At the turn of 2018, we launched our very own employee engagement app: My Ainscough app. The purpose of the app was to improve communications between our remote workforce and to underpin our “Make the Safe Choice” culture. For our team members it means improved communication, for our customers it means we can share learning and experience with one another in real time.

Uniquely, it allows team members to communicate “near miss reporting” in real time, team members are encouraged to share “near misses” to facilitate learning across the company.

Dave Berry, Group QHSE Manager, explained the key benefits of the app. He said: “The use of the App as part of our QHSE comms plan has significantly enhanced our operational safety. We’ve received great feedback from customers on its impact and from our teams on its usability.

“Using the App, we are, for the first time, able to send out safety alerts to targeted groups in real time. This might include information relating to a specific incident, a new piece of safety policy or a learning from our own teams.

“We have a 360 degree view of safety and the App enables us to get important information out to relevant parties very quickly. It’s a real game changer for us and it’s now an embedded part of our safety culture.”

The use of the App has grown throughout the year, uptake among the team has been strong and there is over 90 per cent uptake on downloading and using the App. It is not just a one-way tool. The App receives dozens of questions and suggestions from team members on the ground each week.

Overall, the App has improved our approach to managing risk and improving communication with our remote workforce as part of our “Make the Safe Choice” safety culture.


2018 finished in exemplary style for Ainscough Crane Hire’s team at the Valero refinery in Pembroke, South Wales.

Pembroke refinery is one of Europe’s largest and most complex refineries, and makes products including gasoline, diesel fuel, kerosene, liquefied petroleum gas and petrochemical feedstocks.

Ainscough Crane Hire has worked at Pembroke for well over a decade and is one of 16 ‘nested’ companies at the refinery, meaning it has a highly skilled and experienced team based permanently on site.

Ainscough runs a number of cranes at the refinery which range in lifting capacity and enable the team to play an essential role in day to day maintenance operations and project work on the plant.

The team’s commitment to ensuring the highest standards of safety and providing a quality service to the client was recently rewarded with a certificate recognising the team’s exemplary score in the 2018 Contractor League KPI Table.

Ainscough Crane Hire achieved the certificate by demonstrating very high standards of compliance, no recordable injuries, and by suggesting new ways of working and other innovations that helped improve efficiency and safety at the refinery.

The image on the right shows the certificate being awarded to Kris Owen, Ainscough Crane Hire’s On-Site Valero Team Crane Manager.

To the right of Kris is Ed Tomp (VP & General Manager, Valero), and to his left are Karen Muehlbauer (Director of Environmental and Safety Affairs, Valero) and Richard Allen (Director Central Maintenance, Valero).

In addition to this, Ainscough Crane Hire also recently had an individual employee recognised as a ‘VPP star player’ for going above and beyond with their efforts. Paul Gould was rewarded for using his Stop Work Authority to halt work when he suspected an operation taking place on site by another contractor was not safe and suggested a more secure way for it proceed.

Paul Sullivan, Ainscough Crane Hire’s Cardiff depot manager, said: “These two awards are testament to the hard work, diligence, and commitment to safety that our team at Pembroke demonstrate on a daily basis.

“Regarding our excellent score on the 2018 Contractor League KPI Table, I would especially like to congratulate Kris Owen, who does a sterling job maintaining high standards on a complex site. I would also like to pay tribute to Paul Gould for using his initiative to stop a potentially dangerous operation – his VPP Star Player award was very well deserved.

“We are proud to have worked at the refinery for over a decade, but are committed to continually improving standards and delivering the best, and safest, service to our client that we possibly can.”


Ainscough Crane Hire has aided the delivery of a striking new addition to a key urban regeneration project in Newcastle-upon-Tyne.

Working for roofing and cladding specialist Chemplas Ltd, the Ainscough team lifted various roof construction parts and materials to the top of the bold new home of Newcastle University’s National Innovation Centre for Ageing, the National Innovation Centre for Data and the National Institute for Health Research Innovation Observatory.

