TJ: in the driving seat
30 May 2019
A huge part of TJ’s business relies on having the right staff in place to drive and operate the wide range and volume of vehicles they use in their day-to-day business. Driving is an extremely skilled job, even more so when it comes to driving heavy goods vehicles.
There is more to it than simply holding a heavy goods class licence; TJ invest in their drivers to ensure they are fully inducted into the company and the role, and continually support them by providing regular training to maintain their competency levels to the highest standard.
TJ’s fleet of vehicles
TJ has a huge range of vehicles – well over 100 in total. They are used for everything from delivering skips to domestic customers, to transporting materials to and from commercial premises and delivering aggregates to building sites.
There are three different types of artic vehicle in TJ’s fleet. One that pulls tipping trailers and is used for transporting materials such as aggregates. Another is used for waste disposal and is known in the trade as a “push out”, it has a hydraulic ram with a metal plate on the end which pushes the waste out. They also use moving floor trailers, which are made up of approximately 20 long, narrow slats that ‘walk’ waste in and out of the trailer.
Rigid tipper lorries
These have a steel or aluminium body that can be hydraulically raised to deposit the load. They are used to remove muck and other material from sites and to deliver our own and third party aggregates to domestic and commercial clients.
These are usually used on smaller or domestic projects to remove waste and perhaps for loading onto tipper lorries. They are also used to distribute materials where access may be limited or where the customer wants the materials dropped in a few locations around the site.
These are ideal for industrial/trade waste or those with a high volume of heavy waste to get rid of. These lorries are operated hydraulically and rather than lift the bin, will pull it onto and push it off the lorry.
These have chains to lift the skips on and off and are typically used for domestic customers and smaller projects.
7.5 tonne box vans
These are usually used for trade customers who have recyclable waste to be collected such as paper and card and also for confidential waste that has been shredded or needs shredding.
Moving with the times
TJ’s vehicles are replaced or renewed after five years to ensure their fleet is efficient and up to date. Due to the volume of vehicles, the renewal process is continuous and the new vehicles are arriving with more and more extras that are helpful to our drivers. Safety features include: automatic tailgates, a 6-point CCTV system, front and rear strobes, audible left turn warning, side scanner sensors and weigh loaders.
TJ’s driver recruitment process has several elements to it. Once it has been confirmed that the applicant holds an HGV licence and what type of vehicles they are able to drive, they will be taken out for a driving assessment with either the fleet engineer or fleet manager to appraise their skills and competency. If this is satisfactory and the applicant is happy with the terms of the role, an offer is likely to be made.
After recruitment, in-house training and shadowing will be given to ensure the new driver is familiar with the tasks and standard expected of them. Later, drivers may be offered training on different vehicles so they can expand their skill set.
TJ has a strong focus on driver training. There is an annual training event during which drivers receive training to update their skills and learn new ones. There are also different training requirements that need to be met to satisfy different customers. For example, Highways England encourage drivers to hold a Passport Scheme competency card to enter sites to ensure competency. Other clients require drivers to have a Site Safety Awareness (MPQC) Card which also covers vulnerable road user training. Drivers must also complete 35 hours of periodic training every five years in order to be able to continue to drive commercially. That’s another one day per year dedicated to road and driver safety.
In safe hands
Our drivers take safety very seriously. All drivers carry out a ‘first use’ check every day, which satisfies the PUWER regulations. If any defects are found, drivers have to report these and can only start work if it is safe to do so.
FORS Silver Status
Holding FORS silver status is an impressive accolade in the haulage industry. It shows that TJ’s operating levels are extremely high and that they are going the extra mile to provide a top quality service. One of the requirements of FORS Silver is that drivers have to undergo Safe Urban Driving training, which sees them out on pushbikes. This aims to keep cyclist safety at the forefront of drivers’ minds.
To maintain the Silver Status, TJ’s drivers have to complete the following training:
- E-learning courses such as cycle safety, terrorism, incident risk prevention, safe loading of vehicles etc – carried out yearly.
- Safe Urban Driving – carried out five-yearly. This involves drivers spending time on bikes to experience lorries from a cyclist’s perspective.
- MPQC – carried out five-yearly. This is accredited by the Mineral Products Qualification Council and deals with site safety awareness and vulnerable road user training.
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