Reading one of my favourite UK truck
magazines the other day, I came across another piece of health and safety
nonsense. When I see these things, I wonder how I've managed to get through 40-odd
years of trucking without seriously injuring myself. Could it be that I have an
overabundance of common sense? Or are we now scraping the bottom of the driver
The article's heading was "Do You Use
a Pallet Truck and Tail Lift to Make Deliveries?" If so, has your company
instructed you on performing a dynamic risk assessment at each delivery? Have
you received the seven-point checklist?
1. Can your vehicle be parked safely
without causing an obstruction? Who cares?
I once blocked a lane used as a rat run in Edinburgh because it was the company's
only door to take in my load of Del computers. All the commuters sitting behind
me were trying to avoid the busy main road that ran parallel, but as I had
already circled the block several times, I was in no mood to move again.
I did suggest to the mouthier guys who were threatening me with calling the
cops that if they helped to hand-bomb the boxes off the truck, I would be away
a bit quicker. 2. Is the
delivery on a flat surface without slopes or inclines? Again, who cares? You park the truck nose up if your pallets are heavy,
but don't lift them too far off the floor so you can slow them down by lowering
them onto the floor. When I delivered heavy pallets of tiles in Glasgow, I
always parked nose up on the sloping street, mainly because I couldn't pull the
pallets up the trailer when I parked nose down.
3. Are the goods in a suitable condition to be moved? Of course, they are, or they wouldn't be on
the truck in the first place.
4. Can the pallet be manoeuvred and tail-lifted safely without risking
damage or injury? Hopefully. 5.
Are there pedestrians around the tail lift? Is it possible to restrict
pedestrian access? Not a problem. I just
shout watch yourself at any people around me.
6. Have you planned and agreed on a suitable route for the delivery? No, I'm not pulling a wide load. I'll see
how it goes when I get near the delivery point.
7. Do you feel it is safe to proceed with tail-lifting the pallet on
or off your vehicle?
Of course, you only feel unsafe
when things start to go wrong. Like when
we had a contract to deliver backup batteries to telephone switchboards around
Scotland, they were very heavy pallets. At one delivery, the wheel of the
pallet truck went through the floor, but the job got done with a little adaptation.
At the end of this piece of health and
safety nonsense, it said, never let untrained persons assist you with a
delivery. What! Even if the untrained
person is only helping to push a heavy pallet. It also said if you have
ticked 'No' to any of the above, do not continue. Contact your office for
further instructions. Well, that could
make for long working days.
It makes you wonder what kind of people
the transport industry and the health and safety snowflakes want to encourage into
One of my Facebook friends, an owner-operator,
was repairing the plug that supplies the power to the trailer lights when
another driver wandered up and asked what he was doing.
When he told him, the other guy said, "I
wouldn't repair anything on my truck." (That made it obvious to me that he
was a company driver.) So my Facebook buddy said, "Well, don't buy your
own truck, or you'll be paying a shop for all your repairs."
I've always been a company driver, but I'll
get lights working or repair the odd air leak. It's either that or sitting for
an hour or two for a breakdown truck. I'd rather use that couple of hours to be
Although the sad truth is some companies don't want drivers repairing
the trucks, so I don't tell them when I make a repair. The truck is fit for the
road, so there is no downtime.