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Raising logistics issues

17 October 2018

Ross Moloney, CEO of The Lifting Equipment Engineers Association (LEEA), reviews key developments in the lifting industry as the association aspires to not only play a leading role in the sector’s sustainability but also to increase its influence in terms of statutory regulations.

Wherever you look at logistics operations within a supply chain, smooth operation depends on being able to lift. Maritime and port cranes lift cargo on ships and bring it to shore at docks. Further into multimodal operations, cranes will be used at railheads. Hoists commonly lift goods inside the warehouse, particularly in facilities supporting manufacturing plants and servicing centres. Then there are the stacker cranes running up and down the aisles of automated storage and retrieval systems. Their numbers are increasing as labour costs rise and the need for fast order fulfilment increases.

Reliability leading to minimised downtime is the key to efficiency, but it is safety that is paramount in any lifting operation, and this is the key perennial issue facing the sector.

One of the best ways for logistics operations to mitigate the risk of an inspection by the Health and Safety Executive is to look out for the LEEA logo when procuring lifting equipment or supporting services. This shows that the service provider is a member of the Lifting Equipment Engineers Association – which is established across the globe as the leading representative body for all those involved in the lifting industry worldwide. As a member, the provider has undergone a rigorous auditing process to uphold Lea’s ‘gold standard’ and provide customers with the assurance of excellence. 

LEEA has three strategic priorities: to help our members identify and manage risk; to protect and promote our members’ interests and, finally, to provide our members with a competitive advantage. The overarching philosophy is to provide a signal to markets, such as logistics, that our members, having gone through the LEEA Audit, have evidence of their dedication to best quality, best practice and best standards.

LEEA Audit

Unlike other assessments, The LEEA Audit does not just provide a snapshot of compliance and competence at a moment in time. It provides a development mechanism that ensures that each and every LEEA member rapidly achieves, and maintains, the highest international standards. It shows they meet, and often exceed, the requirements of local laws and regulations. Members, their customers, and their regulators can thus be assured that high, verifiable and sustainable safety standards are being adhered to.

The Audit provides reassurance to the many tens of thousands of ‘duty holders’ who bear responsibility for the safe design, maintenance and operation of the lifting equipment their firm buys, hires or contracts in, often with little personal knowledge of the subject. Through using an audited LEEA member, they gain a guarantee that those aspects of their responsibilities have been faithfully and professionally discharged.


Like other industries, the Lifting Equipment sector is challenged by massive changes in the world of work and needs to recruit new talent to ensure its sustainability. 

LEEA is doing its bit. LiftEx 2018, the association’s free-to-attend annual flagship event that takes place at the Arena MK in Milton Keynes on 14-15 November, is geared to making a vital contribution to the industry’s sustainability by engaging with the next generation of talent into the sector. Through the participation of careers advisors, teachers, universities, colleges and regional boards, the event offers the ideal opportunity for encouraging young people into STEM careers in our sector.

This global gathering spans an enormous number of vertical segments, including: rail, construction, renewable energy, civil engineering, entertainment, road & maritime transport, health & safety, utilities, manufacturing and logistics.

On the evening of 14 November 2018, winners of the inaugural LEEA Awards 2018 will be announced and presented during the LiftEx 2018 Awards Dinner at the DoubleTree by Hilton Hotel, within the Arena MK complex. This new award scheme has been developed by the association to boost the profile of the lifting equipment industry through promoting the impressive work performed by our members. It will also encourage new recruits, contributing to safeguarding the sustainability of our industry.

Encouraging interest from recruits is one thing, but we also need to show them an open doorway into our industry. This is where our plans for apprenticeships fit in.


An apprenticeship is a mark of competence, which tries to broaden skills. Viewed as a pathway for learning, an apprenticeship can offer real value. In our specialised, safety critical industry, it is of paramount importance that we provide a recognised occupation and career progression pathway which will encourage newcomers as well as upskilling existing personnel. This will benefit our members through establishing a well-trained, sustainable workforce for the future, adding value and raising standards worldwide.

In July, LEEA’s team met with the Institute for Apprenticeships (IFA) to begin the process of developing an apprenticeship standard for the lifting equipment industry.

Having identified a gap in the apprenticeship scheme for the occupation of ‘Lifting Equipment Examiner’, LEEA will now be inviting its members to come together to form the necessary ‘trailblazer’ group, which will meet to work out what the sector actually needs from its future workforce.  

Interested members must be committed to take on apprentices in their own businesses and willing to contribute to the drafting of an occupation proposal, which will in the future form an apprenticeship standard. LEEA will facilitate the trailblazer group and be the conduit for communication with the IFA. 


The Derrick Bailes Scholarship is another scheme launched this year to support LEEA member organisations to build a more sustainable skills base for the future of the industry.

The scholarship aims to provide the opportunity for LEEA full members in our six regions of operation  (UK/EUROPE, AUSTRALASIA, AMERICAS, SE ASIA, MENA, and AFRICA) to select and nominate candidates whom they consider befitting to undertake initial training provided by LEEA via our Academy eLearning portal. 

The scholarship will be a 1-year programme, in which six selected candidates – one from each region – will be able to take up two eLearning courses currently provided by LEEA (Foundation and Lifting Equipment General), within the programme time scale. 

The fundamental aim of the scholarship is to provide an attractive opportunity to our membership to gain access to LEEA’s training, which will be free of charge.

Looking to the future

Organisations must have clear vision – a vision that supports clear delivery rather than one that is isolated from reality. LEEA has worked hard to bring our vision to life and aspires to have even greater influence and recognition as the authoritative body across the globe, with stakeholders, policy makers and governments seeking us out for advice.

And of course, we will continue to ensure our membership organisation remains the gold standard to end users in the logistics sector and other industries.

About LEEA

The Lifting Equipment Engineers Association (LEEA) is established across the globe as the leading representative body for all those involved in the lifting industry worldwide.

It is the respected and authoritative representative body for its members who work in every aspect of the industry, from design, manufacture, refurbishment and repair, through to the hire, maintenance and use of lifting equipment.

The Association has played a key role in this specialised field for over 70 years, from training and standards setting through to health and safety, the provision of technical and legal advice, and the development of examination and licensing systems.

LEEA represents its members at the highest levels across a range of both public and private bodies, including various government departments, as well as nationally and internationally recognised professional and technical institutions.