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Executive Report : Alliance for hire
The Hire Trade Alliance is set for a re-launch in the Spring, and plans to offer a range of services for smaller independent hire companies. Alan Guthrie reports.
While compliance with Health & Safety legislation and other regulations is obviously an essential requirement for any business, it can prove onerous and time-consuming especially for smaller companies with fewer resources and which do not have staff with the necessary technical knowledge and experience to implement and monitor the process.
It is this kind of operation that the Hire Trade Alliance (HTA) is targeting. It is being re-launched this spring by Tony Pilkington, who is MD of Halifax-based TAG Tool Hire (which this year is celebrating its tenth anniversary) and its sister business, TAG Safety, although the HTA will be run independently of both these operations.
“TAG Safety was formed in 2011 to meet the training needs of our hire customers, including contractors and tradesmen,” Tony Pilkington told EHN. “We achieved accreditations to deliver training from organisations such as CITB, IOSH and UKATA, as well as offering short courses for site supervisors and in areas like Health & Safety awareness and we also operate a test centre for the CSCS card scheme. Obviously, not every hire business has access to this sort of experience and this is what we can draw on in the HTA, which we bought back in 2015 and are now in a position to develop.
Knowledge and experience
“The HTA, which was originally established in 1997 to represent the interests of independent hirers, offers training courses, regular information bulletins, e-learning modules and other initiatives that we can build on. We are not aiming to compete with other trade organisations and we believe that our knowledge and experience will be invaluable in helping smaller hire businesses, offering a range of services in a very cost-effective way as a one-stop shop.”
On joining, members will be visited by HTA personnel to carry out a comprehensive risk management audit of their premises and work activities as part of their subscription fee. “The members will be visited by NEBOSH qualified assessors and the audit action plan will be created by a qualified lead auditor,” said Tony Pilkington. “Membership will include access to professionally qualified HTA staff at all times, including technical assistance.
“Each member will have access to their own portal on the HTA website where they can initially upload the documents and procedures they already have in place, so we can check in advance how well they meet the requirements. We can then send them other guidance, templates and updates via the portal so they can access them as necessary. We will tailor everything to their needs rather than just using generic documents.
“We will look at other areas of operations such as members networking and training. The HTA will also offer Terms & Conditions and a Code of Conduct that members can use. If there is a requirement for additional training, we can offer this through TAG Safety, which we already do for a number of tool and equipment hirers throughout the country.”
Other HTA services will include insurance through a preferred supplier which has an understanding of the tool and plant hire industry’s needs, regular bulletins giving advice on Health & Safety updates, developments in employment law and other regulations. Advice will also be available over the phone and via the internet.
“We believe the HTA can play an important role in providing an essential, value-for-money service for smaller hire businesses,” said Tony Pilkington. “With our existing experience in training and safety, we can provide up-to-date, competent resources and point people in the right direction when they have a new requirement. Members will also appreciate that we understand their situation because we have a hire background, too. Indeed, after completing the Ironman endurance triathlon in 2018, which took hard work, perseverance, and a belief in myself to see the job through, these are the qualities I’m bringing over to the HTA.” •