Fleet maintenance is important in running a safe, efficient and a budget effective transport operation. The penalties for your failure to do so, or your failure to the adherence of your Operator License requirements are severe, and can result in the closure of your business. What follows is a brief overview of the requirements of vehicle maintenance. There is also further information within this section relating to defects and vehicle equipment, as well as many direct links to the appropriate pages on government websites for further information and downloadable content to further assist you.
Drivers and Operators must have a system in place to be able to report promptly any defects or symptoms of defects that could adversely affect the safe operation of their vehicles. To ensure full compliance, it is strongly recommended that procedural practices are in place and drivers are trained properly to ensure they are able to comply with their responsibilities. All drivers must complete the following checks prior and post taking any vehicle out:
A daily walk round check must be undertaken by a responsible person before a vehicle is used.
Drivers must be able to report promptly any defects or symptoms of defects that could adversely affect the safe operation of vehicles.
Reports must be made in writing and provision should be made to record details of any rectification work done.
An Operators responsibilities start from the issue of the company Operator License, with maintenance intervals being laid down according to the type of operation the vehicles will be subjected to. Maintenance periods will vary according to the type of work undertaken and volume of mileage the vehicle fleet will be subjected to on a regular basis.
First-use inspections are essential for operators who lease, hire or borrow vehicles, including trailers, from other people. Inspections where vehicles and trailers have been off the road for some time are also essential. Operators must ensure that checks are made regularly of items which affect roadworthiness. This also means that responsibility for the condition of all their vehicles (including any trailers) inspected and/or maintained upon their behalf by agents, contractors or hire companies.
Where drivers are concerned, they must be given clear, written instructions about their responsibilities, with all drivers defect reports which record any faults being kept for at least 15 months.
Safety inspections must include those items covered by the appropriate Department for Transport annual test. They should be pre-planned preferably using a time based programme and must be regularly monitored particularly in the early stages. There must be a system to ensure that un roadworthy vehicles are removed from service. Any remedial work carried out arising from safety inspections must be the subject of a written record. The safety inspection report must include:
A list of all items to be inspected
When and by whom the inspection is carried out
The result of the inspection
Details of any rectification work
A declaration that defects have been rectified satisfactorily
On some types of vehicle and operations, intermediate safety checks may be necessary. Records of safety inspections must be kept for at least 15 months. Staff carrying out safety inspections must be competent to assess the significance of defects. Assistance must be available to operate the vehicle controls as necessary.