Serious Labs won an International Award for Powered Access (IAPA) for a significant innovation in the use of digital technology: the ability to renew a Powered Access License (PAL) Card through a virtual reality (VR) simulator, without touching a physical machine.
"This is a milestone, not only for Serious Labs, but for the industry as a whole,” said Jim Colvin, CEO, Serious Labs. “Now available for the first time by VR simulator, operators may renew their operating licenses. Our training scenario is mapped to IPAF's highest standards and makes PAL Card renewals more convenient and accessible."
According to IAPA co-organiser Access International, the judges praised Serious Labs’ program to update its VR simulator. "The in-depth and time-consuming work created a real life-like scenario, which makes renewing a PAL Card using the simulator safe and practical."
Over a period of 18 months, Serious Labs conducted rigorous side-by-side testing in partnership with several leading IPAF training centres seeking to create a near-exact match between simulator and human assessment. The efforts resulted in a 97% predictive match for scoring and a 100% match for pass/fails during the final trial. Approval by IPAF's General Council in September 2021 unlocked a new digital avenue to recertification and provided training centres, employers, and operators with a new option for renewing their licenses.
Serious Labs' technical partners during the trial period included the contractors Laing O'Rourke, Skanska, Sir Robert McAlpine, and Keltbray, along with the joint venture groups working on the HS2 high-speed rail project and Hinkley Point. The contractors supplied a range of team members of varying experience levels to participate, ensuring a broad, representative sample of the MEWP operator population. Instructors assessed them using the simulator alongside real MEWPs. Participating IPAF training centres included Riwal Germany, Mateco, Gerken, ALS Safety Wembley, Premier Platforms, Select Training, and CDC Training.
IPAF has issued over two million PAL Cards worldwide, and its operator training is recognized in over 51 countries. PAL Cards typically need to be renewed every five years.
Serious Labs is seeing growing adoption of its MEWP VR, showing that it meets an industry need while providing a variety of desirable benefits.