19.5.2021 | Haulage

RHA speaks out

The RHA lobbies for HGV drivers to be added to UK shortage occupation list and launches tail lift guidance. 

RHA speaks out about the shortage of HGV drivers and publishes long-awaited guidance to improve safety around the use of tail lifts.

The RHA has urged ministers to add HGV drivers to Home Office UK Shortage Occupation List to help fix the growing driver shortage.

RHA Chief Executive, Richard Burnett told Grant Shapps that the Government needed to do more to help the industry recruit new talent as the driver shortage exceeds 60,000.

Haulage firms struggle to get access to Apprenticeship Levy money to fund training, and the shutdown of vocational driving tests last year saw a loss of more than 30,000 test slots. New IR35 tax rules have seen some firms cancel deliveries as they can’t get agency drivers.

In a letter to the Transport Secretary, he said the industry is facing a perfect storm and warned that a growing driver shortage will hit the supply chain and affect the Government’s plans to ‘build back better’ as hospitality opens up again.
“If we do not do something soon the industry will be unable to maintain the integrated supply chains and cope with artificial spikes caused by hot weather and the easing of lockdown, increasing demand for food and drink into supermarkets, pubs and restaurants and goods into retail outlets.”

The RHA has also launched its Tail Lift and Pallet Truck Guidance Document which aims to help operators reduce the risk of death and serious injury when palletised goods are delivered by vehicles fitted with tail lifts.

The guidance sets out industry best practice and supports businesses to review their health and safety processes.

It helps firms with establishing safe systems of work, risk assessments, staff training and support, incident reporting, equipment maintenance, and reminds employers of their responsibilities and is the culmination of several years’ work by the RHA, the Association of Pallet Networks, haulage and logistics operators, and transport law experts Backhouse Jones.

The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) provided technical support to the group as they developed the guidance which has been keenly anticipated across the haulage and logistics industry.

RHA chief executive, Richard Burnett said: “This guidance offers operators who move palletised goods essential advice to keep their staff and others as safe as possible.

“I cannot thank our partners in the working group and HSE technicians enough for helping us pull this document together that should make our working environments safer.”

HSE head of transport and public services unit, Harvey Wild said: “We believe that this guidance is an important step for the industry in improving the safety of tail-lift deliveries and we have provided technical support to the working group during the production of the document.”

Find out more about the RHA.