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RHA Compliance Conference a resounding success

Road Haulage Association

3 min read Partner content

With an attendance figure of nearly 400, Wednesday’s RHA Compliance Conference, supported by Volvo Trucks, was a resounding success and showed the commitment of the industry to safe and legal operation.

The Conference, held at Coventry’s Ricoh Arena, began with a presentation focused on holiday pay from Stephen Meyerhoff of RHA Legal Services and possible legal changes that members need to be thinking about now.

Next up was Dr Richard Evers of RHA Smart Test who spoke of drugs in the workplace. The word ‘drugs’ would suggest substance abuse and addiction. However, with today’s easy access to ‘legal highs’ (Novel Psychoactive Substances), the importance of routing drug screening in the workplace is fast becoming a major compliance issue.

Keynote speaker Sarah Bell, Western Traffic Commissioner, highlighted the importance of the traffic commissioners working within budget and of engaging effectively with the industry. She said that TCs are committed to safety, fair competition and removing the serially non-compliant from the industry. But high standards have to be maintained, she warned.

James Backhouse of RHA Legal Services started the afternoon session. He held delegates’ attention with his presentation on the procedure surrounding a tachograph investigation. Many regard this as something that will never happen to them; but it can to managers and owners who believe their fleet to be compliant, he said. He described, in detail, the investigation process and stressed the importance of transparency, honesty and, above all, the necessity to get urgent legal advice.

Gordon Macdonald, Head of Enforcement at the Driver Vehicle
Standards Agency updated delegates on his department’s new policy initiatives and deadlines. He spoke of the benefits of the merger between DSA and VOSA including making testing and inspection more convenient and cost effective. Compliance equals best business value, he said.

The final presentation of the day was RHA Legal Services’ Jonathon Backhouse. He spoke of driver’s role as often being the first and main link with a customer. Drivers should be recognised as playing a critical part in compliance and employers should ensure that they are clear about what they require of their drivers.

He warned against complacency or cutting corners under pressure and quoted former Justice of the Supreme Court, Lord Saville. ‘The size of the error does not bear any relationship to the size of the accident.’ In one case, a botched temporary fix that seemed satisfactory at the time to both the driver and his manager led to the death of a child - and both men were jailed.

Delegates left the Conference in no doubt that there is no compliance ‘half-way’ house. It is not a negotiable issue and must be achieved if an operator, regardless of company size, is to operate efficiently, safely, and successfully.

Summing up, RHA National Chairman Peter Barber said: “Compliance has to be managed and all employees have their part to play.”

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