Cutting accidents on site and improving recruitment are two of the key issues that Hire Association Europe (HAE) is focused on, by promoting its SafeHire Certification scheme and National Hire Week, to help members take advantage of an expanding construction industry in the UK.
According to recent industry statistics, the health of the construction industry is taking a turn for the better with the Construction Products Association forecasting an increase in activity in the infrastructure and housing sectors for the rest of 2018, while the number of construction firms in Great Britain increased by 6.2% in 2017 – reaching its highest level on record.
In contrast, this comes at a time when Health and Safety Executive figures show that thousands of construction workers suffer non-fatal injuries every year and some accidents, often preventable, even lead to the deaths of employees and the subsequent arrests of company directors.
Meanwhile, attracting the younger generation needed to fill careers in the tool, plant and equipment hire sector is behind the National Hire Week (October 9-13 2018) initiative launched by HAE to promote careers in the industry, which includes employee sponsored degree training as a better alternative to spending £20,000 per year to go to university.
HAE, the industry-leading trade association for plant and tool hire, is aiming to keep all employees safe by helping hire companies maintain the highest of safety standards to bolster the reputation of the hire firm itself within the sector, and to ensure that hired plant, tools and equipment used on construction sites is top quality – ultimately preventing dangerous situations from developing.
The association’s SafeHire Certification scheme is now well established and recognised within the industry as a rigorous audit procedure which ensures hire companies prove competence in many areas including safety, health, environment and provide high standards of support to those hiring any type of equipment. In fact, a growing number of national clients are instructing that their hire partners must be SafeHire certified in order to be considered for inclusion on preferred supplier lists.
Recently the scheme has seen a steady increase in the number of firms from the specialist tool and equipment sector signing up for Certification who then take the audit to have their competences ratified. This is an important condition of HAE membership.
SafeHire Certification brings differentiation to the suppliers’ market. It can be particularly helpful for SMEs to compete against the big names in the industry and marks them out as having met the toughest of standards – giving peace of mind to those looking to hire equipment for their projects. The scheme is seen as a great way of making hire companies reflect regularly on their own practices too.
HAE’s managing director, Graham Arundell, explains: “A key requirement of achieving SafeHire Certification is that businesses are audited every year to keep them on track. It invariably offers firms a chance to implement positive change to their business practices with the aim of improving standards year on year.
“Hazard recognition plays a key role in SafeHire Certification as well as companies showing that they are able to provide effective safety training for operators of the hired tools and equipment. If a contractor hires equipment from a firm with SafeHire Certification, they know they can have confidence in all aspects of that partnership.”
The SafeHire Private Standard has been developed with the assistance of HSE, BSi and CHAS and is playing a key role in keeping British and European construction workers safe on site. HAE takes its responsibilities towards best practice very seriously. Companies who choose to get involved in this industry-leading scheme will not only be playing a major role in maintaining the health and wellbeing of the workforce but will also be contributing to the efficiency and profitability of the industry as a whole.