When it comes to the world of HGVs, safety has to be of paramount importance. It is essential to ensure that every precaution has been taken, every check performed, and every box ticked before a vehicle heads out onto the road.
That is why daily walkaround checks should be implemented by every haulage firm and their drivers. So, to explain further, Andrea Easton, Head of Finance and Operations at FleetEx, explains what these checks are, why are they important, and who should be responsible for them?
What is a HGV daily check?
An HGV walkaround check needs to be carried out before each journey to ensure that your vehicle is safe to drive and roadworthy.
These checks should cover the entire vehicle, including the trailer and should look at the condition of the tyres, the brake systems and components, the steering, the lamps, the direction indicators and the hazard warning lights amongst other things. It is also recommended that drivers make sure that they are checking the height of their vehicles to help prevent dangerous bridge strikes.
These checks are mainly the responsibility of the driver to perform and whilst they are simple to do, they should be thorough, lasting for a minimum of 15 minutes and covering all vital components. However, it is important that managers and operators have clear processes in place to allow for these checks to be performed and the appropriate action to be taken as a result of them.
There should be a reporting system which allows drivers to record defects appropriately. The DVSA states that the checks must not only be performed before the vehicle is driven each day, but also if a new driver takes over the vehicle during the day.
HGV check records:
As a driver, if you do come across any defects, it is your legal responsibility to report them immediately. Your employer should have an agreed form or system that can be used to make the checks and report any areas of concern.
Each form should contain the vehicle registration, drivers name and the date and time of the checks, as well as the details of any defects, who they have been reported to and what has been done about them. If none are found, this should also be recorded.
If any defects have an impact on the safety of the vehicle, it is important that the vehicle in question is taken out of service until it has been rectified.
Why are vehicle checks important?
Even if the same vehicle is driven by the same driver every day, it is important that a check is carried out each time. It might seem as though not much could change overnight, but there are important reasons behind these checks. These checks will ensure that the vehicle is safe to be on the road and can help to safe the lives of drivers and other road users.
The DVSA are free to stop any HGV and ask the driver to complete the daily checks. Alternatively, they can request a copy of the records to prove that the checks have been completed. Should a defect be found, the DVSA have the power to prevent the driver from continuing with the journey until the defect is fixed, and they can issue fines in some circumstances.
These daily safety checks are fairly easy to carry out, but it is vital to ensure that they are done. These will ensure that the vehicles that are on the roads are fit to be there, and can help to prevent breakdowns and accidents as well as staying on the right side of the law.
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