TC issues bad maintenance warning
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• Operators in the North Western Traffic Area will increasingly be called to account if their maintenance standards are seen to be failing.
This warning was sounded by North Western Deputy Traffic Commissioner Mark Hinchliffe, when he suspended two vehicles operated by St Helens-based John K Philips Haulage Contractors Ltd for seven days in March at a Manchester disciplinary inquiry.
Hinchliffe was satisfied managing director John Philips had become increasingly aware and alarmed about a breakdown in the company's maintenance system, and had addressed the problem, but he made the point that operators must bear responsibility for maintenance systems which failed and put others at risk. said Hinchliffe. It was also a lesson to others.
Vehicle examiner Eric Bober said five immediate and 11 delayed prohibitions had been issued since the licence was renewed in April 1994.
Philips said the company's transport manager had been replaced and a number of drivers and the foreman fitter had been given warnings and two drivers had been suspended. He controlled day-to-day maintenance.
In September it was found the Freight Transport Association was not honouring a contract to inspect the company's vehicles and trailers, The FTA had credited the company with over £2,000 for 23 inspections of vehicles and 19 inspections of trailers which had been paid for in advance and which had not been carried out.
The FTA contract had been renewed and Seddon Atkinson was inspecting the 14 Seddons in the fleet Pvery six months, said Philips. They were in the process of upgrading the fleet. The 12week inspection period would be reduced to six weeks for vehicles and eight for trailers.
Asked why two convictions for overloading had not been noti fled, Philips said the then transport manager had said he had recalled reporting them to the Traffic Area, but there was no evidence he had.
Something should have been done sooner about the FTA's failure to honour its contract properly, said Hinchcliffe. It had taken time for that gap to be addressed and that might be why dangerous defects had been found from time to time.