This week marks the one year anniversary of Boris Johnson’s address to the nation where he told the British public to stay at home to help prevent the spread of Covid-19. Two further lockdowns later, the ‘high street’ remains empty, 2 metre social distancing is still in place, face masks continue to be mandatory and we still can’t hug our friends and family. With all this in mind, we are left to reflect on what has been one of the most difficult years in our country’s history as we try to prevent the number of Covid-19 related deaths exceeding 150,000.
In the wake of easing lockdown restrictions, HAE EHA provided support in the fight to prevent the spread of coronavirus and assist the construction industry and hire sector’s recovery.
HAE EHA regularly contacts members to keep up-to-date with how the national and regional restrictions are impacting their business activities in terms of staffing, logistics, government support etc. As a trade body for the hire industry we then lobby ministers, UK and Devolved Nations government officials on the contribution of the hire sector in supporting essential public services, or the plight of the event supply sector which has been left unaided by various government schemes.
COVID-19 WEEKLY UPDATES
HAE EHA has produced regular Covid-19 updates, helping members stay up-to-date with coronavirus during these challenging times. The updates contain information on Covid-19, its impact on the plant, tool and event equipment hire sectors, and links to useful and important resources; which can be used by both businesses and individuals employed in the industry. The newsletters were originally issued bi-weekly, between April and July, and weekly from July onwards.
COVID-SECURE WORKING ENVIRONMENTS
As businesses remained open or began reopening for customers, HAE EHA focused its attention on implementing appropriate measures to minimise the spread of infection, including social distancing and hygiene arrangements. The association hosted Covid-19 Safety Guidance webinars, developed e-learning modules and created five industry related Covid-19 Social Distancing Practical Safety Guidance documents, offering practical information and guidance on areas specific to the hire industry.
Practical Guidance for Hire Centres https://bit.ly/3sn8WBD
Event Hire Practical Guidance https://bit.ly/2CjY7Lo
Cleaning Portable Dehumidifiers https://bit.ly/3vRWID4
Cleaning Portable Evaporative Coolers https://bit.ly/3vXFCnf
Cleaning Portable Air Conditioning Units https://bit.ly/3slf8Kg
MAINTAINING THE HIGHEST STANDARDS
HAE EHA maintained its SafeHire Assessment of regulatory compliance during the pandemic by supporting members with Covid-19 Safety Guidance, Covid-19 Safe Checklists and providing a SafeHire Remote Audit programme to ensure members maintain the highest standards throughout lockdown. As we move into a new phase of easing lockdown restrictions, and supporting a safe return to work, HAE EHA is adjusting its focus to include the return of face-to-face SafeHire Certification Audits from Monday 12th April. Be rest assured that audits will be conducted in line with social distancing regulations and government guidelines in place at that time.
SafeHire Auditors are responsible for carrying out a Point of Work Risk Assessment to ensure that an agreeable and safe method of conducting the audit process is determined at the outset. The auditor observes all Health and Safety control measures implemented by member organisations and communicates with the audit team whilst conducting SafeHire desktop and site audits.
NEW PARTNERSHIPS FORMED
Strength from adversity results in an outcome that brings worth and value. HAE EHA’s strength is its members, its customers, and its people. The HAE EHA team is working harder than ever to support members and has been proactive in creating new partnerships.
1. Safety Schemes in Procurement (SSIP)
HAE EHA announced in December how SafeHire Certification Scheme achieved SSIP status, as a Registered Member, aligning the hire industry’s standard with the government backed construction pre-qualification document PAS 91. The new partnership creates an improved benefit for members who not only demonstrate SafeHire compliance but also SSIP approval, reducing duplication and demands on suppliers, who have multiple certifications to different schemes, saving both time and money.
2. New Safety Guidance Leaflets Available from Print on Demand
HAE EHA’s Technical Health and Safety (THS) Panel has created four new safety guidance leaflets by pooling their knowledge of the equipment sector and taking on board member feedback to produce the new guidance. The new safety guidance leaflets cover the following types of equipment:
3. Hire Blended Learning Qualifications
HAE EHA’s new partnership with Arden University to facilitate the degree element of the Careers in Hire programme. Arden University challenges traditional conventions in higher education through offering a digital-first approach to study. Their programmes are delivered online and co-created with industry employers and partner organisations. Arden University offers degree and masters programmes to learners in over 150 countries around the world.
A key element to support members access to funding for their employees is through the HM Government’s Apprenticeship Levy. Whether an organisation pays the Levy to HMRC or not, they are able to utilise funding raised in the UK to support apprenticeships. Unlike in previous years, apprenticeships vary from the traditional Level 2 entry programmes through to Level 7 senior management. The Apprenticeship Levy will support the majority of costs for employers engaging their employees on such programmes. With this in mind, there are two programmes in particular that HAE EHA is excited about announcing alongside Arden University. The first is the Level 6 Chartered Manager Degree Apprenticeship (CMI Accredited). The second is the Level 7 Senior Leader Apprenticeship plus MBA. Both receive support from the Government.
4. Specialist Cleaning for Covid-19 Control
One of the areas missing from HAE EHA’s Practical Guidance documents was a trusted partner who could assist the hire industry with both responsive cleaning and undertaking planned cleaning services. HAE EHA is pleased to announce a new partner for specialist Covid-19 cleaning and infection control, SafeGroup.
SafeGroup holds a wide range of certifications inducing Acclaim Accreditation, Achilles, Altius, CHAS, Constructionline and SafeContractor. They have significant experience across a wide range of areas which include Covid-19 services such as Electrostatic Disinfection and Ultraviolet Decontamination.
HAE EHA continues to support members in the recovery from the pandemic and adjust to a new way of working… one year on, we are proud and stronger.