Keeping a close eye on skip hire safety
With many construction projects being carried out in the heart of Britain’s biggest cities, a skip driver’s day can involve negotiating busy A roads and narrow city streets, not to mention positioning the vehicle and skip in areas with access problems, combined with the legalities of safe loading.
The skip hire operators that work with ProSkips have an enviable safety record, which have further improved since an EU Directive forced Labour Prime Minister Gordon Brown to introduce legislation in September 2009 requiring all professional bus, coach and lorry drivers working in the UK to hold a Driver Certificate of Professional Competence (Driver CPC).
Benefits of the Driver CPC
The main aim of Driver CPC is to ensure better trained drivers, who are up to date with current legislation and to help reduce casualties – ultimately resulting in improved road safety.
The main business benefit to skip hire operators include:
- Lower insurance premiums due to fewer accidents
- Less business interruption due to fewer accidents
- Less wear and tear on vehicles due to better driving behaviour
- Improved staff retention
How to obtain a Driver CPC?
The only way to obtain – and keep – a Driver CPC is by passing two theory tests and two practical examinations, and then undergoing 35 hours of training every five years.
Part one of the theory exercise includes multiple-choice and hazard perception tests, while the second part covers case studies. The practical sections include a test of driving ability and a demonstration of vehicle safety.
The time it takes to pass a CPC course depends entirely on the student. However, most aim to complete the training in a week of intensive learning before taking the practical and theory tests.
The ongoing training requirement of the Driver CPC is the element that most concerns experienced skip hire staff. Periodic training is delivered through courses that drivers attend over the five years that a Driver CPC is valid. The good news is there’s no pass or fail element to these tests. However, the minimum length of a training course is seven hours, although they may be longer. If a seven-hour course is split into two parts, the second part must start within 24 hours of the first part ending.
Drivers can keep track of their period training record online by registering their details with the driver enquiry service, which has been developed by the Driving Standards Agency.
The service can be accessed 24 hours a day and shows the user’s Driver CPC qualification expiry date plus details of each training course they have completed.
It also allows professional skip lorry drivers to give their current or prospective employer temporary access to their training record.
The penalties for failing to complete ongoing training
Drivers without a valid driver qualification card, which they receive after passing the Driver CPC, or who fail to produce their card can be fined a maximum of £1000 – as will the operator licence holder – and referred to the Traffic Commissioner to consider further action. This could include suspending the driver’s and the operator’s licences.