Heavy Transport Association has launched a road safety initiative centred on two new Certificates of Competence issued by the City & Guilds for the drivers and managers of abnormal load escorts. The aim of the initiative is to improve public safety through training of abnormal load escorts leading to improved competence. At the moment anyone aged 21 or over with a car licence, a vehicle, some amber flashing lights and an ‘Abnormal Load’ sign can become an escort without any training, knowledge of the legislation or a check of competence.
The Highways Agency Code of Practice have delivered comprehensive guidance in all areas with the exception of training standards for the escort vehicle driver. In 2012 working with Skills for Logistics and the Association of Road Safety Officers (AIRSO) the HTA have set out to put this right by developing training standards and qualifications which would be independently accredited. The first tranche of Government funded work saw National Occupational Standards developed and accredited and the City & Guilds have been selected by the HTA as an internationally recognised qualification awarding body. The second tranche of work funded by ten HTA member companies saw the development of two courses for Abnormal Load Escorting, the first at Level 2 for Escort Drivers and the second at Level 3 for Escort Managers. After extensive consultation with the Police, Government agencies, trade associations and safety organisations the courses were completed in early 2016 and the final requirement for both qualifications to go live, City & Guilds assessors were trained with a network in place covering most of the UK.
The qualifications are not compulsory for escorts or managers but they do set clearly defined and measurable standards backed by the City & Guilds who issue a Certificate of Competence and a verifiable photo Identity Card to those passing the qualifications. To ensure currency and competence the qualifications are valid for three years after which a reassessment by the City & Guilds is required. Training and assessments are now available and people interested in learning more should contact the HTA.
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