HEALTH AND SAFETY - Make sure you have the correct licence

Tuesday, March 10, 2020

Some years ago, my husband and I used to recruit truck drivers for a couple of transport organisations. Our adverts always included the type of the work and the licences required. Amazingly, a large number of applicants would turn up without their driver’s licence. Often, they would have no boots and would be surprised when we wanted them to go for a test drive.

If an unlicensed driver drives your truck and the driver is stopped by the police, the truck and its load are likely to be impounded for 28 days. This is not the best way to run a business. In addition, there will be no insurance if there is an accident. Regardless of who is at fault, the unlicensed driver will be held accountable. The four main reasons a driver is not licensed are:
• The driver has never held the licence;
• The driver has accrued too many demerit points;
• The driver has been DIC;
• The driver’s licence has reached the 10-year expiry and needs to be renewed.

There are several licences and qualifications that may be required. The most obvious is, of course, the appropriate licence for the truck – class 2, 3, 4 or 5. This needs to be a full licence, otherwise the driver is only able to drive with a supervisor. Depending on the load, a D endorsement may be required. This indicates that the driver has attended and passed a course on transporting dangerous goods on the road. The driver is expected to know how the load must be carried, secured and placarded. This endorsement expires every five years and must be renewed before the driver can carry dangerous goods. Often, a driver will use the client’s forklift to load or unload the truck. There are two qualifications for this. The first is the F endorsement on the driver’s licence. This will expire when the driver’s licence does and can be renewed by ticking the box. The other is the operator certificate. This certificate shows that the driver has been trained and assessed in forklift operation by an approved provider. The client should be provided with a copy of the certificate before the driver uses the forklift.

There is a very easy system for managing workers’ driver’s licences. NZTA provides a web-based system called TORO for organisations that hold a transport service licence (TSL), or Driver Check for other organisations. The organisation applies to NZTA, gets permission from their drivers, and loads the information onto the website. The nominated administrator will be emailed when a driver’s licence status changes. Check www.nzta.govt.nz and search TORO or Driver Check to access the application information.

How can Safewise help? We work with organisations that need more health and safety knowledge, or more time, than they have in house. For more information, check the website www.safewise.co.nz