The Irish Tyre Industry Association (ITIA) has introduced a new initiative to ensure tyre fitters and repairers keep safe in carrying out their work on our motorways.
The REACT (Roadside Emergency Action Concerning Tyres) initiative was launched recently with representatives from the Road Safety Authority, the Health and Safety Authority, Irish Road Haulage Association and FTA Ireland in attendance. On completion of a training day, technicians will be accredited with a REACT card, which the ITIA would like to see become mandatory for roadside fitters.
The initiative follows a similar programme in the UK launched by the National Tyre Distributors Association (NTDA) in 2011, with the objective of licensing all tyre technicians working on commercial tyres at the roadside, with the backing of the Highways Agency. The scheme records and monitors the training of technicians attending truck tyre associated break-downs on motorways, dual carriage ways and trunk roads.
Commenting on the initiative, the new Chief Executive of the ITIA, Donal Dempsey, said: “Research suggests that a quarter of truck breakdowns on motorways are tyre related. Working on the roadside is one of the most dangerous environments facing tyre technicians, where dangers from passing traffic are often compounded by adverse weather conditions. The ITIA believes professional training is required to ensure the safety of these technicians.
“We would like to see this training become mandatory to the point where a break-down vehicle could be removed from the roadside by the NRA or Gardai for not having a valid REACT Card.”
It is envisaged that the lead in period for full compliance would be three years and that each card issued would be valid for five years. A technician would then have to undergo a re-training day to be re–certified.
The REACT Card would be issued to the tyre technician and not the employer, helping to make qualified technicians more valuable. The training covers areas such as essential service vehicle equipment and personal protective equipment, pre-breakdown planning and risk assessment, making the area safe and leaving the scene safely.
The initial series of training days have sold out and further courses are likely to take place later in the year.