Graham Arundell, managing director at Hire Association Europe (HAE), said the HAE and Event Hire Association (EHA) SafeHire certification scheme had received strong support from the UK rental industry, with 2050 depots around the country expected to be certified at the end of 2016.
The SafeHire standard is a certification formed in association with the British Standards Institution (BSI), Health and Safety Executive (HSE) and Contractors Health and Safety Assessment Scheme (CHAS).
Several large rental companies, including Hire Station, Hirebase, Travis Perkins and Speedy Hire, have already gone through the audit process for certification. SafeHire is currently an option for existing HAE EHA members, but will become a prerequisite of membership as of 1 January, 2018.
“We see SafeHire as an opportunity for our members and the hire industry as a whole to improve safety and efficiency,” Mr Arundell said.
“The certification is a cost-effective and scalable way of gaining independent verification that rental companies are running well-maintained equipment and providing a safe place to work.”
Scott Ball, national workshop quality manager for Hire Station, has been working to bring the company’s processes in line with those set by SafeHire.
“I’ve been looking after SafeHire certification for nearly three years, looking specifically at machinery quality and maintenance,” he said.
“Our own internal practices have always been thorough, but the benefit of the SafeHire audit is that it often picks up things that we may have overlooked ourselves.”
Mr Ball added that SafeHire allowed the industry to share best practise, and also allowed Hire Station to improve its own internal audit process.
Mr Arundell concluded, “To date, awareness of SafeHire has largely been limited to our own membership. The next step is to widen awareness of certification to the end user, so that people start recognising who we are and what certification means for the industry.”
He said a key element to reaching HAE EHA’s goal for SafeHire certification would be inclusion as part of procurement tenders.
He said this was something that was already gaining traction in the UK, with a number of rental companies reporting that national clients were starting to instruct that their rental partners must be SafeHire certified in order to be considered on preferred supplier lists.
HAE and its sister company EHA is a joint-trade body representing equipment, tool and event rental companies. It has 900 members in the UK, Europe and around the world.