In response to the further easing of lockdown restrictions, HAE EHA (Hire Association Europe and Event Hire Association) is to restart SafeHire Certification audits to help get the industry back on its feet - in line with recovery strategies of the UK governments and the Republic of Ireland.
HAE EHA took the decision to resume safety audits as construction workers and those involved in the hire sector make their way back to work, though to address members' concerns a 'Point of Work Risk Assessment' will be conducted to ensure that there is an agreed and safe method of conducting the audit process.
During the coronavirus pandemic, HAE EHA had provided a three-month extension to members who's SafeHire Certification had expired or was about to expire. Now that many businesses in the tool, plant and equipment hire sector are reopening their operations for customers, the team at HAE EHA is urging members to book dates for audits as the service resumes as near to normal as possible.
The trade association's Director of Certification Services, Carl Bartlett, acknowledged that things will have to be done differently for the foreseeable future but the need to provide the safest possible working environments when hire operations reopen is crucial for a sector that plays such a vital role in the wider UK economy.
He added: "In order that we continue to support our members to maintain the highest of standards in the hire and rental industry we are recommencing our audit services from July. We will of course observe any safety requirements implemented within an organisation and communicate these to our team whilst conducting the desktop and site audits."
In response to the interruption of services due to Covid-19 the association has been hosting webinars and produced updated practical guidance for hire centres which can be accessed through the HAE EHA website.
HAE's SafeHire Certification Scheme was formalised into a private standard by the British Standards Institute, and HAE is now working to raise awareness of the SafeHire scheme at local and national governmental levels.
In order for hire firms to achieve certification, participation in the SafeHire scheme requires that businesses are inspected annually and everything from paperwork, day-to-day operations, staff training and environment is checked for continued compliance with the scheme's rigorous standards.
SafeHire Certification allows customers to approach event, tool and plant hire companies with confidence, as it proves a firm's competence in upholding high standards in health, safety, environment and quality of equipment as well as a well-trained workforce to support customers as fully as possible.
For more information visit www.hae.org.uk/safehire.