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A safer world of lifting

28 October 2021

Lifting is a fundamental aspect of materials handling and logistics throughout all supply chains. Ross Moloney encourages everybody in materials handling and logistics to open their eyes to the importance of lifting equipment and the role of safety.

LIFTING EQUIPMENT is everywhere and while we in the industry are aware of how vital lifting is to the smooth running of everyday life, there are too many that are not. Changing perceptions through celebrating the incredible role our industry already has and continues to play is one of the goals of Global Lifting Awareness Day (GLAD), which takes place annually in July, and is now established as an important industry-wide scheme. While promoting the continued successes in the Lifting Industry, GLAD also seeks help attract the next generation of recruits into this incredible sector and to highlight the ever-present battle by man, machine, systems and processes to overcome gravity and bad practice to achieve a safer industry.

We particularly need policy makers around the world to recognise and support the role lifting plays across numerous key industries and in improving health and safety at work. We want to remind end users how important it is to use high quality suppliers who utilise experience and high-quality training, and who routinely develop innovative solutions.

LEEA is the global trade association for the Lifting Industry, representing over 1200 members in more than 70 countries, and seeks to work with other organisations globally to spread the message of high standards and safety in lifting. In 2021, the Association and EKH (Erkende Keurbedrijven Hijs & Hefmiddelen) reached an agreement to ensure that the two organisations will work together more closely in the future, combining their high standards and extensive expertise to support each other’s membership. EKH is an umbrella organisation for lifting equipment inspection companies, with 65 members based in the Netherlands. Sharing similar values, the combination of lifting experts will produce a synergy to deliver their visions and drive the industry forward. This move is about putting together a network of partners who together can make the argument for enhanced standards worldwide, which is a crucial aspect of LEEA’s international approach.

In relation to activities involving lifting equipment, we see a vital need to educate company management about their responsibilities. Ignorance in relation to lifting can result in severe consequences beyond handicapping a company’s progress: an accident, a visit from health and safety inspectors and, ultimately, punishment. 

This is well understood by those who are hands-on with the equipment, who are aware not only of the risks involved but of their responsibilities driven by regulations. Indeed, LEEA’s training has traditionally been aimed generally at people who actually use, or are in proximity to, the equipment. But what about their leaders in end user markets? It is vital that leaders responsible for procuring lifting equipment and services in materials handling and logistics markets fully learn the risks, consequences and legal obligations. They should also be able to recognise what best practice looks like. 

LEEA has created a new course to educate Company Directors, Senior Managers and responsible persons where lifting equipment is used in a business. The Lifting Equipment End User Guidance course provides an essential insight to general legal responsibilities for lifting equipment for end user ‘Duty Holders’. The Duty Holder Is the person responsible for the lifting equipment in service within their company’s operation – they may be the employer or self-employed, a facility owner, the person in charge of the equipment, or a person in a hire company or service provider.

On completion of this short course, attendees will gain an underpinning knowledge of the legislative frameworks, standards and best practices applicable to owners and end users of lifting equipment and how equipment must be managed from procurement through to discard, its thorough examination requirements and record keeping. The course is available to both members (at members rate) and to non-members either face-to-face or via Zoom.

To concentrate directors’ minds it is worth noting that recent crane-related fatalities have resulted in multi-million pound fines, corporate failure, disbarment from being a director and in some cases jail sentences. So it is vital that Duty Holders are aware of all their legal responsibilities. They must ensure that those undertaking the tasks are suitably qualified, experienced, trained and equipped – in short, competent for their task. For external organisations, the Duty Holder must have procedures in place for vetting their competency. 

In addition, Duty Holders should recognise what best practice looks like so they can make it normal practice. A good first step is to download LEEA's latest and freely available COPSULE, which can be downloaded at leeaint.com. This is a recommended Code of Practice, providing expert guidance on safe lifting practice. It offers comprehensive guidance on safe lifting practice, authoritative information written by impartial industry experts, up to date industry practice and globally applicable guidance.

A final simple step for logistics and materials handling operations seeking to mitigate risk when procuring lifting equipment or supporting services is to look for the LEEA logo. This shows that the service provider is a member of the Lifting Equipment Engineers Association. To become an Association member, the provider will have undergone a rigorous auditing process to uphold LEEA’s ‘gold standard’ and provide customers with the assurance of excellence and compliance to standards and legislation. LEEA’s Audit process provides reassurance to the many tens of thousands of Duty Holders – often with little personal knowledge of the subject – who bear responsibility for safe design, maintenance and operation of the lifting equipment their firm buys, hires or contracts in. Through using an audited LEEA member, users of lifting equipment in materials handling and logistics operations gain a guarantee that those aspects of their responsibilities have been faithfully and professionally discharged.

Visit leeaint.com for further information and email events@leeaint for more on the Lifting Equipment End User Guidance course.

Ross Moloney, CEO, the Lifting Equipment Engineers Association (LEEA)

LEEA in 2022

For 2022, LEEA and the lifting industry looks forward to the return of LiftEx, with exhibitions taking place in Bahrain in March and then in October, when the exhibition returns to the UK in Aberdeen – the heart of the European oil sector. Annual events including the LEEA Awards and GLAD will continue to develop, as will key programmes such as the Military Transition Scheme and the Robert Gordon University degree award. We hope to see more Regional Councils to bring LEEA closer to more members around the world. We also anticipate more partnerships with global associations, increasing LEEA’s Technical Team, and adding further Regional Councils that will bring LEEA closer to its members around the globe.