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Minibus Safety what equipment do I need?

Remaining compliant and within the law is an important consideration for any minibus operator, we are often asked by companies what safety equipment do I need to be compliant, Whereas this list is not intended to be exhaustive it includes products that we are able to assist you with.

  • Fire Extinguishers

Schedule 7 of the Road Vehicles (Construction and Use) Regulations 1986 states that Minibuses must have a fire extinguisher that conforms to BS5423 (more recent legislation relating to fire extinguishers mean it must also conform to BS EN3 1996)

It is recommended that an extinguisher filled with Foam and must have a minimum test rating of 8A and 21B. Halon extinguishers are no longer legal in vehicles. A suitable one can be found here

If some passengers are using wheelchairs then two extinguishers should be carried aboard the vehicle one being in the passenger section of the vehicle.

Extinguishers should be tested normally once a year, some may have an expiry date and once this is reached they should be replaced.

It is advised that drivers are trained in the use of fire extinguishers and know where they are in the vehicle also the evacuation of the vehicle in the event of fire.

  • First Aid Kits

The same legislation also states that Minibuses must also carry a firs aid kit, there are several versions of PSV/PCV first aid kit available but they must include as a minimum the following items

10 x Antiseptic wipes (foil Backed)

1 x Conforming bandage (not less than 7.5cm wide

2 x Triangular bandages

3 x Large sterile unmediated ambulance dressing (not less than 15cm x 20cm)

2 x Sterile eye pads with attachments

12 x Assorted safety pins

1 x packet assorted adhesive dressings

1 x pair disposable gloves

1 x pair of rust free blunt-ended scissors

One of our most popular first aid kits which complies with this can be found here

All items in the first aid kit need to be kept in date if the date has passed they need to be replaced, if any items are used they also need to be replaced before the vehicle is used again.

The items should be kept in a suitable container which is clearly marked as a first aid kit and the driver should know where in the vehicles this is kept.

  • Safety Signs

There are a number of safety signs that should displayed in the vehicle so that all passengers can clearly see, a No-Smoking sign has been a legal requirement for over a decade now. Also it is the responsibility of the operator to ensure all passengers wear seatbelts while travelling on the vehicle, this can be done by an announcement before the journey begins but an easier alternative is to place a seat belt sign/sticker within sight of each seat which has a seat belt fitted.

We supply various safety signs for vehicles and they can be viewed here

When carrying school children it is legal requirement to display a school bus sign both at the front and the rear of the vehicle.

These need to be reflective, the front should be a minimum of 25cm x 25cm and the rear a minimum of 45cm x 45cm.

When there are no children on the bus these should be removed, there are several different fixing methods available and these can be viewed here

Why do wheels come off HGV and PCV’s and does it matter?

Having been involved in the Heavy Goods Vehicle (HGV) and Passenger Carrying Vehicles (PCV) industry for over 20 years I have always been conscious that wheel loss has been a long standing industry problem however it hadn’t really affected me, that changed a few weeks ago.

Driving along a busy dual carriageway with my family I was suddenly aware of a wheel leave a coach in front of me cross both carriage ways and run up the embankment on the other side.

Does wheel loss matter? If I had been travelling a little faster that wheel would have hit my car and possible hurt my family or myself. It mattered to the people travelling on the coach as their excursion was interrupted and it mattered to the operator and driver who had to sort out the problem.

Still don’t think it is a problem watch this short clip I found on Youtube,

So why do wheels come off?

Having spoken to many operators some have never lost a wheel in forty years of business another I spoke to had lost a wheel which caused a fatality, there are several reasons why wheels become detached from HGV and PSV vehicles, some of which I list below:

Poor Maintenance – Possible the most obvious cause and the easiest to remedy, wheels and studs need to be checked for defect before fitment there should be no cracks in the wheel and stud holes should not be elongated. The wheel and hub need to be free of rust and any loose paint wire brushed off, any rust on the studs should also be removed and the studs should lightly oiled.

Stretched Studs – Wheels are held on by a finite clamping force. When fitting wheels the nuts should be wound onto the stud by hand and then tightened to the correct torque with a torque wrench this varies between 500Nm- 850Nm. If a power wrench is used to fit the wheel there is a danger of over torqueing and stretching the stud, this will cause the stud to lose its elasticity and could lose clamping force.

Change of Temperature – If a vehicle is driving in an inner city it will be doing a lot of braking this can cause the wheel and hubs to become hot, the same is if the vehicle is driving in very hilly or mountainous areas. If there is then a sudden storm with heavy rain causing puddles, floods etc. there is a possibility the wheels will come into sudden contact with cold water which will cause the steel to contract and wheel to lose torque.

There are other possible reasons why wheels become detached, there also tried and proven ways to prevent this happening. Apart from good maintenance there are several products on the market that can prevent operators becoming a victim of wheel loss.