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NES Rentals CEO joins IPAF Board, Calls for Stringent Safety Culture

NES Rentals CEO joins IPAF Board, Calls for Stringent Safety Culture

Andy Studdert, CEO of NES Rentals, has been co-opted as a director on the board of the International Powered Access Federation, an announcement made at the IPAF Annual General Meeting held last week in Rome.

Studdert has been the CEO of NES Rentals, which has a large focus on aerial rentals, for the past eight years. He was previously the chief operating officer of United Airlines from 1999 to 2002. He also served previously as head of fleet operations and chief information officer at United Airlines. Prior to joining United, he was a consultant and a banker.

Studdert delivered the keynote address at the IPAF Summit, and called on the aerial platform industry to adopt a more stringent safety culture similar to that of aviation. Drawing on his extensive experience in the airline sector, Studdert said that one of the critical lessons that the access industry could take from aviation is the reliance on standard, repeatable processes. Just as any first officer doing a walk-round inspection of a plane before each flight follows a standard operating procedure, so should an aerial work platform operator have a repeatable process for pre-use inspections before using the equipment.

Another critical lesson is to have a culture of intervention, which means that any member of staff, from delivery driver to maintenance mechanic, is able to stop a machine being used if he or she identifies a safety concern. A final lesson he offered is crisis preparation, with staff knowing exactly what to do in the event of an emergency.

Studdert recalled how he instigated these safety processes when he joined NES. Following an incident in 2004 when an aerial platform hit a bridge while being transported, he halted all operations for two days and called all staff to an emergency meeting. Studdert told his staff that he was “tired of being lucky.”

NES has since adopted a new safety culture that focuses on stringent equipment inspections and maintenance, and that is backed up by repeatable processes as documented in an environmental, health and safety audit checklist and a crisis communication plan.

Asked if a safety culture can bring tangible benefits, Studdert said that NES has not had a major incident in seven-and-a-half years, and that its insurance premiums were down by 75 percent.

Next year’s IPAF Summit will head for the first time to the United States. It is scheduled for March 26, 2013 in Miami. For more event details, visit www.iapa-summit.info.

IPAF is a not-for-profit members’ organization that promotes the safe and effective use of powered access equipment worldwide.

Deerfield, Ill.-based NES Rentals is No. 10 on the RER 100.

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