Equipment.” This first-of-its-kind industry initiative clarifies what is required for general training and model-specific familiarization of aerial work platform (AWP) equipment. ??

It was launched in February 2010 and addresses:

  • Educating the industry on the industry-recognized-and-supported standards, including the American National Standards Institute/Scaffold Industry Association (ANSI/SIA) A92 Standards and the Occupational Safety & Health Administration (OSHA) regulations
  • Presenting best practices and minimum general training guidelines for AWP operators
  • Emphasizing the differences between general training and familiarization to all parties responsible
  • Clarifying minimum qualifications of the trainer.

This publication is available free of charge and can be downloaded at or by calling AWPT at 518-280-2486.

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