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Traffic commissioner revokes scaffolding firm’s HGV licence

12 May 16 A Colchester-based scaffolding firm has been found unfit to hold an HGV operator’s licence.

Driver convictions illustrated a lack of management control and it emerged that the director had delegated to his secretary almost all responsibilities for compliance with regulations.

Traffic commissioner Richard Turfitt said he was not satisfied that Callum Martin, director of Aston Scaffolding (Essex) Limited, was capable of managing the compliance systems and drivers.

The company had held an operator’s licence for just over a year before it was called to public inquiry in Cambridge. At the hearing, which took place last month, Martin admitted he had delegated almost all responsibility for the operator’s licence to his secretary, who had left the company two weeks before the inquiry.

The company’s licence was brought to Traffic Commissioner’s attention following convictions against one of the company’s drivers, Steven Martin. Three offences were prosecuted at Medway Magistrates’ Court in August 2015. These covered failure to enter details on a tachograph record sheet, failing to give the name and address of driver or owner to a vehicle examiner and the driving a  vehicle on the road otherwise than in accordance with a licence. The driver was fined a total of £1,000 for the offences.

During the hearing, Turfitt also noted that preventative maintenance inspection records were only dated to May 2015, there were indications of failings in the driver defect reporting system and defect reports had not been completed in any sequential order. Martin was also unable to confirm whether the defect reports had been checked.

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Questioned by the regulator on drivers’ hours and tachograph analysis,  Martin correctly identified that records should be held for 28 days but had no idea about driving limits and breaks. Turfitt concluded that the convictions demonstrated a lack of previous management control over his drivers.

“On the evidence of Mr Martin, I was unable to satisfy myself that he was capable of managing the compliance systems and the drivers, which include his brothers,” the traffic commissioner added. “His lack of knowledge was reflected in the absence of even basic requirements under the operator’s licence. There was no evidence of metered brake testing and he was unable to assure me as to the facilities available to his mobile fitter.”

Turfitt also expressed his disappointment that the company had joined the FTA (Freight Transport Association) around six months prior to the inquiry but had failed to make use of their support, advice or training.

The regulator made an order to revoke the firm’s licence at 23:59 on 25 May 2016, to allow the business to wind down.

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