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Plant Hire – does your business have appropriate training for your staff?

Plant HireIf you hire equipment or heavy machinery for use on a project, does all of your staff using the rented gear have the proper training? Can the rental company be sure that their valuable equipment is being rented out to trained professionals?

These are the questions being posed by Manchester-based civil engineering firm Ennis Construction, who have recently started up their own plant hire service, and looking to make sure the system as a whole more transparent for hirer and renter.

The Health and Safety Executive’s (HSE) guide on training relating to equipment admitted that: “It is not possible to detail here what constitutes ‘adequate training’, as requirements will vary according to: the job or activity, the existing competence of workers, the circumstances of the work (e.g. degree of supervision), the work equipment etc.” This grey area could lead to employees being unintentionally undertrained; a fact that could be missed by hirers and renters and could end up causing serious accidents.

The HSE goes onto say: “the general PUWER Approved Code of Practice and guidance specifically mentions two situations imposing minimum training obligations, in relation to” …/… chainsaw operators” and “driver training”, as well as mentioning fork lift trucks, woodworking machinery and power presses. Business Insider reported that a lack of training could also lead to drops in productivity, performance management, product quality, and employee retention.

Speaking to Ennis’ Contracts Director, Bart O’Sullivan, helped shed more light on the dangers of being undertrained with machinery and a possible solution to the problem.

He stated: “Most employees working in construction are on the whole very well trained and thoroughly professional. However, unintentionally or otherwise, an employee may have a gap in their knowledge and be undertrained on a certain piece of equipment. It’s understandable considering that sometimes it’s not enough to be trained on certain machinery, but to be individually trained on specific brands of machinery. This can be dangerous, as hirers don’t want an accident or lawsuit on their hands, and renters also want to know their equipment is in good hands.

Speaking about a possible solution, Bart said: “We’ve been looking into a mechanism for hire and rental companies, site managers, and employers to check the level of competence of a hirer. We would do this by giving them access to a remote database that holds the hirers training records, whilst keeping their personal information secure. This way, there would be complete transparency on who will operate the gear and if they are suitably qualified.”

Ennis Construction and Ennis Construction Airports have worked with blue chip construction Companies, local authorities and private developers over the past forty years. For more information about their plant hire facilities, please contact Bart O’Sullivan at