National Safety Code: Trip Inspections and Reports
Pre-trip inspection reports can to create problems for carriers.
Trip Inspection Reports (AKA pre-trip inspection reports) tend to create problems for carriers. The problems are usually very simple. But getting drivers to properly complete the reports can be challenging. It can be even more challenging making sure that the drivers conduct proper pre-trip and post-trip inspections every day. While the trip-inspection form may be completed properly, that tends to be the main focus for many carriers.
How does the carrier know that their drivers are actually completing the proper pre-trip inspection and post-trip inspections of the vehicles they are driving? Does the carrier have an audit program which requires that the driver be watched conducting pre-trip inspections?
Those who can remember will recall that drivers once had to complete a proper pre-trip inspection when they were tested by either ICBC of the Motor Vehicle Branch. This may be the last time some drivers actually did a pre-trip according to the regulations and good practices.
A driver may believe they can tell when something is wrong with their truck. Some defects, problems or malfunctions can build up very slowly over time. A major problem may begin with a simple hum or a bump and only with time become something serious. The driver may not even realize the vehicle is starting to show signs of wear until an inspector checks over the vehicle at a road-side inspection. After a roadside inspection, all defects will be recorded and end up on the National Safety Code profile. The more defects discovered the more likely additional inspections may happen, both on the road and at the carriers’ facility.
The importance of a pre-trip inspection cannot be overemphasized as it is the only way a driver can defend the state of the truck when it is on the road. Think of it as an insurance policy based on your due diligence.
Drivers should be trained regularly to ensure they can complete a pre-trip inspection properly and that they only take a truck on the road they know to be safe. Drivers need to understand what gives a vehicle an ‘out of service’ description as opposed to a truck described with the phrase “defects noted”. Many drivers do not know what would render the vehicle ‘out of service’ faced with a road-side inspection.
In other provinces, Schedule 1 of Standard 13 of the National Safety Code is the defects list for most vehicles. This is a list of components that will either render the vehicle ‘out of service’ or ‘safe to proceed.’ This is sometimes referred to as the ‘go/no-go list’. A driver can use this list to identify what to do if critical items are in a state of disrepair on their vehicle.
All drivers should initially be trained and then bi-annually thereafter to ensure that they are properly conducting pre-trip inspections.
Many professions (e.g. firefighters) train continuously for something that may never happen. They must still be prepared for that eventuality. Drivers are on the road every day so the need to ensure that the vehicle is safe is mandatory. A carrier’s drivers represent the carrier when on the road; their conduct reflects the company’s National Safety Code Carrier Profile directly. Pre-trip inspections are every bit as important as driving the vehicle.
How often do carriers monitor pre-trip inspections conducted by their drivers or train drivers to properly conduct pre-trip and post-trip inspections Make this a priority in the near future. Your National Safety Code standing will depend on it!
To register for the National Safety Code courses, visit BC Trucking Association
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