PAL cards go Smart - January 2015
In a move that aims to improve site safety, all PAL cards issued from 1 January 2015 will be machine-readable ‘smart’ cards. This will further ensure that only trained operators can use mobile elevating work platforms (MEWPs) and mast climbing work platforms (MCWPs) on site.
The Smart PAL Card is marked by a wireless icon and has a chip embedded in it. Key data is stored on the card, such as the operator name, number and categories trained in. This information is also printed on the card, meaning the Smart PAL card can still be used as a standard version where no card reader is available.
The data in the chip can be read by a card reader fitted to the machine about to be used. The reader can be set up to accept certain data (e.g. level of training, machine categories) which in turn will allow the machine to be operated - meaning that the machine can be programmed to start only if the operator has had the correct training. Site managers can also use the system to ensure that only correctly trained operators can operate MEWPs or MCWPs. They can also track who has used which machine for how long, and prevent fraudulent use.
“It is not compulsory to fit card readers on machines and the PAL Card is a recognised qualification on many job sites,” said IPAF CEO Tim Whiteman. “The smartcard technology brings more options and opens up possibilities to make machine access safer and machine use more secure.”