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To the next 75 years

06 January 2020

Ross Moloney, CEO of The Lifting Equipment Engineers Association (LEEA), reviews a year in which the association celebrated its past by creating initiatives to sustain the lifting industry’s future.

2019 will go down as the year the lifting industry stepped purposely into its future. It was the year when LEEA (The Lifting Equipment Engineers Association) celebrated its 75th anniversary year by looking ahead and taking steps that will contribute to the sector’s sustainability.

LEEA held its first meeting on 3 June 1944, when nine people, representing eight chain testing houses, met at the Great Eastern Hotel, near Liverpool Street Station in London. It was at this meeting that the idea to form an association to take on the might of government was conceived. The name they chose was ‘The London Chain Testers Association’, which would eventually go on change its name to the Lifting Equipment Engineers Association in 1988.

75 years later, LEEA held a Parliamentary Reception in the Palace of Westminster, hosted by Jonathan Djanogly, MP for Huntingdon, where leading members of the industry gathered to hear some the crucial measures being put in place with the aim of ensuring that we have the skills and talent to take us into the next 75 years.

Think Lifting

Like many sectors, the Lifting Industry needs to recruit new talent to ensure its future sustainability. Our industry needs to generate a louder buzz, pitch ourselves to younger people and provide an accessible pathway to enter our sector for those whose interest we attract. This starts with engaging with schools.

This is the premise behind LEEA’s Think Lifting schools engagement programme. It aims to bring the opportunities of entering the Lifting Industry to the attention of pre-option secondary school children (ages 11-13) through linking them to the local lifting sector. LEEA is providing interested members with a free suite of tools, including ‘experiments’, to provide demonstrations and also to allow pupils themselves to get involved in solving problems. There will also be videos introducing students to our occupation opportunities. 

Lifting Apprenticeship

By promoting the industry and its role in so many varied sectors, this programme will create further demand for the new apprenticeship, which has been under development throughout 2019. We expect, subject to the approval of the industry, the standard will be finally signed by November 2019.

The creation of an occupational apprenticeship standard will attract and maintain a new and much needed pool of talent by offering a pathway to progress, potentially, from little or no industry knowledge right up to working independently at an expert level. It will channel new skilled recruits into our sector, who are more in tune with a constantly evolving industry and its new materials, innovative ideas, better ways of doing things and the inclusion of modern technologies.

Because lifting is ubiquitous, this apprenticeship will have a breadth of scope that taps the shoulder of the many sectors where lifting is involved – including entertainment, medical, aeronautical, oil and gas, offshore, renewable energy, the military, construction, manufacturing and logistics. 

Military transition

A third initiative geared to the sustainability of our industry takes its name from LEEA’s 75th anniversary. The 75:75 programme is a multi-faceted idea to assist service leavers and veterans of the military into employment and help the lifting industry recruit exceptional new talent. 

The programme sees LEEA providing free training at foundation level to service leavers/veterans thus giving them a foot hold into the lifting industry.

Given a significant number of employees in the association itself are veterans of the military, then who better to engage with a pool of highly skilled and adaptable people? With this in mind, LEEA has contacted a number of supporting organisations for military service leavers and veterans, including the Career Transition Partnership (CTP), The White Ensign Association (WEA) and the REME Association Job Agency (RAJA).

LEEA’s aspiration for this project is to train 75 personnel who are service leavers or veterans by the end of 2019. Running in tandem with this training, we hope to achieve 75 job placements with either LEEA members or other organisations in the lifting industry that are interested in employing people who have considerable and unparalleled life skills and will have already achieved the initial necessary training requirement for the lifting industry.

Safety: important in the past, present and future 

There can be no greater ingredient for a sustainable working environment than safety.

This was the message delivered by Karen McDonnell, Occupational Health and Safety Policy Adviser at RoSPA (Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents), and also past President of the Institute of Occupational Safety and Health, at LEEA’s parliamentary reception held in July. 

RoSPA’s ethos mirrors the future direction being cultivated by LEEA during our 75th anniversary year. With the new apprenticeship being a big part of that direction we must be mindful of the creating a healthy and safe environment for recruits into the lifting sector. As Karen McDonnell pointed out, there is an upsurge in apprenticeship numbers across industry, but while providing opportunity we need to ensure the new generation of recruits are not having the same old accidents.

The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) ‘Workplace fatal injuries in Great Britain, 2019’ publication features provisional RIDDOR (Reporting of Injuries Diseases and Dangerous Occurrences Regulations) figures for 2018/19 that will be finalised in July 2020. It shows that 25% of fatal injuries in 2018/19 were to workers aged 60 and over, even though such workers made up only around 10% of the workforce. The rate of fatal injury increases with age. Almost all the main industry sectors show an age gradient in fatal injury rate. 

We can look forward to the apprenticeship not only bringing young people into our industry but also acting as a conduit for delivering the new ideas and fresh thinking that will make our industry safer.

To help shape what’s coming down the line in terms of UK health and safety developments, LEEA will join RoSPA’s National Occupational Safety & Health Committee (NOSHC). This voluntary association of people, which is drawn from organisations representing a broad cross section of occupational safety and health interests, is an advisory committee, identifying ways and means of improving occupational safety and health and shapes RoSPA policy and key issues. 

Ultimately, LEEA’s aim is to support our members in delivering excellence when it comes to safety and sustainability in the global lifting industry.

About LEEA 

The Lifting Equipment Engineers Association (LEEA) is established across the globe as the leading representative body for all those involved in the lifting industry worldwide.

It is the respected and authoritative representative body for its members who work in every aspect of the industry, from design, manufacture, refurbishment and repair, through to the hire, maintenance and use of lifting equipment.

The Association has played a key role in this specialised field for over 70 years, from training and standards setting through to health and safety, the provision of technical and legal advice, and the development of examination and licensing systems.

LEEA represents its members at the highest levels across a range of both public and private bodies, including various government departments, as well as nationally and internationally recognised professional and technical institutions.