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Commitment to standards

04 November 2022

2022 has seen continued growth and success for the Association of Loading and Elevating Equipment Manufacturers (ALEM).

SINCE ITS formation over 20 years ago, 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 2022.  

The first of these is the publication of prEN1570-1 Safety requirements for lifting tables - Part 1: Lifting tables serving up to two fixed landings. We are pleased to announce that the revisions to this standard have passed the formal vote and will be published as a standard by BSI before the end of the year. ALEM would like to acknowledge the involvement of Mr Tim Rose from Loading Bay Lifts, who sadly passed away this year, for all his hard work in the revision of this standard.

The revisions to the standard are based mainly on the following points which are embedded throughout the document:

  • A wholesale restructure of the document.
  • The inclusion of lifting tables in non-industrial applications Static Elevating Work Platforms (which fell into a gap between EN1570-1 & EN280) and lifting tables used in Skillet lines or Autonomous Ground Vehicles.
  • The ability to pass a fixed landing and to carry authorised persons when under operator control.
  • The introduction of rated and structural loads.
  • The replacement of EN 1570-1:2011+A1:2014, Table 3 – Lift installation safeguard requirements with new flow charts within Annex I – Guide to travel zone risks.
  • Where appropriate, risk of falling is now associated with the height of fall rather than the travel height of the machine.
  • Greater emphasis on protection of the public when the lifting tables are used in public accessible areas.
  • The reintroduction of boom barriers and clarity on interlocking and locking requirements for removable guardrails.
  • Locking of the lift table when at an upper fixed landing.
  • The relaxation of overload monitoring limits due to the lack of appropriate state-of-the-art equipment.
  • Restrictions on the use of pipe rupture protection devices in hydraulic systems.
  • The introduction of rigid / pusher chains and the removal of pneumatic drives.

The second project has involved working with the Door and Hardware Federation (DHF) to develop a training course covering dock levellers. It is anticipated that the course will be offered by the DHF, branded as an ALEM course, and be available by the end of 2022.

One-day course

The one-day course is aimed at those involved in the design, manufacture, installation or repair of dock levellers of all types. It is designed to provide a detailed insight into the relevant standards and levels of compliance required to achieve legal compliance on site. Those who require a more detailed understanding of the relevant legislation can enrol on the existing DHF level 4 qualification to provide this knowledge.

Bob Perry, DHF Chief Executive commented: ‘We are delighted to be working with ALEM on this training course. Both of our associations share the same goal of raising standards in our respective industries, particularly regarding product/ installation compliance and conformity. Many of the ALEM members are also members of the DHF and so they will already be familiar with the way our courses operate and delivered by our experienced Training and Compliance Officers. This qualification will provide a welcome addition to our existing portfolio of courses, filling an identified gap in the market.’

The third 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. Crucially, an HSE representative attended various ALEM meetings to participate in question and answer sessions.  

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 advise to our members. ALEM members also benefit from participation in webinars organised by the British Materials Handling Federation (BMHF). The most recent webinar covered the easement measures announced by the Department for Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy (BEIS) on UKCA marking of products placed on the GB market.

Expert guidance

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 will be needed in the future 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 - www.fem-eur.com/product-groups/elevating-equipment

Additionally, 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.