Scaffolding company loses its O-licence

Commercial Motor
October 12, 2018

Redhill Scaffolding Services and its sole director have been disqualified from holding an O-licence for 18 months following an investigation that revealed widespread non-compliance at the firm.

In a written decision following a September public inquiry (PI) in Eastbourne, London & South East traffic commissioner (TC) Sarah Bell said the company and Ronald Williams had put “commercial gain before compliance, over a sustained period of time.”

In December 2017 a DVSA traffic examiner stopped an 18-tonne truck operated by the business at the roadside and discovered a range of offences. The driver was not using a driver card and failed to produce tachograph record sheets, a driver card or printouts.

There was a defective tachograph, no goods vehicle test certificate in force and the vehicle was also displaying a disc in the name of another company - Personnel Hygiene Services. A DVSA vehicle examiner visited the company’s site in February and conducted a maintenance investigation marked unsatisfactory.

There was no evidence of start-of-day walkround checks being carried out, no drivers’ defect reporting system in use and no record of any defect rectification or remedial work being carried out. In addition, PMIs were not being carried out by the stated contractor.

Williams and his son were invited to a New Operator Seminar in June but failed to attend telling the traffic examiner they had “forgotten”. By the time of the PI a proper brake testing regime was not in place and there were no printouts available for the TC to examine.

The company was not using its company card to download vehicle unit (VU) information and produced inadequate drivers hours’ and working time directive (WTD) data. Also, the vehicle examiner expressed concern that there was insufficient capacity to park two vehicles at the firm’s operating centre.

At the inquiry the TC examined the firm’s history which included a formal warning for maintenance shortcomings in November 2009. Also, in October 2012 the operator had its licence suspended for 48 hours for tachograph offences and parking more vehicles than authorised.

At the inquiry, Williams told the TC that the firm had joined the RHA and booked an Operator’s Awareness course for November. It had also experienced two clear DVSA roadside encounters recently.

However, in her written decision Bell said the operator’s systems were inadequate “across the board” and only limited improvements had been put in place by the time of the PI. She said: “Since December 2017, the operator has come into sharp focus for DVSA and now myself.

"The crucial area where there has been no discernible effort is the enhancement of the director or ‘responsible person’s’ knowledge. Williams has taken up a great deal of TC and DVSA time over the years.

"It is his fault alone that he has reached this stage. In my judgement, he should be removed from the system for a period for the benefit and protection of other operators and road users.”

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