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IPAF Categories Explained

Course Details



Image result for ipaf smart card

  • Static Vertical (1a)
    • Vertical personnel platforms (static)
  • Static Boom (1b, 1b+) 
    • Self-propelled booms (outriggers), trailers/push-a rounds, 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 and other MEWP equipment
  • Other IPAF Courses available 
    • Harness Use and Inspection (H)
  • MEWPs for Managers (MM)
  • MEWPs for Managers (MM) eLearning 

The IPAF training and MEWP categories, with abbreviations and brief explanations, are:

1a: Static Vertical

IPAF 1a Static Vertical

These static vertical systems are vertical personnel and mobile elevating work platforms (MEWPs) that can be driven into position from the working platform when in the stowed position. Before elevating, outriggers, jacks or stabilisers will need to be deployed, so this MEWP equipment cannot be moved along the ground when elevated.

1b: Static Boom

Picture of IPAF trailer mount

Picture of IPAF van mount

Picture of IPAF truck mount

Picture of IPAF truck mount

These Static boom are highly effective and capable of outreach. They are able to be driven, towed or pushed into position. They can be mounted on road-tow able trailers, vans, trucks or self-propelled track-mount chassis. Before elevating, outriggers, jacks or stabilisers need to be deployed, so the mobile elevating work platforms (MEWP) cannot be moved along the ground when elevated.

3a: Mobile Vertical

IPAF 3a Scissor Lift

IPAF 3a Sigma Lift

Self propelled machines capable of vertical lift only (no significant outreach). Larger machines may have a maximum height restriction for driving - above this limit jacks need to be deployed which will prevent them from being driven along the ground (though these MEWPs are still classed as 3a machines). 3a machines can have scissor, sigma or vertical mast lift mechanisms.

3b: Mobile Boom

IPAF 3b Articulated Boom

Picture of IPAF self propelled boom

Self-propelled booms which can be driven when elevated. The 3b category includes articulated booms (which give 'up-and-over' outreach), and telescopic booms (which give 'line-of-sight' outreach).

PAV: Push Around Vertical MEWPs


Push around verticals have to be pushed into position, are only capable of vertical lifting, and cannot be moved along the ground when elevated. They can have scissor, sigma, or vertical mast lift mechanisms.

Operators holding a current IPAF PAL card with either a 1a or 3a category on it are permitted to operate PAVs and other forms of MEWP on receipt of familiarisation (no further formal training is required).

We provide our specialist IPAF training courses in our London, Essex and West Midlands training centres. Alternatively, we can provide off-site training at your premises, so contact us today to discuss your specific training requirements. 

IPAF - IPAF Categories Course Dates