IPAF Harness Course has been given a category change

Published on 17.05.2023

The IPAF Harness course has been given a bit of a rework and instead of being awarded the IPAF Harness "H" category, you can now

New Category Codes for Harness Courses;

Does Harness Training now take a full day?

In most cases, no. The three new courses are tailored to individual candidate’s requirements and in most cases, the duration of harness training is just over three hours, as previously.

For over 95% of candidates who previously took the original singular IPAF Harness Training Course, it was not necessary for then to learn how to conduct periodic statutory Inspections, and for most candidates it is still not necessary. (This part of the course has now been separated now forms the basis of the HI course content.)

The majority of candidates need only take the first two harness courses – the HA Course which is theory-only and the HU Course which is practical-only.

Only a small number of candidates need to conduct periodic statutory inspections as part of their role and would need to take all three Harness Courses. An additional three hours would be required for the third, HI Course. For the minority of candidates who have the responsibility of inspecting their company’s personal fall protection equipment (PFPE) and maintaining inspection records (including those required by law), the HI Course delivers more comprehensive training building on what candidates learned and demonstrated in the HA and HU Courses. The HI Course must be taken in-person, at a Training Centre, led by an instructor, with a duration of half a day.

The only time a full day may be required would be if a candidate who needed to learn how to conduct periodic statutory Inspections wished to take all three harness courses in-person at an IPAF Approved Premises. However, it is easily achievable to complete the HU and HI course in half a day.

Do candidates have to take a harness training course before taking the MEWP Operator course?
No. Instructors are competent to supervise novice operators in the use of a harness during the MEWP Operator Course without the candidate having taken the HA course.

If a candidate does not want or need a separate harness qualification, they do not need to take any harness training courses prior to the MEWP Operator course.

If someone has a current Harness qualification and they wish to take the new courses, which course should they do?

Each course is tailored to candidates’ requirements and there are different learning outcomes for each course. For e.g. a safety manager who doesn’t need to use/wear a harness only need take the Harness Awareness Course (HA).
Someone who uses/wears a harness will need to complete the Harness Awareness Course (HA) followed by the Harness User Course (HU).

Only those who need to conduct periodic inspections of other people’s harnesses need to take all three courses, including the final Harness Inspector Course (HI).

How long is each of the new courses?

HA – half a day, theory-only training, can be taken as eLearning or in-person.
HU – short, practical-only, can be completed within an IPAF MEWP Operator Training Course for 1B or 3B type machines. Must be completed in-person.
HI – half a day. Must be completed in-person.

N.B. HA and HU can be taken together in sequence, in one day at an IPAF approved premises. Equally if a person has completed HA through eLearning HU and HI can be completed in sequence in half a day.

Can the Harness Awareness Course (HA) also be Instructor-led (in-person / classroom-based), as well as eLearning?

Yes. This is a theory-only course which can be taken in-person by the candidate as Instructor-led at a Training Centre, if desired. The creation of the eLearning format for this course is to increase flexibility for Training Centres so they can offer candidates the option that works best for them.

Do candidates have to take each course within a maximum timeframe between each course?

There is no requirement to complete the next level Harness Course within any timeframe, however the preceding qualification must not have expired when the candidate takes the next course.

Do the new courses supersede the current harness course?

When will the current harness qualification become invalid?

All current harness qualifications will remain valid until expiry.

If someone has a PAL Card (for MEWP Operator training), do they need to take the new Harness courses?

No, but they may wish to upskill and add Harness qualifications to their PAL Card. IPAF qualified operators wishing to become a harness inspector must complete the Harness Inspector (HI) Course, having first passed the Harness Awareness Course (HA) and the Harness User Course (HU).

Can someone who has not completed Harness Awareness Course (HA) take the Harness User Course (HU) as part of the MEWP Operator Course?

No. The HA Course must have been passed prior to taking the HU Course even if incorporated into the MEWP Operator Course. The best way of achieving this is for the HA Course to be assigned to the candidate as eLearning at the same time they book their MEWP Operator Course. The HA Course must have been passed prior to them taking the practical section of the MEWP Operator Course and cannot be taken after the practical training.

What is the duration of each course?

Durations are as follows:
HA 2 to 3 hours (theory only)
HU 15 minutes (practical only)
HI 3 hours (practical only)

N.B. The HU course involves simply assessing the candidate’s ability to physically apply what they learned in the HA course: donning the harness and adjusting it correctly, attaching to the correct MEWP anchor point, and adjusting the lanyard to achieve restraint. This could be a very short session, but of course, some candidates may need extra time to master this. This requirement remains the same as for the current MEWP Operator Course.

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