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FAQs

What licence do I need to operate mobile plant in the workplace?

There are no government issued licences for vehicles at work, the law requires that each operator is given adequate training by their employer so that they are competent to operate the machinery which they use (the Provision and Use of Work Equipment Regulations 1998; regulation 9).

I operate plant other than lift trucks, what is the licensing system for that?

There is no HSE Approved Code of Practice for training plant operators other than lift truck operators. There is still a legal duty for every employer to ensure that their employees are adequately trained for the machinery they operate (Provision and Use of Work Equipment Regulations 1998 regulation 9). There are many different schemes in operation, so each employer should satisfy themselves that training under the schemes they accept means that operators are competent to use each piece of equipment that they will be required to operate.

My employer will not accept my training certificate as valid, and is insisting that I retrain to a different scheme. Is this legal?

Employers are entitled to require their plant operators to be trained to any scheme which they think is appropriate to their workplace, as long as completion of the training certificate the company chooses means that employees are competent to operate the mobile plant they will be using.

Do I need a valid UK car driving licence in order to operate plant in the workplace?

No, driving a car and operating mobile plant are very different tasks, although they use some of the same skills. There is no legal requirement for plant operators to hold a road driving licence unless they wish to drive their vehicles on the public highway. All plant driven on the public highway must comply with the appropriate road traffic legislation.

What is the minimum age at which people can operate plant?

There is nothing specific for plant, although lift-truck operators should be over the minimum school leaving age (MSLA), except in ports where they must be at least 18 years old.
There are particular definitions of people by age in health and safety law:

  • a young person is anyone under eighteen years of age;
  • a child is anyone who is not over compulsory school age (ie he or she has not yet reached the official age at which they may leave school). This is generally referred to as the minimum school leaving age.

The Management Regulations 1999 require you to assess the health and safety risks to all your employees and to identify what you need to do to comply with your legal duties to prevent or control those risks and ensure your employees' health and safety. Under the Regulations you have particular responsibilities towards young people:

  • to assess risks to all young people under 18 years of age, before they start work;
  • to ensure your risk assessment takes into account their psychological or physical immaturity, inexperience, and lack of awareness of existing or potential risks;
  • to introduce control measures to eliminate or minimise the risks, so far as is reasonably practicable.

Children below the MSLA must not be employed in industrial undertakings such as factories, construction sites etc except when on approved work experience schemes.
For more information, look at: www.hse.gov.uk/youngpeople/index.htm.

Is there a legal requirement for fire extinguishers to be fitted to dumper trucks?

General health and safety legislation requires a risk assessment to be carried out on all work equipment, including dumper trucks, and if the assessment identified a need for fitting a fire extinguisher then it should be provided. However, this would be dependent on the particular case and is not a blanket requirement.

Relevant guidance

A number of HSE publications give general guidance for construction sites, including:

Why haven't proximity-sensing devices been introduced more widely?

A number of 'sensing' and 'trip' systems are available, which warn the driver, or stop or slow down the vehicle when an obstruction is detected close to, or comes in contact with, the reversing vehicle. These systems are not recommended for preventing accidents to pedestrians where the level of unwanted alarms would be loud for drivers to tolerate or the range of the system may not be sufficient.

Sensing systems may be helpful on open sites where the likelihood and frequency of unwanted alarms are low and where the driver may not have the time or is unlikely to use CCTV. They are being increasingly used on road-going vehicles as parking aids, but the range of such systems is limited - typically around 2 metres.

Road-going vehicles will be fitted with conventional side mirrors and it is often worthwhile augmenting these with additional convex mirrors to improve side visibility but there can still be significant blindspots when reversing and especially when turning at the same time.

CCTV can eliminate the blindspots, can be a very useful aid for precise positioning of the vehicle (removing the need for signallers in many cases) and can significantly reduce the number of reversing incidents.

Should a 'thorough examination' and a maintenance service on mechanical handling equipment be carried out by the same engineer at the same time?

The two functions should be separated. This is supported by documents such as EN ISO 17020, BITA guidance note GN28, and the views of ME inspectors.

2013-03-26