LEEA looks for a global lift

15 May 2012

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By Will North

Since taking over as editor of Hoist, one of the more fulfiling parts of my job has been to get to know more about the work that LEEA, the Lifting Equipment Engineers Association, are doing to promote best practice in lift engineering around the world.

LEEA has its roots in the British lifting industry. As a Briton, I may be a bit (maybe even a lot) biased, but I think that in many ways the British approach to safe lifting practice leads the world. The combination of regulations like LOLER, which establishes clear responsiblities for lifting safety, well written national standards, and a committed expert body like LEEA, have done much to deliver high levels of workplace safety in the UK. Increasingly, the British approach to lifting safety is being adopted by regulators and customers around the world. There are few international events or jobs in the lifting industry, and particularly the oil and gas industry, that I attend or write about, that do not include some input from a British expatriate, often working closely with local expert engineers and highly trained crews.

That may, in part, be down to the widespread use of the English language, and of Britain's complicated history as an international power. But, I think, it is also down to an increasing acceptance of the idea that simple, non-prescriptive, legislation and with clear standards developed by a community of experts, is the best way to guarantee a safe workplace.

Over the last couple of years, LEEA has been doing a lot to take its approach to safe lifting out of the UK, and to an international audience. Last month, I organised a conference for one of Hoist's associated publications, Cranes Today, in Singapore. There, LEEA's Geoff Holden presented the work the assocation has done to establish itself in the local market, and to bring its TEAM card engineer accreditation scheme, to the local lifting industry. LEEA is doing similar good work in the Middle East, where it is developing another international branch in the Gulf. Next month, the association holds its annual general meeting in Leeds, and its trade show, LiftEx. At the end of the issue, we have an extended preview of the show. In many ways, LiftEx is still a fairly small event: no-one would claim it is on the same scale as, for example, CeMAT in Hannover or one of the US MHIA's events. But, it is very tightly focussed on the needs of lift engineers.

I'll be there, along with some colleagues, presenting Hoist to the attendees and exhibitors. I look forward to seeing how LEEA will build on the strength of this show around the world.