Safety comes first for reputable operators

Premier Pits brakemate

Putting safety first shows that you value the wellbeing of your staff and your business – and it increases productivity too

Workplace safety is a priority for any reputable operator, and its advantages are manyfold.

Not only does prioritising safety show that you value the wellbeing of your staff, it protects your business and assets and avoids the nightmare of prohibitions, costly fines, Public Inquiries, or worse.

Safety at home

Safety begins before the vehicles have even left the workshop.

Premier Pits, one of the longest established pit manufacturers in the UK, has been manufacturing and installing pits for 40 years. The range includes inspection, maintenance, rail, authorised testing facility and washdown pits, all supported by pit accessories and health and safety equipment. Under-chassis, wash pits and ramps are also available.

Premier Pits is also the UK distributer for BrakeMate, an elevated platform for servicing heavy vehicle brake disc assemblies. The product eliminates the majority of lifting during the disc brake maintenance process and according to Premier Pits, substantially reduces service time, leading to a saving in time and money. It also enables a single user to complete the whole process, rather than being a two-person job – something that has earned BrakeMate an additional unique selling point during the COVID-19 pandemic.

“During a wheel change, in normal circumstances two people would be within the wheel arch handling a hub. That puts them face to face, so BrakeMate eliminates that and works with current social distancing requirements. That is an extra unique selling point which people are listening to,” says Premier Pits Marketing Manager Matt Dilley. The company is also known for its sponsorship of IRTE’s Skills Challenge competition, where it listens to the needs of engineers and technicians to ensure that their job while in the pit is as safe as possible.

“One of the main reasons we sponsor the Skills Challenge is because, for a lot of people, a pit is their home away from home,” adds Matt. “Their home is in the pit, and underneath a vehicle, so it’s good to be present and talk to technicians and their managers and understand how they use the pit, get feedback, and learn how we can improve our products.

“It’s a key thing for us to know how to listen, and it’s always good to be involved with something that tries to attract younger people into the industry, which is difficult in general.”

Premier Pits’ equipment complies to CE and BS EN 1090-1: 2009 + A1: 2011, BS OHSAS 18001:2007 SSIP, giving operators added peace of mind.

Finance arrangements are helping operators bring lifting equipment in-house

From pits to lifts

If a vehicle isn’t maintained over a pit, chances are it will be placed on a lift.

TotalKare, one of the UK’s leading providers of lifting and testing solutions for heavy duty commercial workshops, supports customers all the way from small family business to multi-national operators and logistics companies.

TotalKare has, for many, become the go-to supplier of mobile column lifts. Its portfolio now covers a full range of equipment such as fixed post lifts, mobile and in-ground brake testers, inspection pits, wash bay lifts, headlamp testers, smoke meters and more.

Much equipment is now available through its new webshop, such as support stands; transmission, pit, trolley and bottle jacks; torque tools; air conditioning servicing equipment; oil management; jacking beams; and radius plates.

“The flexibility of our mobile workshop equipment, such as our column lifts and brake testers, has obvious appeal – especially when space within the workshop is at a premium,” says TotalKare Marketing Manager Steve Braund. “And by brake testing in-house, the potential for saving time and money is substantial. We’ve created an online calculator that quickly gives operators an indication of what they could stand to save.”

Safety in the digital age

Once a fleet is ready to hit the road, it’s good to have peace of mind that every walk-round check has been carried out to the highest standard.

That’s where services like CheckedSafe come in – a software as a service digital compliance solution with apps and a secure web-based reporting system. Founded in 2014 by transport specialist and former operator Gary Hawthorne, and solicitor and litigation specialist Darran Harris, CheckedSafe provides operators with a platform to manage their workforce and comply with any and all legal requirements.

One of the service’s strong points is the ability to tailor a bespoke solution to each client. For a subscription of £1 per week per vehicle, CheckedSafe offers operators the ability to create unlimited daily checks, bespoke templates for any piece of equipment (users can now create and edit their own templates), a full maintenance solution that allows scheduling of periodic/preventative maintenance inspections (PMIs), brake roller tests, LOLER checks, and more.

The system provides the ability to do the checks digitally, or by using manual PMI sheets then uploading them to the CheckedSafe system where the supplier digitises them.

Unique protocols to the system include date and time stamping every check and the ability to track drivers and vehicles to ensure checks are being done properly.

Other benefits include unlimited document storage for vehicles, assets or users; a full messaging service; a document-to-app service; reminders for things such as servicing, maintenance, MoTs and insurance; and trend reports which show common defects, when drivers do not report defects, repeat defects for the same issues, and the time it takes for the defect to be reported and rectified.

The solution is fully cloud-based for access anywhere that there is an internet connection, and CheckedSafe is a fully accredited and validated DVSA IT Earned Recognition systems provider, being a founding member of the scheme when it was launched.

“If operators want to make sure they are safe and compliant, we’ll help them get through those hurdles,” says Gary. “We become friends with our users. It’s a CheckedSafe family. Very few people have issues – it is plug and play, and away you go.

“We also bring something different to the table. Our client base feels comfortable with us because our background demonstrates that we know our stuff, and they like that – so we end up becoming an advisory centre.”

As well as being a multi-award winning platform, Gary is most proud of the fact users rarely leave the CheckedSafe service.

The company now works with approximately 4,300 clients, just short of 50,000 vehicles, and has around 450,000,000 data points within its system. The company is always listening to feedback and developing – something that, for Gary, has proved especially valuable as COVID-19 changes people’s view of safety.