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Working as an Operations Supervisor in the Construction Hoist Industry

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When working with hoists it’s essential that everything is carried out in a safe and coordinated manner. Andy Howat, one of our Operations Supervisors, is well aware of the risks of working at height as it’s the core part of his role here at GB Access.

Andy Howat, Operations Supervisor at GB Access

Andy has worked in the lifting industry for over 15 years, 13 of which, have been spent with GB Access working initially as an Engineer, where he then progressed to Operations Supervisor. Prior to working within the Construction and Industrial sectors, Andy spent 6 years travelling the world as a Royal Marine Commando.

Currently, Andy covers the south of England in conjunction with another Operations Supervisor, where he personally manages a team of 16 Hoist Installers.

“Communication is a key part of my role, this requires me to work closely with a wide range of stakeholders, and these may include: Clients, Site Engineers, Crane Supervisors and Health and Safety Inspectors to name a few. I also ensure Hoist Installers have attended the necessary site inductions as well as reviewing the site Risk Assessment Method Statements (RAMS)”.

When it comes to the installation of a hoist, Andy is there to ensure it’s positioned correctly in reference to the technical drawings planned by GB Access’ Design Office.

The projects Andy works on are within a range of sectors across sites in London and the South East. “Over the years I’ve noticed changes in the industry, where meeting customer demands has become more challenging and there is more of a focus on having a positive culture around Health and Safety” he said. GB Access staff wear full PPE when working on-site, where they have the relevant certifications and accreditations to ensure hoists are erected safely as per the drawings.

With the new generation of Hoist Installers entering the lifting industry, Andy finds his team of 16 young but very talented. Without their professionalism and enthusiastic attitude it would make his job a lot more difficult. The advice Andy gives to his team is to work closely with the more experienced Hoist Installers to build up their knowledge base which can be utilised further down the line.

Andy has worked on some of the tallest buildings in London including: The Shard at 301m high and the Landmark Pinnacle at 239m which GB Access are currently working on. However, installing hoists is not always at height. One of the lowest projects he’s worked on was the Thames Tideway Tunnel from East to West London which was 80m below ground!

One of Andy’s favourite memories is when GB Access completed a job on Bank Street, London for Byrne Bros. This project was particularly challenging but was very rewarding upon completion.

Another memorable project for Andy was when he travelled overseas to work on a project for Chevron Oil and the KazakhstanGovernment in 2012. He was based at Tengiz Oil Field, Kazakhstan which is the world’s biggest oil refinery. Whilst there, he installed and maintained two hoists, during the shutdown periods as the oil refinery was operational 24/7.

When asked what advice Andy would give to GB Access for the next 30 years, he said “My advice for the company would be to continue in investing in new hoists to enable us to keep working for Tier 1 customers. Also to continue to promote a Health and Safety (H&S) culture, as our H&S Team are very proactive in making sure the company implements new changes to meet and exceed industry H&S standards.”

Interested in working for GB Access? You can see what Andy gets upto in his role as an Operations Supervisor here at GB Access, by watching our video case study of Berkeley Homes at their Woolwich project in London. Why not view our current vacancies and apply?


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