It Ain’t Heavy – It’s my Ladder!
Roofing contractors are being advised to make sure that they are not overloading their vehicles as it may invalidate their driving licences. In a rule that only applies to those who passed their driving tests after 1st January, 1997, those who wish to exceed a given weight limit may need to take an additional driving test in order to drive legally in their works van.
This mostly affects younger drivers and many are unaware that their licence limits them to driving vans that weigh less than 3,500kg when fully loaded. Allowances must be made for the weight of the driver, as well as the vehicle and any equipment carried in it.
Many van drivers do not factor in the weight of the load they are carrying when driving a works vehicle, wrongly assuming that the weight limit applies only to the vehicle itself and not the contents. This is not the case and a van that exceeds the weight limit when loaded represents a safety hazard.
Most medium sized vans weight around 2,000kg. However, when you add in the weight of a full load, the driver, and in some cases a work colleague passenger, it’s pretty easy to exceed the weight limit of 3,500kg.
Any driver who is involved in a road accident while driving a van that exceeds the weight limit will be deemed not qualified to drive the vehicle which, in turn, will result in their insurance not being valid. While most van drivers are aware that they can only drive vans with loads up to 3,500kg, most believe that they are within the legal limits as long as the van itself is under such weight.
The tools of the trade for roofing contractors are usually quite heavy – steel ladders, toolboxes, materials and fittings all add to the overall weight of the vehicle, as does the driver and passengers. Going over the limit without being aware of doing so is easily done. The best way to avoid this is to visit a local weighbridge to check the van’s fully loaded weight when it’s packed with a full complement of tools and materials. It’s fairly simple and a great way to making sure you stay within the law when driving a van load of heavy equipment.
It’s definitely worth making the effort to check the weight of your fully loaded van as going over the limit by as little as 1kg means that you would effectively be driving without either a licence or insurance. This could lead to a heavy fine and even disqualification, without a driving licence, getting to work with all your tools in future would be impossible, so it could also lead to the loss of your job.