What is an IPAF Card and What Category Do I Need?

PAL certification scheme ensures that powered access equipment operatives have both skill and safety training by issuing IPAF cards specific to different types of equipment.


The IPAF Card is more properly called the PAL, which stands for Powered Access License. The PAL programme is run by the IPAF to ensure the safe and effective use of booms and powered access equipment on worksites all over the world. It is a not-for-profit organisation which represents the interest of its members, and acts as a forum for developing the safety procedures all powered access equipment operators use today.

Different Categories of IPAF Card

Your IPAF card will indicate which types of access equipment you are certified on, usually with a number and letter code in the card itself. For example:

1a – Static Vertical

This code on your PAL indicates that you are certified to operate static vertical personnel platforms. Static platforms can be moved into place, but cannot move under their own power, and should not be moved whilst occupied.

1b – Static Boom

This code indicates that you have training and certification on static boom platforms, including those mounted on vehicles, trailers, push-around mountings, or those mounted as self-propelled outriggers.

3a – Mobile Vertical

The 3a designation refers to mobile vertical platforms, such a scissor lifts, which can move under their own power.

3b – Mobile Boom

This refers to self-propelled mobile boom devices, which are typically piloted from the lift platform itself.

PAV – Push Around Vertical

This designation refers to push-around, non-powered vertical lift devices.


The ‘special’ designation indicates certification on one or more types of specialist machines, such as:

The PAL+ Course

All of the IPAF card types listed above can be awarded either with or without a ‘+’ (Static Boom 1b or 1b+, Mobile Boom 3b/3b+, etc. If the student has also successfully taken the PAL+ course, they are awarded the ‘+’ certification, listed on their IPAF card.

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