Breakdown-vehicle-recovering-a-car-to-PAS-43-standardsVehicle operators providing roadside recovery and repair services on roads throughout the UK must demonstrate that they have taken suitable precautions to protect their roadside workers.

Statistics from HSE show that working roadside can be a dangerous job. Though exact figures are not available because many road traffic incidents (RTIs) are not reported to HSE, there are several deaths from this work activity every year.

Suitable precautions include:
  • Training for technicians
  • Risk assessments
  • High visibility protective clothing for operators working in all weather conditions
  • Maintenance of vehicles and premises used by the operator.

PAS 43 standard

The PAS 43 standard for the safe working of vehicle breakdown and recovery operators was sponsored by SURVIVE, a partnership between the UK government, the Police Service, motoring service organisations and the motoring industry.

PAS 43:2018 is a management system that helps improve the safety of vehicle breakdown and recovery operators and their customers when they are attending an incident.

PAS 43 certification also demonstrates to authorities and organisations who purchase breakdown, recovery and removal services, that the company tendering for the business has achieved a recognised standard. A database is maintained on the SURVIVE website to enable organisations to check certificates are current and verify for themselves the validity of a recovery operators’ certification. All the operators listed on the database have been certified by a UKAS accredited Certification Body to ensure they meet the relevant procedures and training to a recognised standard.

Police, Highways Authority and motoring organisations will often require operators to be PAS 43 certified before they can tender for work with these organisations.

NHSS 17 and 17 B

National Highways Sector Schemes (NHSS) are quality management systems for organisations involved in activities relating to the UK road network such as landscaping, road surfacing and traffic management.

NHSS 17 and 17 B specifically cover vehicle recovery at highway construction sites and controlled roads for Highways England. The standard has recently been revised to fall in line with the ISO 9001:2015 revision and PAS 43: 2018 to allow easier integration using the ANNEX SL format.

Safe working practices for roadside operators

Training for your technicians needs to be regularly reviewed. As an employer it is your responsibility to provide suitable health and safety training that they need to carry out their work. Changes to highways, new technology and safety equipment is constantly evolving, for example:
  • The introduction of smart motorways means that operators may have to recover a vehicle that is in a live lane on a smart motorway with no hard shoulder. New procedures need to be followed with lane closures and reduction of speed limits coordinated by Highways England. Traffic officers or the Police may also be needed to support the recovery and keep your technicians safe
  • Protective workwear and equipment should be regularly inspected, maintained and renewed. Clothing must comply with EN20471 Class 3 and be suitable for use in all weather conditions. Damaged clothing or soiled high visibility workwear will lose their Hi-Vis properties if not maintained regularly
  • A proposal has recently been moved for debate through Westminster to change the amber warning lights to red on recovery vehicles and to discuss whether smart motorways are currently safe enough for roadside recovery.
Implementing a recognised standard such as PAS 43 and/or NHSS 17 and 17B will provide a management system to help you to monitor your procedures and safety standards to keep you up to date with the latest legislation and keep your technicians and their customers safe when carrying out roadside recovery.
To keep your recovery technicians safe on the UK road network call us or get a PAS 43 quote.