The Board of Directors at P.J. Carey Plant Hire are totally committed to putting safety first and have taken action to deal effectively with the extremely important issue of site safety, particularly in connection with excavator quick couplers.
Following industry wide concern over the safety of semi-automatic couplers, which culminated in the Health & Safety Executive (HSE) securing an agreement with all leading European quick hitch manufacturers not to supply new semi-automatic hitches into the UK market, leading plant hirer P.J. Carey took the decision to replace all their semi-automatic couplers with the fully automatic model from Hill Engineering.
Although the HSE directive did not go so far as to ban the use of semi-automatic couplers, as an industry leader P.J. Carey considered that by adopting a proactive approach, this positive replacement action would safeguard site personnel and actively demonstrate a firm commitment to enhancing safety on all their sites.
Sean O’Donnell, Director of Wembley-based P.J. Carey Plant Hire, said: "As a responsible plant hire company we are completely driven by safety and we were determined to find an effective solution to the semi-automatic quick coupler problem, and therefore made the decision to change all our hydraulic quick couplers to fully automatic models."
Mr. O’Donnell was given the daunting task of evaluating all the quick coupler products currently available, in order to identify the fully automatic hitch that completely satisfied their safety requirements.
"When faced with this task I focused on identifying a product specification that fully addressed all the specific areas of concern," said Mr. O’Donnell. "This was a lengthy and detailed process, but one that we considered absolutely essential in order to ensure exactly the right product choice."
"The product that finally came out on top, and which completely satisfied all the main selection criteria, was the new Hill Auto-Loc 3 fully automatic coupler from Hill Engineering Ltd."
"In addition to addressing the technical and user issues, Hill Engineering were able to offer a ‘new for old’ coupler exchange at reasonable cost."
"Hill also provided full hands on product training covering all aspects of the coupler change-over, including replacement of decals, coupler controls and hydraulic circuits. This ensured that the new coupler installations fully complied with the companys health & safety requirements."
"All in all I am confident that we have dealt with the serious issue of operator safety in a timely and effective manner and can now concentrate on ensuring we continue to provide our customers with a service that’s second to none," concluded Mr. ODonnell.
One Call Hire Also Endorses Hill Auto-Loc
Another major plant hire customer endorsing the new Hill Auto-Loc 3 quick coupler is Enfield-based One Call Hire. Managing Director, Anthony Fitzpatrick, said "We have been working with Hill Engineering for several years and all our excavators of 13 tonnes and over purchased over the last three years have been fitted with the Auto-Loc coupler."
"We were so satisfied with the company and the product that we have now committed to changing our complete fleet to the very latest Auto-Loc 3 fully automatic model and last December took advantage of Hill’s ‘new for old’ programme, placing an order for 200 Auto-Loc 3 couplers for machines in our fleet under 13 tonnes," added Mr. Fitzpatrick.
Hill Engineering Continues To Put Safety First
In 2005 Hill Engineering, acknowledging that safety is paramount in the attachments world, recognised a need to develop a fully automatic, user friendly coupler, with built-in devices designed to prevent accidental release of attachments.
The company’s entire R & D budget was immediately directed towards advancing coupler technology and to the establishment of a dedicated coupler testing facility. Following extensive field trials the ‘Safety First’ Auto-Loc range of quick couplers was introduced in 2006. Since then Hill has continued to refine the Auto-Loc and are confident that the very latest Auto-Loc 3 version is the safest and most reliable coupler of its type on the market today.
Ian Hill, Managing Director of Hill Engineering, said: "We have listened to our customers and incorporated improvements to provide a product that is more operator-friendly and even easier to use."
Hill Engineering want to play their part in encouraging the industry to make the change from semi-automatic to fully automatic couplers and are offering a ‘new for old’ programme, whereby existing semi-automatic couplers can be traded in against a new Auto-Loc 3 coupler at reasonable cost. Also included is the provision of hands on product training for appointed trainer/operators and installation training for service fitters.
Hill Engineering remains fully committed to site safety and for the past two years has been involved, along with other coupler manufacturers, in the working groups established by the HSE to define the proposed changes to the EN474 legislation.
"All quick coupler manufacturers and users should recognise a shared responsibility to ensure an altogether safer working environment for all," commented Ian Hill.
Originally established in 1994, Hill Engineering moved to new £4.5million, 85,000sq.ft, purpose-designed, state-of-the-art premises in 2006, whilst retaining its original nearby factory as a dedicated research & development facility.
Hill also produce a range of heavy duty excavator buckets, enabling them to provide a top quality hitches and buckets package for its customers throughout the UK and Ireland, as well as internationally across Europe and the USA.
All Hill products are ISO 9001 and CE accredited and as a customer focused organisation with a flexible approach they can tailor equipment to meet individual customer requirements.
Hill Engineering Managing Director, Ian Hill, concluded: "We constantly strive to design and manufacture top quality products to the highest possible world-class standards, with safety always an over-riding consideration."