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Royal Mail Group (SHE) Alert GP SA 2022 001 – DVSA Spot Check Visits

No. 420/2022

25 October 2022

Our Ref: V4/22

To: All Branches

Dear Colleagues,

Royal Mail Group (SHE) Alert GP SA 2022 001 – DVSA Spot Check Visits To Examine Transport & Distribution Managers & Drivers HGV Fleet Vehicles Pre-Use Safety Checks Compliance and Management of the PMT1 Fault/Defect Reporting Procedure:

What Happens When The DVSA Visit?

The DVSA will attend, usually in the form of a Traffic Examiner (TE) or a Vehicle Examiner (VE). The Traffic Examiner will focus on the vehicles’ documentation and the Vehicle Examiner will look at the vehicle maintenance regime.

This is a wake-up call for all managers as the DVSA examiners will put the system to the test and will miss nothing. If dissatisfied they can issue warnings, they can suspend the Operators ‘O’ License and ground the fleet and they can interview managers under caution and bring criminal prosecutions for failures considered to be offences under the law.

The DVSA Vehicle Examiner will typically inspect the fleet and the maintenance records.

They may want to know that all Preventative Maintenance Inspections (PMIs) and MOTs are done on time and to a good standard, and all drivers and manager pre-use checks are carried out and that fault/defects are properly identified and rectified. A Traffic Examiner will typically also want to see tachograph records and evidence that drivers are not committing offences. Failure to fully co-operate or obstructing a DVSA officer can be a criminal offence.

Background and Description

Royal Mail Group’s Safety Team have issued RMG SHE Safety Alert GP SA 2022 001 following an announcement earlier this year that the DVSA will be stepping up unannounced Safety Inspection visits to HGV Fleet Operators’ premises and that Royal Mail and Parcelforce Vehicle Operating Centres, Depots and Offices have been included in this programme.

See attached the copy of the SHE Alert issued to all Distribution Managers, Transport Managers, Traffic Office Managers etc., in local and national Fleet Operation functions and bases.

The programme of unannounced DVSA visits have been concentrating on a review of HGV vehicle pre-use checks and management of the PMT1 Fault/Defect reporting and rectification procedure. As part of Royal Mail’s Operators Licence (‘O’ Licence) obligations, Royal Mail and Parcelforce need a robust, compliant pre-use safety check procedure which includes tyre checks, defect procedure and effective vehicle management.

As a precaution prior to any further unannounced DVSA visits or DVSA roadside vehicle stops, the Royal Mail SHE Team have highlighted the importance of the above procedure and the CWU Health, Safety and Environment Department is reminding all CWU Reps and CWU members/drivers of the importance of their role and obligations to carry out vehicle pre-use checks and to report all vehicle and trailer faults and defects in the correct way.

IMPORTANT: Whilst the driver is responsible for the condition of the vehicle when in use and conducting daily walk-around checks, transport managers also have an obligation to ensure vehicles are roadworthy.

Impact and Accident/Injury Risks

Completion of vehicle pre-use checks (by both drivers and managers) is fundamental to the operation of a safe fleet. Defective or un-roadworthy vehicles significantly increase the risk of accidents, collisions and subsequent casualties.

Key PiC/Transport/Distribution/Unit Managers Actions, Messages, Learning Points

  • Failure to adequately manage vehicle pre-use checks, fault reports and inspections can result in suspension of the Royal Mail/Parcelforce ‘O’ Licence meaning that vehicles are ‘grounded’. Individual ‘O’ Licence holders may be subject to investigation by the Traffic Commissioner and may be prevented from managing fleet operations and can be prosecuted.

  • Every Royal Mail driver duty has a time allowance built-in for drivers to complete pre-use checks, which must be recorded in vehicle logbooks. The detail of required checks are covered in the vehicle logbook.

  • This is a mandatory requirement, and it is the driver’s responsibility to complete and record those checks.

  • Managers have a responsibility to ensure that vehicle checks take place, this is achieved by:

1) Ensuring all duties have adequate time built in for checks to be completed.

2) Ensuring all drivers have been trained to complete and record vehicle checks, and to report defects.

3) Completing observations to visibly monitor completion of checks – these can be incorporated into First Class Safety Conversations and recorded as ‘vehicle checks fully and effectively completed’.

4) Completing Manager’s Vehicle Checks – a minimum of 20% of the fleet must be checked by a manager each week. Managers should check logbooks to ensure vehicle checks are recorded by all drivers who used the vehicles. Managers must also complete their own vehicle check – this is not expected to identify any faults, but to ensure that drivers complete adequate checks. The Manager’s Check must also be recorded in the vehicle logbook.

  • Where defects are identified, they must be reported to the workshop using the PMT1 fault report process.

  • Un-roadworthy vehicles with faults and defects must not be operated and taken out on the road.

  • Brief and display the content of the Safety Alert to all HGV Drivers – re-fresh the message and remind drivers periodically (including agency drivers).

  • Incorporate the key messages and learning points into ‘First Class Safety Conversations’.


Please ensure that this Safety Alert is communicated/reminded and brought to the attention of all HGV member drivers and that all appropriate managers are reminded of their obligations and the need to ensure that all drivers get the message (including agency drivers) and that they deploy the above actions including manager’s vehicle pre-use checks.


  • Royal Mail Group (SHE) Alert GP SA 2022 001 – DVSA Spot Check Visits To Examine Transport & Distribution Managers & Drivers HGV Fleet Vehicles Pre-Use Safety Checks Compliance and Management of the PMT1 Fault/Defect Reporting Procedure:

Yours sincerely

Dave Joyce National Health, Safety & Environment Officer

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