Tuesday, June 22, 2021
On 8 July, the Lifting Equipment Engineers Association (LEEA) will once again lead the Global Lifting Awareness Day (GLAD), which was launched last year. It does what it says on the tin: GLAD—or #GLAD2021, as it will be promoted on social media—is an annual event intent on raising the profile of our industry.
It’s certainly a worthy cause and one that has a unique launchpad in that its first two installments are set against the backdrop of a global pandemic. How unfortunate, you might think, but I disagree. We have been given a priceless opportunity to sing from the rooftops about a marketplace that has remained operational—essential, even—during one of the most challenging chapters of modern history.
After all, how would we have survived the last 18 months without cranes, hoists, rigging gear and the expertise that ensures it has been applied safely?
Maria Hadlow, editor of Lifting & Hoist International (LHI) magazine, another stakeholder behind the concept, threw down the gauntlet in her latest column, in which she outlined four objectives. I too see them as challenges to participants. If these four boxes can’t be ticked, #GLAD2021 will go down as a missed opportunity:
She wrote: ‘1. To attract the next generation of recruits into this incredible [incredible is right, Maria] sector.
- To remind end users of how important it is to use high quality suppliers, which employ years of experience and high-quality training and, which routinely develop innovative and thoughtful solutions.
- To highlight to policymakers that we need them to recognise and support the role that the lifting industry plays across numerous key industries and in improving health and safety at work. Ask policymakers for support and recognition for the role we play.
- To celebrate the vital role our industry already has and continues to play.’
Maria went on to implore people to take to social media channels (LinkedIn, Twitter, Instagram, TikTok, Facebook, etc.) with content focussed on these four areas, along with the hashtag: #GLAD2021.
As Ross Moloney, CEO at LEEA, says: ‘Many industries have a skills shortage, and this is something that has to be solved to keep the economy growing. In our sector it is a subject we make no apologies for returning to, given how vital it is for our industry’s future sustainability. There are encouraging signs of a positive improvement in the ability for engineering to attract new generations, not least that more young people are taking science, technology, engineering, and maths (STEM) subjects at university than ever before, according to UCAS [the UK’s Universities and Colleges Admissions Service].’
He continues: ‘The historical gender imbalance looks to be changing also. Between 2011 and 2020, the number of women accepted onto full-time STEM undergraduate courses increased by 50.1% in the UK. Within the same period, the proportion of women entering full-time undergraduate courses taking STEM subjects increased from 33.6% to 41.4%.’
This is positive energy that we need to dovetail with. It’s actually a perfect time to promote the lifting industry. And LEEA, it seems, is keen to make it count. The association’s Calendar of Content, for example, has been promoting what companies, organisations and individuals are doing to champion our work. Further, many are using the platform to share what they’re GLAD about. In other words, what makes their job exciting and why other people should consider lifting as a career path. Messages from industry will be punctuated by live and recorded content from LEEA and its technical team.
I’m looking forward to seeing LEEA’s short introduction to the association and an animated film explaining the Code of Practice for the Safe Use of Lifting Equipment (COPSULE). I highlight this as a #GLAD2021 cornerstone because one of the problems the industry has is presenting itself as an exciting, specialist market. If it wasn’t a field for expert engineers, why would COPSULE need to be 400+ pages long, each one bristling with best practice guidance?
More broadly, COPSULE is a recommended code of practice, providing expert guidance on safe lifting practice. It offers:
Comprehensive guidance on safe lifting practice
Authoritative information written by impartial industry experts
Current, up to date industry practice
Globally applicable guidance
The code is a practical guide covering manual and power operated lifting machines and structures, such as overhead travelling cranes and runway structures, together with a wide range of below-the-hook equipment, from general purpose slings and lifting accessories, to the various types of vacuum and magnetic lifters. Its contents will be found useful in devising safe working practices for anyone using lifting equipment, as well as providing all the information necessary for safety training in this critical area of activity at work.
Importantly, COPSULE explains what is meant by a ‘competent person’, which is a core component given that, in essence, #GLAD2021 is setting out to find the next generation of competent people. Current legislation, as we know, uses the term for a variety of duties to describe a person with the necessary practical and theoretical knowledge, experience, training, skill, and ability to perform the specific duty to which the requirement refers.
Understanding that allows us to recognise why thorough examination, also known as periodic inspection or thorough inspection, is a visual examination of the lifting equipment carried out by a competent person.
Another target audience for #GLAD2021 and ongoing LEEA efforts is the military. The way LEEA supports military leavers into the civilian workforce has been refined to make it easier for members to recruit from this pool. The Military Transition Scheme (MTS) offers a free foundation certificate e-learning course to all serving members of the armed forces in any region globally. Veterans and reservists have already proven to be a great fit for lifting and rigging gear companies.
So, if you weren’t already busy planning your content for this year’s awareness day, I’ve no doubt whetted your appetite, even by referencing one or two of LEEA’s outreach programmes. Heed the association’s warning, though. This isn’t a platform to be abused or used to promote individual brands or companies. As I blogged about last year, imagine how quickly we can turn off our audience if we pollute the airwaves with promotional, commercial messages.
The focus should be on content aimed at raising the profile and awareness of the industry globally, which is of interest to all. Training providers also have a role to play in highlighting the importance of training. It’s been a monumental task keeping up with training in the pandemic era but that has only enhanced its importance.
What makes you GLAD to be in this industry?
What will you do to make #GLAD2021 a signpost to our challenging, rewarding, exciting sector?
Where do you want to see the market by, say, #GLAD2030?
Rope and Sling Specialists Ltd