skip to main content
Skanska select Penny Hydraulics cranes for new highways fleet

Skanska select Penny Hydraulics cranes for new highways fleet


Skanska AB is a multinational construction and development company founded in 1887 and based in Sweden. A huge player on the international stage, the company is now in fact the fifth largest construction company in the world.

In the UK alone, Skanska has over 6,000 employees and is well known as well as one of the leading companies responsible for building some of our country’s most iconic buildings, as well as upgrading and maintaining of the UK’s infrastructure. The company already has major successful UK projects under its belt, including the Gherkin, Crossrail and the UK’s biggest hospital project - the £1 billion redevelopment of St Bartholomew’s and The Royal London. Drawing on their Scandinavian heritage, the company is green, innovative and progressive - bringing together people and technology, as part of their quest to make construction a safer and more collaborative industry.

In the highways sector, projects include the £1 billion widening of the M25, one of the world’s busiest motorways, ahead of schedule in 2012, followed by a £320 million design and construction contract to upgrade further sections which was completed early in 2014. Skanska are also part of a team managing and maintaining over 440km of UK motorway until 2039.

Skanska recently contacted Penny Hydraulics with regards to specifying, supplying and installing a large number of cranes for their vast fleet of dropside commercial vehicles used to support their highways activities – allowing operatives to quickly and safely lift and lower items of plant and construction materials on and off the fleet vehicles.

“Responsible employers like Skanska within the construction & highways sectors now provide mechanical handling aids for their employees in an effort to reduce unnecessary manual handling,” says Penny Hydraulics Sales Director, Richard Short. “Incorrect manual handling is still one of the most common causes of injury at work, it causes work-related musculoskeletal disorders which account for over a third of all workplace injuries & although manual handling injuries can happen anywhere people are at work, heavy manual labour and manual materials handling are key risk factors in developing musculoskeletal disorders, meaning those working in the construction and highways industries are particularly at risk.”

According to Statistics from the Health and Safety Executive, between 2016 and 2017, the construction industry is responsible for the largest number of fatal injuries to workers – more than agriculture and manufacturing, accounting for 30 deaths over the course of the year.

“Although this news is hard to hear, the number of fatalities in construction is in fact the lowest number on record for the sector, meaning progress with regards to safety and working practices within the industry is being made and the results are positive. Employers like Skanska are leading the way with regards to worker safety by making significant investment in mechanical handling equipment for their fleets.” Said Richard

Specific regulations and legislation have been introduced to improve worker safety and reduce accidents and fatalities at work - The Manual Handling Operations Regulations 1992, as amended in 2002 apply to a wide range of manual handling activities, including lifting, lowering, pushing, pulling or carrying and outline what steps employers may need to take to protect employees from the risk of injury through manual handling tasks in the workplace.

“The Regulations outline the need to avoid the need for hazardous manual handling, so far as is reasonably practicable,” says Richard. “We play our part by supplying a range of innovative vehicle mounted cranes to eliminate the need for manual handling when moving items of plant and building materials on and off the bed of the vehicle when working in a construction or highways environment and employers like Skanska fulfil their duty of care to their employees by supplying them with this important work equipment, training them adequately to use the cranes and ensuring the equipment is suitably maintained so that it continues to perform safely throughout its life.”

Penny’s award-winning, ultra-lightweight electric cranes have been the go-to solution for van and pick-up installations and for a wide range of applications including highways, construction utilities and deliveries since 1982. Following consultation with Penny’s experienced sales team, the appropriate crane specification for Skanska was outlined and agreed. The ML250, from Penny’s popular SwingLift range, is a fully demountable design and comes with a wide range of options making it a versatile and cost-effective load handling solution for the Skanska fleet.

“Ideal for lifting heavy items quickly & easily off and onto vehicles, the gantry mounted cranes are easily operated by one man and are super-lightweight at only 23kg – that said, they’re more than powerful enough to easily lift and lower items up to 250kg in weight on and off the vehicles,” said Penny’s Area Sales Manager Steve Brackstone. “Thanks to compact design, they fold away when not in use, freeing up valuable space on the vehicle bed for plant and materials. Being de-mountable, Skanska have the option to deploy the cranes on other vehicles, or remove them for complete fleet flexibility – they’re the perfect fit for Skanska.”

The crane design also incorporates clever design features to reduce the need for the operator to climb onto the vehicle bed to position loads.

“The ML250 can be operated entirely at ground level,” said Steve. “This ensures that Skanska are supplying their engineers with the necessary equipment to eliminate any unnecessary working at height - taking proactive steps to comply with the Work at Height Regulations 2005.”

Unlike many other companies, Penny Hydraulics manufacture all lifting equipment in the UK at a purpose-built facility in Derbyshire which offers key benefits to the customer.

“For Skanska, the benefits of us manufacturing right here is the UK include short lead times and high-quality standards,” said Steve. “Having dedicated installation facilities too, we were able to offer proto-type units installed at our premises and offer additional installation support to the commercial vehicle converters including; VFS Ltd, Euromotive, SHB Vehicle Hire & Management, TGS Group & Brit Tipp Ltd chosen to fit the 12v and 24v cranes - this ensured the tight deadlines for the project were at no risk of being missed.”

Beyond installation of the cranes, in England it is a legal requirement under the Provision and Use of Work Equipment Regulations 1998 (PUWER) and the Lifting Operations and Lifting Equipment Regulations (LOLER) for lifting equipment to have a Thorough Examination and test by a competent person before it is put into service and at regular specified intervals during its life. For peace of mind that the cranes are maintained and safe for use, Skanska may utilise Penny Hydraulics Service Division.

“We offer a ‘cradle to grave’ service meaning equipment continues to be Thoroughly Examined in accordance with LOLER at regular intervals throughout its life by our dedicated nationwide network of specialist crane engineers.” Said Steve.

The latest health and safety legislation requires that all employers ensure that all employees using or supervising the use of work equipment have received adequate training in method, risk and precautions associated with that equipment too.

“With regards to operator training on the cranes, we always suggest an ALLMI accredited course, said Steve. “ALLMI is the Association of Lorry Loader Manufacturers & Importers - it’s the UK’s only Trade Association exclusively dedicated to companies involved in the manufacture, importation, servicing, testing and use of lorry loaders, meaning ALLMI accredited training is one of the best steps that employers can take to help ensure crane operators are both competent and confident using the equipment.”

To date, over fifty-five cranes have been supplied to Skanska for use throughout the UK’s highways network. A further sixty-five ML250’s are due to be supplied over the course of 2017.

Subscribe to our mailing list