THE HEAVY TRANSPORT ASSOCIATION (HTA) HAS ANNOUNCED A ROAD SAFETY INITIATIVE CENTRED ON TWO NEW CERTIFICATES OF COMPETENCE ISSUED BY THE CITY & GUILDS FOR THE DRIVERS AND MANAGERS OF ABNORMAL LOAD ESCORTS.
At the moment anyone aged 21 or over with a car licence, vehicle, some amber flashing lights and an ‘Abnormal Load’ sign can become an escort without any training, knowledge of the legislation or a check of competence.
In 2004 a Code of Practice for the lighting and marking of abnormal loads and escort vehicles, which also included operating procedures for the escort, was issued by the Highways Agency with the support of ACPO, ACPOS, and industry represented by the RHA, FTA and HTA. It’s normal practice for private escorts to look after the majority of moves and the Police where the loads are very long, wide or heavy where there is a need to control traffic.
The Code gave guidance in all areas except training for escort drivers. In 2012, working with Skills for Logistics and the Association of Road Safety Officers (AIRSO), the HTA set out to put this right by developing independently accredited training standards. First, national occupational standards were developed and the City & Guilds were selected as the qualification awarding body.
Then, 10 HTA member companies developed two courses for abnormal load escorting, the first at Level 2 for escort drivers, and the second at Level 3 for escort managers. The courses were completed in early 2016 with trained City & Guilds assessors and a network put in place covering most of the UK.
The qualifications are not compulsory but they do set clearly defined and measurable standards with a certificate and verifiable photo Identity Card being issued to those passing the courses. They are valid for three years after which a reassessment by the City & Guilds is required.
John Rodell, Chairman of the HTA, expects the Certificates of Competence to quickly become the standard required by the majority of companies moving abnormal loads by road in the UK. “We know there are many excellent escorts out there already, although there are no grandfather rights, these qualifications should not cause professional escorts any concerns,” he says.
Heavy Transport Association: Tel: 0844 3245300
Chairman of the HTA: Tel: 01980 667103 Mob: 07967 343010