Furloughed transport manager must hit the ground running

Transport managers who have been furloughed must ensure they are up to speed with current regulations in place – ideally before they return to work, according to solicitors.

With some lockdown measures beginning to be eased, transport managers should consider training themselves up in preparation for their return, particularly with regards to changes to the senior traffic commissioner’s guidance.

James Backhouse, a director at transport solicitors Backhouse Jones, said it was “almost certain” a furloughed transport manager had not kept themselves up to date with temporary regulatory changes in haulage while they have not been working:

“Therefore they may not be aware of the current rules in force and the current expectations of them and those they manage and the vehicles they manage,” he explained.

“It’s really important they use the opportunity, ideally when they’re on furlough - because you can do some training while on furlough - to do the reading.”

Backhouse advised reading up on the relaxation of drivers’ hours rules and not assume it affected the entire haulage industry at the same time.

He said transport managers also needed to analyse their drivers’ activity while they were on furlough and to be aware of any material changes that have occurred:

“It’s really important that you review that as a transport manager as soon as you return,” he said.

“The most typical one will be financial standing.”

If a driver has been working for another company while they were furloughed then their digi-cards must be downloaded as soon as they commence working again for you and transport managers need to keep in mind that drivers’ working time calculations will also have been affected by this additional employment.

In addition, Backhouse stressed of the need to read about the relaxed requirements for a PMI check: “In essence, [TCs] are accepting what you might call a ‘glorified’ walk round check as an alternative, provided the vehicle is fit for use on the road,” he said.

“If you have the facilities to conduct PMI checks of your vehicles then do it; that’s the safest route.

“If not, then follow the senior traffic guidance on this to the letter, otherwise it will come back to bite you.”

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