Coates Hire is at the forefront of equipment standards and safety systems in the hire industry, partly because it has senior employees such as Peter Davis. The Executive General Manager Fleet and Logistics was presented with the Dave Single Award by the Elevating Work Platform Association of Australia (EWPA) in May, recognising his continued work and thought-leadership in safety standards on access equipment.
The Dave Single award caps a 36-year career at Coates Hire in which Davis has consistently been working on making hire equipment safer for users and those around the equipment.
“In my current role – and in previous positions at Coates Hire – we’ve been able to influence the safety standards on access equipment by how we specify the gear from the Original Equipment Manufacturers (OEMs) and how we instruct our customers to use the gear,” says Davis. “We have a fleet worth around $1.7 billion of hire assets, and because of the size and regularity of our orders, we can work closely with OEMS to ensure each new addition to the fleet is as safe and productive as any piece of equipment in the world.”
Davis, who works from the Coates Hire Moorebank site in Sydney, says he has a team that communicates with customers, regulators and OEMs, ensuring the feedback is built-in to subsequent fleet ordering decisions.
He says the steady progress toward safer Mobile Elevating Work Platforms (MEWP) goes back to the early days when logbooks were introduced on hire equipment, through to the guidance notes and Australian standards applied today.
“It’s been a process, involving a lot of people over the years,” he says. “I’ve been on MEWP standards and safety committees, both here and overseas. You need a lot of stakeholders who care about safety standards in order for them to be absorbed into the industry. It isn’t just about the ordering phase, but also maintenance, training, standards and effective communications.”
He says a large part of his job has been in building relationships with regulators, Tier One contractors, OEMs, hire companies and end-users.
“If the communication is good then you move in the right direction and ideally resolve issues before they become a problem.”
Davis was instrumental in the development of the EWPA Safe Use information pack and Harnesses Guidelines for EWPs, and the formation of the Technical Committee at the EWPA. However, he says while he was humbled to receive the Dave Single Award, safety is an ongoing issue.
“I wish I could say that we’ve finally found the perfect system,” says Davis. “But as everyone in this industry knows, there’s always something else that can be done to make industrial machinery safer.”