Sustainability in the Rental Industry

No matter what industry you are involved in, sustainability is a critical element in the ongoing operations of your business. For rental and access companies thinking sustainably can save time and investment capital, and offer a competitive advantage over others when viewed by the customers.

Having a rental industry is already a sustainable consideration with customers hiring equipment rather than investing in large capital expenses. Hirer’s supply the most energy-efficient solutions, provide safety instructions and training, and often advise on an efficient design back to the manufacturer. The European Rental Association report on ‘Sustainability in the rental industry’ also advises that, “Specialised equipment rental companies are well positioned to maintain high standards of quality, maintenance and operating guidelines, leading to better performance in energy efficiency, health & safety, noise reduction, etc.”

In Australia and New Zealand we have access to some of the best technology available without having to compromise on sustainability. In fact when considering all facets of sustainability, the economical, the social and environmental; we can see how the rental industry is truly leading the way in sustainable practices. This article will explore ways the rental industry can make further improvements in sustainability.

Economical – saving time and money


According to the European Rental Association’s ‘sustainability report’ “the health and environmental impact of transport can be reduced in various ways. Besides choosing cleaner vehicles, rental companies also organise the transport of their equipment more efficiently.” Any effort to reduce the size of the shipment will have a positive flow on effect for the economical sustainability of the company and the industry in general. Quite often products are designed to be compact, to fit on a trailer, like scissor lifts, or trailer mounted for ease of transport. Other considerations include how many machines can be transported at once. For example the Haulotte HA20 has been designed to fit two machines on one B-double, which results in two booms being delivered to site at once saving 50% of the transport costs.

Social sustainability - everyone’s responsibility.

Improvements to people’s way of life and getting them home safely is pivotal to the ongoing growth of our economy. According to SafeWork Australia between 2003-13, 117 workers in the construction industry were killed by a fall from a height with three of these fatalities involving the fall from an elevated work platform (EWP). We must all take the safety of EWP operators into the highest consideration and look for advances in technology.

In order to reduce the risk of overhead crushing injuries, and at the same time preserve a good working envelope/productivity, Haulotte has introduced the ACTIV’Shield™ Bar Secondary Guarding Device. The ACTIV’Shield™ Bar is designed to reduce the risk of overhead trapping/crushing by alerting the operator to potential entrapment situations. Following the alert only reverse/lowering movements are permitted, allowing the possibly panicked operator to get out of trouble without making the situation worse. Its unique feature is a Safety Gap™ which can protect the operator from full entrapment and potentially allow them to get out of danger. Afterwards, the system is easy to reset and reactivate from the basket which means there is no machine downtime.

United Forklift and Access Solutions General Manager of Marketing, Sales & Distribution, Mr Trent Osborne, says that operator safety and technology plays an important part when making decisions on equipment for the national rental fleet.
“Safety considerations should be a major priority for any rental company. Anything that can improve the safety conditions for operators through design, technology or safer work practices should be explored and adopted. Haulotte is leading the charge with some innovative technology that increases safety for operators, which thereby provides us with greater confidence as a rental company.”

Environmental – clean and green

Considerations for the environment as a whole and the area the machine is being used will allow your company to stand out amongst others as one of being environmentally conscious. Lowering emissions, using more sustainable fuel sources and operating the most efficient machines are all immediate ways to create a positive impact on your environmental footprint.

In a world first system Haulotte’s latest Stop Emission System automatically switches off the engine after a period (90s) of idle activity. Systems like this significantly reduce the running time of the engine by up to 20% and fuel consumption by 8%. Also with the engine switched off there is a significant reduction in pollution & noise levels.

Ready for the future

One of the most positive aspects of the Hire and Rental industry is that there is a system in place to ensure the lifecycle a machine operates in is always at its optimum best.  In accordance with the EWPA Code of Practice for Power-Operated Elevating Work Platforms 6.4.5 of AS 2550.10, 10 year services are completed to ensure the machine is fully operational. The examination includes the disassembly and removal of paint, grease, corrosion from critical components to allow a complete and thorough inspection,  tolerance checking of all wear components, and non-destructive testing of all critical areas for evidence of cracking, fatigue and excessive stress. During this time it can also be retrofitted with the latest safety improvements like the Activ’Shield Bar for crush prevention. If the machine is beyond its life then a majority of the machine can be recycled or re-purposed.

You can view the Sustainability in the rental Industry Report from the European Rental Association here