Sometimes being a roadside fitter can be a thankless task – and a dangerous one too – out in all weathers, any time of the day or night and often working uncomfortably close to speeding traffic. Working in these conditions, fitters deserve the best in training,

It was for precisely these reasons that a group was formed, composed of manufacturers and retailers, to ensure that roadside fitters received the first class training to enable them to carry out their duties competently and safely. The group was called REACT (Roadside Emergency Action Concerning Tyres) and it came up with the Licence to Fit scheme, which certifies that the fitter has undergone thorough training in roadside working and safety procedures. This training is carried out by the equities, new tyre manufacturers and independent training providers with regular updates to keep them abreast of changes in legislation – for example Hard Shoulder Running – and to ensure that their skills are kept up to date.

Phil Thirsk is the Chair of the REACT steering committee and he says of the LtF scheme: “Replacing tyres at the roadside is a unique service that our industry provides and it comes with its own unique hazards. Employers are investing in roadside training to provide their breakdown service technicians with the best opportunities while working at the roadside, or even while working in customers’ premises.

“Fleet operators today require technicians working on their vehicles to have an understanding of health and safety and to be equipped not only with products and services but also with the right abilities.”

LtF has proved to be a great success and there are now over 100 companies participating in the scheme, which has been approved by the Highways Agency as improving working safety. Said NTDA Director Stefan Hay: “LtF has been embraced by companies of all sizes, from single depot businesses to national chains and we are well on the way to reaching, if not exceeding, our Q1 2014 target of 1,500 licensed roadside fitters.”

As well as improving safety standards and hopefully reducing the number of accidents while working roadside, LtF has another advantage, as it shows the customer that he is dealing with a professional organisation that takes safety seriously and is prepared to invest in its technicians by training them to the highest possible standards in order to work safely and efficiently. LtF-trained technicians are issued with a REACT photo ID card to prove that they have undergone the course. These are valid for five years, after which refresher training is required before a replacement card is issued. Says Phil Thirsk: “The REACT ID card proves best practice for all concerned and indicates that the tyre industry is, along with the NTDA, taking control of training in our industry.”

Is your company participating in the scheme? Are you committed to health and safety best practice and CPD? REACT now and contact the NTDA on 01296 482128 for further information.