In this article, Desmond Waight of DanGoods Training and Consultancy (who has helped to prepare police officers for the DGSA (Road) examinations, and subsequently observed and assisted them during enforcement checks) describes what is done with the results of the checks.
How the police conduct and record these inspections was reported in an earlier feature article, Roadside police inspections of dangerous goods in transit. However, to summarise, first a briefing is held to identify any specific aims, and police motorcyclists and patrol cars then go out and take up position on the road in question. They then identify the vehicles to be brought in for inspection, and escort these vehicles into the safe area where the inspections take place. The inspection is recorded on a form known as the 10 500 (from the pre-2000 days when ADR was structured using a marginal numbering system) and a copy is given to the driver. If applicable, a prohibition notice may be issued. Usually, this is in the form of a delayed prohibition notice, so enabling the driver to deliver the load and get back to base before the prohibition becomes effective. Once the problem identified in the notice has been corrected, then operations can resume.
This article now goes on to discuss what happens after the checks, what information on the checks is made publicly available, and how it may be used.
Readers may also like to refer back to the author’s previous article, Compliance issues at the roadside.
After the checks
Usually after the checks, a letter will be sent to the carrier setting out the issue and enclosing a copy of the check form and, if applicable, any prohibition notice. This is to ensure that the issues are made known to the carrier as, in many cases, it will largely bear a measure of responsibility for the non-compliance in question.
It may very well be that in the letter there will be a requirement to supply copies of the previous year’s or, typically, three years of, DGSA annual reports. These can give a fascinating insight into the attitude of the company concerned.
These have been requested by at least one force in order to show support for the role of the Dangerous Goods Safety Adviser (DGSA). Even if a company is generally compliant, it still demonstrates to the company senior management that the DGSA’s role is of value and that they should listen to its advice. The officer requesting these hopes that requiring these reports will empower DGSAs by placing suitable emphasis on their work, thus giving them a louder voice in their working environment.
However, experience shows that DGSA reports vary tremendously, and will trigger responses such as those below.
Some were clearly written retrospectively, and the suspicion was that this was only as a result of the request. These companies will generally be “targeted” for future checks.
Some have a great deal of data, but this does not help establish what the level of compliance is and how compliance has been changing over recent years.
Some have only minimal information. Although this is not necessarily a bad thing, it does tend to suggest a management attitude of doing the minimum, and thus these companies are also likely to be identified for future checks.
Some clearly show concern over compliance and identify where compliance is satisfactory but also where action is needed. Over the years, the reports show that companies that took notice of and dealt with issues relating to the transport of dangerous goods raised by DGSAs are less likely to be pulled over for future checks.
Those that appear to be sub-standard annual reports may result in a follow-up by the police to the directors of the company involved, or reference to the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) for a possible on-site enforcement visit.
Reporting and publication
All notices issued by the police and the Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency (DVSA) are notified to the HSE, which has the main lead on enforcement issues.
Those issues that affect radioactive materials are excluded, as radioactive transport is now the responsibility of the Office for Nuclear Regulation. The Radioactive Materials Transport (RMT) Programme is responsible for regulating safety during the transport of radioactive material by road and rail in Great Britain, and advises on its transport by air and sea within UK territorial waters.
The HSE then consolidates the various police and DVSA reports into a single monthly report, which is then published on the HSE website in the form of a Microsoft XL spreadsheet file, though these are not easy to find unless one has the direct link on the www.hse.gov.uk website.
It should be noted that publication only occurs after due time of nine weeks has been allowed for appeals and quality assurance procedures to be lodged and resolved.
Although it has been raised with HSE previously, HSE state that they are currently unable to provide a consolidated listing of these monthly reports. However, the reports for the last few years have been, and any new monthly reports will be, consolidated by the author of this article and made freely available on his website (www.dangoods.co.uk/page18.html).
This publication of the notices is made as part of the “name and shame” aspect of enforcement of the carriage of dangerous goods provisions.
Using the reports
These reports can be used in various ways. Simple scanning of the listing will soon indicate the sorts of non-compliance that are regularly found.
For instance, in January 2014 the following were found:
eight issues regarding fire extinguishers
eight issues due to lack of equipment for use in an emergency
six issues regarding a vehicle not placarded/plated as required
three issues regarding a lack of information on the goods carried
three issues over vehicle inadequacy
three issues over lack of training
two issues over lack of IiW (Instructions in Writing).
These can be a useful discussion point during any refresher training or review of operations with a view to taking preventive action. For example:
are the fire extinguishers serviced under an external contract and is that contractor fulfilling its duties?
why are the driver’s daily checks not preventing the problems with fire extinguishers and equipment?
In one case found by the author when carrying out a DGSA monitoring visit, a driver was completing the daily checks. However, this was obviously done without any reference to the vehicle and the load, for he checked questions about package labelling and marking, stating that he had looked at them and found them correct, yet he was driving a tanker.
Managers and DGSAs scanning the list of notices can identify where prohibition notices have not been reported back. One DGSA client was found to have been listed, yet the company contact had advised for the DGSA report that there had been no notices issued in respect of its operations.
Finally, if considering a change of carrier it would seem prudent to at least search the list to see if the possible alternate carriers have been subject to notices. However, the very occasional notice is always possible (eg when another driver has swapped an out-of-service-date fire extinguisher for the compliant fire extinguisher that was carried and indeed had been checked that week).
Things that do not get on the reports
One interesting facet is that the police officers may spot other infringements and take action. In both of the last inspections observed a vehicle was spotted, using number plate recognition software, as having no insurance. In both cases, the vehicles were pulled into the safe area at the service station and impounded. The drivers then had to make their own arrangements to continue their journeys and, later, to retrieve their vehicles, at a cost.