The development forms part of Newcastle Helix, one of the biggest urban regeneration projects of its kind in the UK bringing together academia, business, the public sector and local people to create jobs, homes and to help develop the skills needed to solve real world problems.

The Ainscough team used a Liebherr MK110 mobile tower crane which was configured with a 33-metre cab height and a 52-metre jib set at 15 degrees to complete the required series of lifts.

Andrew Spink, Operations Director for the Heavy Cranes team said: “This crane was the ideal choice for the customer owing to its fast rigging and de-rigging time and its ability to operate in confined spaces. The pace of development around this part of Newcastle is remarkable and we are proud to have been selected to deliver these lifts for the contractor.”

Once complete, the £50 million development will become the University’s third building on Newcastle Helix, which is set to create more than 4,000 jobs, 500,000 sq ft of office and research space and 450 new homes across a 24-acre site.

The development, which is being led by a unique partnership between Newcastle University, Newcastle City Council and Legal & General, will become a major UK hub for scientific research and technology businesses, creating knowledge-based jobs for future generations.


Market leading national lifting solutions company, Ainscough Crane Hire, has further affirmed its close ties to cutting edge modular construction with a project in Barnsley.

Ainscough’s Sheffield depot was hired by AEP Group to assist with the assembling of a new McDonald’s outlet in the town. The lift was undertaken using a Liehberr 1040-2.1 crane, which lifted into place the pre-built sections, including the roof and steel frames, of the restaurant over a number of days. The activity was undertaken by crane operator Shaun Smith.

The project utilised AEP Group’s innovative ‘flat pack’ system, which involves pre-assembled components being lifted in by crane.

The new restaurant forms part of the Better Barnsley Town Centre Retail and Leisure Development, which is part of plans within the Sheffield City Region for capital funding to be used to unlock transport connectivity and enhance the long term sustainability of the region.

The development is key to the regeneration of Barnsley town centre, and will provide a library, town square, refurbished indoor market as well as retail and leisure amenities, such as the new McDonalds.

Damian Napper, Ainscough Crane Hire’s Sheffield and Leeds Depot Manager, commented: “The regeneration plans for Barnsley are very exciting, and will hopefully provide a great economic boost to the town. We’re therefore very pleased to have played a role in making the plans a reality. The work that took place constructing the new McDonalds is a great example of collaboration – a straightforward lift, but its smooth running was a direct result of the excellent instruction and knowledge of AEP. We hope the people of Barnsley enjoy the new restaurant and the other amenities that will be built in the years ahead.”


Ainscough Crane Hire’s Heavy Cranes team has helped to install a new canal bridge in the Warwickshire town of Rugby which will carry a new highway over the Oxford Canal.

Working for main contractor Galliford Try, the team lifted the 25 precast bridge sections using a Liebherr LTM 1800 1000-tonne crane. The bridge parts consisted of 23 55-tonne beams and two 103-tonne beams which will form part of the carriageway of a new link road to the emerging urban extension of Houlton.

The lifts were delivered within a tight, 5-day canal closure window following the beam’s arrival by road from the manufacturer in Ireland. Liaison between the contractor and the Ainscough team was vital as the sequencing between beam delivery and lifts needed to operate to a strict schedule to avoid delays to the re-opening of the canal.

The lift process saw the operators first lift the beams from the transportation trailer and position them ready for a second lift, following a necessary rearrangement of rigging, into their final position on the newly constructed bridge abutments.

The 23 inner beams were lifted and secured first followed by the two edge beams which were lifted on a 36 metre radius.

Graham Lindley, Heavy Cranes Technical Manager, at Ainscough said: “The nature of the lifts and the size of the beams meant this was a high risk category job. We worked with the contractor meticulously refining the details of the lifts for a number of months to ensure the process went safely and as smoothly as possible.

“The lifts were completed within the canal closure window in what was a very successful operation and a significant achievement for both ourselves and for the contractor.”

When complete, Houlton will comprise 6,200 homes as well as extensive green spaces and local amenities such as primary and secondary schools. The new link road connecting Houlton to Rugby town is piece of key infrastructure for Houlton and currently under construction and will be open in summer 2019.