Did you know it is the operators of commercial vehicles who are responsible for ensuring vehicles are properly maintained and all equipment, including tipping gear, is in good working order, under health and safety legislation. Operators could arguably be defined as the vehicle’s owner, the fleet manager or the driver, so to avoid the pitfalls of tipper maintenance and protect your fleet, follow a few simple steps we have for you here.
Understandably, many operators rely on the manufacturer’s maintenance packages to keep their vehicles in good health. What they don’t realise is that unless clearly stated, many of these packages don’t include inspection or maintenance of tipping equipment. Further, should the tipping equipment fail as a result of the poor maintenance, it is the operator that would be responsible in the view of the HSE.
The Edbro brand is known globally for manufacturing some of the lightest and most reliable tipping cylinders currently on the market. Part of the JOST Group, Edbro cylinders are found on vehicles the world over from 7.5-44 tonne trucks and larger vehicles for off-highway applications. Its products are well known for their reliability, often outlasting the life of the vehicle. However, this is only possible when they are properly maintained. Some end users don’t benefit from this level of reliability due to simple omissions made during routine maintenance.
Danny Broomfield, Sales Director for JOST UK, explains: “All of our cylinders are capable of lasting the life of the vehicle, no matter what the application. But the fact of the matter is they contain moving parts, so therefore must be properly maintained and inspected to avoid premature failure. You’d never dream of running an engine year after year without regular maintenance, and it shouldn’t be any different for your tipping equipment.
“Every year we’re approached by operators that have experienced a failure that would have been easily avoided if simple checks had been carried out on a regular basis. They often assume that the tipping equipment has been inspected as part of the manufacturer’s service package, but, unless it’s expressly stated to be the case in the service agreement, it’s unlikely to have been included.”
According to the HSE: “By law, every employer must make sure that work equipment is maintained in an efficient state, in efficient working order and in good repair.” It’s the responsibility of management to ensure that regular preventative maintenance inspections are made, paying special attention to hydraulic hoses, rams and moving parts. This includes providing a list of daily, weekly and monthly checks which should be signed off and recorded.
There is currently no standard certificate of conformity for inspecting and maintaining tipping gear and accessories, but this doesn’t mean that owners and operators aren’t responsible. Rather, it is their responsibility to find out what the maintenance requirements are and to keep a log of the actions carried out.
Broomfield continued: “At JOST we recommend a simple process of visual and mechanical checks that shouldn’t take any more than 15 minutes each week. These checks will allow a driver to notice any potential problems and address them before they result in a failure.
“Even when a problem is identified, in most cases it is a simple in-house maintenance job to put them right. Unfortunately for many operators, when these issues aren’t spotted in time, they can result in repair bills reaching into the tens of thousands of pounds.
“We regularly see examples where the tipping bed is running metal on metal with the chassis or where the hinge bush has completely worn. It’s no surprise that these parts will wear, but they are easily replaced and should be spotted before they lead to further damage.”
Edbro is proud of the reliability of its products and wants to ensure that all of its customers reap the benefits. Its engineers will happily provide free onsite training and general advice on basic vehicle maintenance to make sure your drivers and engineers know what to look out for. Equally you can take your vehicle to an Edbro distributor who can carry out an inspection and maintenance service for you.
Taking matter into your own hands regarding tipper maintenance is the only way to protect yourself from liability should the worst happen. It’s also the best way to ensure you get the best value for money out of your equipment.