Growth and success

25 October 2023

2023 has seen continued growth and success for the Association of Loading and Elevating Equipment Manufacturers (ALEM).

SINCE ITS formation, ALEM has represented the interests of UK manufacturers and suppliers of loading bay equipment, including dock levellers, scissor lifts, loading ramps and vehicle restraints to UK government, the Health and Safety Executive, BSI and all other relevant organisations.

ALEM is committed to raising standards in all aspects of its industry from design, installation and maintenance for the full product life cycle. This can be seen through the three major initiatives undertaken by ALEM during 2023 and further action that will be taken during 2024.

The first of these is the successful collaboration with the Door & Hardware Federation (DHF) to launch the Level 2 Award in Dock Leveller safety during October 2023. The course is presented by the DHF’s Training & Compliance Officer, Steve Hill, and comprises six units and a multiple-choice exam. The Level 2 Award can be formally accredited through ABBE. Further information is available via the ALEM website

“ALEM identified the need for a dock leveller safety training course and together, we have collaborated to develop and deliver this one-day course,” says ALEM’s president, Richard Spinks. “We approached DHF because of their experience in course development and delivery of training courses associated with industrial doors. The synergy between dock levellers and industrial doors made it the natural choice to form a long-standing relationship.” To book, please visit the DHF website:


A systematic review of EN1398, which is the standard for dock levellers, is due in 2024. ALEM members have formed a working group to establish a list of reasons why the standard needs to be reviewed and what changes are required.

The second initiative involves ALEM working with the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) to provide guidance and support to its members on the marking requirements of refurbished/modified goods. ALEM works closely with the HSE, and a representative from the HSE attends every ALEM meeting to provide guidance and advice to ALEM members.

The third initiative is ALEM’s participation in the UK Equipment & Machinery Industry Forum (UKEMIF). The forum was established to provide members of UK trade associations a collective voice when liaising with government departments over regulatory issues following the UK’s decision to exit the EU. There are 17 different trade associations that are members of the forum. The forum meets regularly with representatives from the Department for Business and Trade (DBT), HSE and DfT, thereby providing a means of exchanging information and obtaining advice from relevant government officials and technical experts. Q&A sessions with the DBT also provide members with a means of seeking further information from government on regulatory matters and issues within industry following government announcements. This exchange of information has been extremely useful especially with the announcement of the indefinite acceptance of the CE mark for goods placed on the UK market beyond December 2024. 

Going forwards, the forum’s interests will revolve around discussions with DBT over the UK’s position on the new Machinery Regulation which will apply from 20 January 2027 as well as the UK Product Safety Review consultation. Richard Spinks, ALEM President commented: “Participation in the UKEMIF provides our members with an opportunity for our industry sector to work alongside other Trade Associations. This ensures a collaborative voice to feed back to government from an industry perspective, highlighting the difficulties or issues facing our industry today and in the future.”

ALEM members are committed to supplying quality products that are in compliance with all relevant UK and European legislation, giving complete confidence to all customers. Again, the HSE continues to provide guidance and advice to our members. Additionally, ALEM members also benefit from participation in webinars organised by the British Materials Handling Federation (BMHF). 

Expert guidance from ALEM

As a member of the British Materials Handling Federation (BMHF), which itself is the UK national member of FEM - the European Federation of Materials Handling and Storage Equipment - ALEM has played an important role in various initiatives. These include the drafting of the new standard, EN1570-2 for lift tables, and introducing a Level 2 NVQ for Loading Bay Equipment, Installation or Maintenance which is needed to gain access to construction sites following the introduction of the CSCS card scheme. Integral to ALEM’s drive to encourage best practice, the FEM Elevating Equipment Product Group has published a series of guidance documents available to download from the FEM website:

Crucially, ALEM’s active participation in the BMHF and the FEM Product Group means that the Association remains at the forefront of any changes to Directives and Standards relating to the sector within Europe. 

One of the Association’s main aims is to make both industry and end users aware of the standards and regulations that must be followed in order to meet current UK and European legislation. Armed with this knowledge, and with the full support of the Health and Safety Executive, ALEM members are also much better placed to counter various threats to their businesses. These include cheaper, non-compliant, inferior and potentially unsafe equipment that can find its way to market from non-EU countries and, worryingly, from some UK companies that do not follow the rules. To become and remain a member of ALEM, a company must be committed to complying with the relevant European standards, the UK Supply of Machinery (Safety) Regulations and all other current legislation. 

Initiatives for 2023 AND 2024

  • Successful collaboration with the Door & Hardware Federation to launch Level 2 Award in Dock Leveller Safety
  • Systematic review of EN1398 standard for dock levellers in 2024
  • Joint initiative with the HSE to provide guidance on marking requirements of refurbished/modified goods
  • Participation in the UK Equipment & Machinery Industry Forum (UKEMIF) to liaise with government departments over regulatory issues following Brexit
  • Active participation in the British Materials Handling Federation (BMHF) and FEM