A profitable haulage business depends on many different factors. One of the more vital of these, that to a large extent will determine the owner’s profit margin, is the safety and roadworthiness of their vehicle. In fact, the law requires that all haulage work operators, big or small, have in place a system for the regular inspection and maintenance of their vehicles. |
Daily Visual Inspection
While some aspects of a trucks operation can only be properly checked in a workshop, there are many things that can be visually assessed to see if they are in good working order or need attention. Even if it wasn’t a legal requirement, it would be considered good practice to implement a daily “walkabout” for each vehicle by its driver or a mechanic. This simple operation, that takes just a few minutes to complete, can save maintenance costs and even identify potentially dangerous failures before they occur. It can also ensure and increase the profitability of your haulage work.
Make a Standard Check List
Good practice requires that this simple walkabout be performed before the start of a day’s haulage work and that its results be recorded for further action. For this purpose, we recommend building a simple checklist with all the elements that need to be checked, as well as the observed results.
The checklist should include the following:
1. CRW, Tax & insurance discs. 2. Horn. 3. Bumpers, Sideguards & Underrun protection. 4. Windows – broken, cracked, dirty. 5. Tachograph & speed limiter. 6. Fuel/Oil Leaks. 7. Mirrors, clean, adjusted, not broken. 8. Cab, Body & Fittings. 9. Air leaks & pressure drop. 10. Windscreen Wipers & Washers. 11. Lights, Indicators & Reflectors. 12. Spray Suppression/Wings. 13. Driver's seat & seat belts. 14. Markers. 15. Wiring & Battery. 16. Brake controls. 17. Tyres condition & inflation. 18. Exhaust. 19. Brakes operation. 20. Wheels & Fixings. 21. Air suspension setting. 22. Steering controls. 23. Trailer Coupling 24. Number plates & marker plates. 25. Steering operation. 26. Trailer Brake Connections. 27. Engine oil, water, windscreen washer reservoir, fuel level. 28. Other Driving Controls. 29. Trailer Electrical connections. 30. Smoke Emission. 31. ABS/EBS warning lights. 32. Landing Legs & mechanism. 33. Load security & weight distribution. 34. Instruments, gauges. & warning devices. 35. Trailer Parking Brake.
Record All Defects or Faults
During the inspection it is vital that all observed faults or defects be recorded so that repair or maintenance procedures can be carried out. All repairs or maintenance procedures executed following the inspection should be noted on the same sheet.
If a defect or fault is identified, the following details should be noted:
• A description of the fault/defect. • Time and date of identification. • Temporary measures taken until a full repair can be carried out.
Needless to say, in the event that a potentially dangerous fault is identified, the vehicle should not be used until a full repair has been completed by certified mechanics.
Road haulage work is a profession that requires skill and training. Even the simple daily “walkabout” requires that the driver or mechanic be trained in what to look for and how to record results to ensure the vehicle is safe to use at all times.
Norman Dulwich is a Correspondent for Haulage Exchange, the leading online trade network for the road transport industry. Connecting logistics professionals across the UK and Europe through their website, Haulage Exchange provides services for matching haulage work with available drivers. Over 4,000 transport exchange businesses are networked together through their website, trading jobs and capacity in a safe 'wholesale' environment.
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