You know the scenario, you are driving to an important meeting and travelling down the road you hear the slap, slap of a flat tyre. What do you do? Perhaps more importantly, what should your staff do if they have a flat tyre?
Do you allow your staff to change the wheels on their vehicles in the event of a puncture?
If you do, you could be giving yourself a potential headache for the future.
Some of the newer vehicles on the market do not even have spare wheels, they are fitted with ‘run-flat’ tyres, which in my opinion are safer than standard tyres insomuch that you can continue driving at a reduced speed to a safe place before stopping. They also reduce the risk of collision in the event of an instantaneous failure or ‘blow-out’ of the tyre.
For those of us with standard tyres, the issues caused by a flat tyre are a little more involved. Most new cars are fitted with alloy wheels rather than steel ones and the refitting of wheel nuts to an alloy wheel requires certain equipment not provided with the vehicle by the manufacturers. The changing of wheels also needs to be done by a competent person. More so if it is by the side of a road. The side of the road is a really dangerous place, and as the speed of the road increases so do the dangers.
Based on all the evidence and considering the legislation, you should be prohibiting the changing of wheels by your drivers on a number of grounds.
- They are not trained to change wheels, so if the wheel subsequently falls of, who will be liable. As a Provider of the vehicle and the tools you could be prosecuted under the Provision of Work Equipment Regulations (1998)
- They do not have the correct equipment. Jacks provided with cars are usually quite basic and none of the vehicles has a torque wrench issued by the manufacturer, despite one being a necessity for alloy wheels.
- The side of a road is a highly dangerous place.
My advice to you is to call out the professional tyre companies who have mobile vans that are properly equipped to sort out your problem in a way that is both safe and competently done.