If you’re an HGV driver, part of your job is ensuring that your vehicle is roadworthy and safe to drive. Although all vehicle owners should regularly check their vehicles, there are specific checks that need to be carried out on an HGV.
A lot of these checks should be done daily, so here’s a simple, easy-to-follow checklist that will allow you to quickly but thoroughly check your HGV and get on with the rest of your day!
HGV Daily Check
Before every journey, an HGV daily check should be carried out, these are also called walkaround checks. These checks make sure that the vehicle is safe to be travelling, and that you’ll be safe as the driver. That’s why they’re so important for everyone in the company to know how to do these walkaround checks.
The checks that must be carried out include tyre pressure and condition, brakes, steering, headlights, hazard lights, and indicators. A new regulation issued by the DVSA now means that drivers must also check the vehicle height before starting off on any journey. This is because the risk of bridge strikes has increased over recent years and there are now, on average, five bridge strikes each day. These can cause death, or serious injury to the driver and other people, but it also costs around £23m a year to repair bridges after they’ve been hit.
Drivers are legally responsible for the condition of their HGV, so not carrying out these checks can land you in some seriously hot water, especially if something goes wrong – you may be liable.
How Long Should A Daily Check Take?
We understand that everyone is busy, and most often than not you just want to get on the road and start your day. That’s why a lot of people skip these walkaround checks or don’t do a thorough enough job.
The good news is, on average it takes about 15 minutes to do a walkaround check. That’s just the right amount of time to make a cup of tea or coffee, and drink it whilst performing these checks. It doesn’t have to take a long time if you know what you’re looking for. And the more often you do it, the faster you’ll get at doing it.
Regardless of how long it takes, you need to be carrying out these checks before setting off on every journey. It might seem like a pain now, but if something goes wrong while you’re on the road, you’ll wish you had taken the time to check your vehicle over.
Performing The HGV Daily Check
The DVSA requires that every HGV be checked before the vehicle is driven on the road each day and if more than one driver uses the vehicle in a day. Basically, the guidance is that every HGV driver, before getting into an HGV, should check it over. Even if it’s been on the road with another driver all day. It’s your responsibility while you’re driving it, so it’s better to make sure it’s done.
Keeping A Record
Every HGV driver should be inspecting their vehicle every day, but they should also be recording all of their checks. They should also make sure that any problems noticed while driving is recorded and reported as soon as possible.
HGV companies should use a standard form for all their HGV drivers; so that regardless of what vehicle they’re getting into, the paperwork and checks are still the same. This then becomes standard practice across the entire company, making life easier for everyone.
The DVSA recommends that a ‘nil’ reporting system is used. This means the driver performs the checks and writes ‘nil’ if there are no defects found. This is to confirm that the check was made, as leaving a box blank can be a little ambiguous sometimes.
Hopefully, you won’t find anything wrong with your vehicle, but if you do the report should include:
– Vehicle registration
– Details of the problem
– Your assessment
– Your name and employee number if you have one
– Where the problem was reported
When you’ve reported a problem, the company should seek to get it fixed immediately. This should also be reported in the same place; so that all problems and their solutions are ready at hand should they ever be needed. Records should be kept available for 15 months after the initial reporting, which will allow the company to maintain transparency.
It seems like common sense, but it’s worth mentioning that of course a vehicle that has a problem should not be driven until the said problem is rectified and another set of checks are conducted.
Responsibility For Walkaround Checks
Ultimately, the legal responsibility falls with the driver of the HGV. However, transport managers, fleet operators, and management must ensure that the company process includes these vehicle safety checks as par for the course.
Performing daily walkaround checks should be a company-wide policy, with emphasis placed on just how important this activity is. Responsibilities should be documented somewhere secure so that everyone knows what their own personal responsibility is.
The consequences of not performing these checks can be highly dangerous, and even life-threatening. That alone should be a reason for you to keep your vehicle in tip-top condition. But there are also legal consequences to not performing the checks thoroughly, or at all.
The DVSA can stop your vehicle and ask you to complete the daily check of your vehicle on the side of the road. This means that if you don’t do the checks, you may be caught out not knowing what to do, or it could reveal a problem you didn’t know about because you hadn’t performed the check before setting off.
If any defects or problems are found when this happens, the DVSA can stop the driver from getting back in the vehicle, and even issue a fine that the driver will be responsible for paying. That’s why carrying out daily walkaround checks is so important, for your and others’ safety, and for the safety of your bank balance!
We hope you’ve enjoyed reading the article and find it helpful. You can also visit our blog for more HGV driving tips and advice.
If you have any questions or would like to find out more about our HGV jobs, please get in touch with Global Employment Bureau on 01604 761206, our friendly team is here to help you.