In the wake of the UK Government continuing to ease lockdown restrictions, HAE EHA (Hire Association Europe and Event Hire Association) is continuing to its support to hire companies in the fight to prevent the spread of COVID-19 and assist the construction industry’s recovery from the impact of the pandemic.
In response to COVID-19, the association is hosting webinars and has produced guidance notes for hire centres, all of which can be accessed through its website. The guidance documents are regularly updated to reflect the changing situation, based on current government information and Construction Leadership Council advice. Approved by HAE EHA’s Health and Safety Technical panel, the information will also form part of the HAE EHA SafeHire Certification Scheme, the risk assessment for members.
With many businesses in the Tool, Plant, and Equipment hire sector either remaining open or reopening their operations for customers, implementing appropriate measures to minimise the spread of infection, including social distancing and hygiene arrangements, is essential.
The trade association’s Director of Certification Services, Carl Bartlett - the document’s author - explained that it provides guidance to members, when implementing the government directives to counter coronavirus. The directives will present challenges on time and resources of organisations, especially during the economic downturn.
He explained: “From an educational and trading point of view things are going to be very different. People will need time to adjust and become accustomed to a new way of working. The cost of staggered shift patterns, plexiglass screens to protect staff, new directional signage to promote social distancing and upgrading sanitation facilities will all add to the financial strain on businesses.”
HAE EHA members are already familiarising themselves with the ‘new normal’ and have been seeking advice on practical issues like handling returned hired and saleable equipment and whether they should be disinfecting these items. The association’s guidance on this is 48 hours for quarantining saleable items and accessories with the timelines for quarantining tools and machinery being kept in line with government guidance but advising members to consult with manufacturers before spraying equipment with cleaning agents, as this could be detrimental or even damaging.
Bartlett concluded: “As an association we are trying to be proactive by offering good solid guidance to support members, pertinent to business operations during the current crisis, so that it gives them a starting point with all of the aspects they must consider when they carry out their risk assessment. The emphasis is on supporting people not with rules, but guidance specific to their situation.”
HAE EHA’s coronavirus guidance takes into account the different strategies of the devolved UK governments and feedback has been so good that the document has been uploaded by Build UK as well as reproduced in the Republic of Ireland and adopted by the Hire and Rental Industry Association (HRIA) in Australia.