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Record keeping: staying up to date

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Running a business generates a lot of paperwork. As well as keeping on top of it, you’re also trying to make sure your business continues to operate efficiently – which usually involves even more paperwork. Getting it all done is essential, but making sure you’re using the correct documents is just as important.

Traffic Commissioner for the East of England, Richard Turfitt, was taken aback recently when, at 2 separate public inquiries, he was shown safety inspection forms that were printed more than 40 years ago. These periodic maintenance inspections (PMIs) had actually been carried out in 2015, but relied on safety standards from 1972.

It’s easy to keep up with changes when you use modern technology

There have been some pretty substantial changes in operator licensing in the last 40 years and it’s now much easier to keep up with those changes, especially with modern technology. Yet running a business is still time consuming, and when we’re familiar with documents and forms, there can be a tendency to just keep using them. We can easily forget to check whether they’re the latest version or if they’re fit for purpose now. This practice is especially worrying when documents relate to safety checks.

Safety standards have evolved and improved considerably in recent years. DVSA’s Guide to Maintaining Roadworthiness was reissued in April 2014 and contains all the up-to-date advice you need to maintain your vehicles properly.

You’ll also find examples of HGV and PSV safety inspection records at Annex 5 of the Guide to Maintaining Roadworthiness.

Don’t forget to check the latest versions of the inspection manuals

Where safety inspection records are concerned, you need to make sure your vehicle is inspected against the latest inspection manual (IM). The IM numbers are always a key indicator of whether a safety inspection form is up to date. You can easily check the references on your paperwork against the latest version of the inspection manuals for heavy goods vehicles (HGVs) and public service vehicles (PSVs) on GOV.UK.

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