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Do I need an operator licence to carry scaffolding in the UK?

When diving into the world of scaffolding and transportation in the UK, one of the first questions that business owners often ask is, “Do I need a specific licence to transport my scaffolding equipment?” While the answer may seem straightforward, there are certain nuances to consider, especially if you use scaffolding lorries.

Understanding Operator Licences

In the UK, any business that uses heavy goods vehicles (HGVs) over 3.5 tonnes, like scaffolding lorries to transport goods or equipment, is generally required to hold an operator licence, this is to ensure that commercial vehicle operations are managed safely and legally.

Which Operator Licence is Right for You?

The type of operator licence you’ll need depends on the specifics of your business:

Traffic Area Consideration: It’s essential to note that you need an operator licence for each Traffic Area in which your business has a base. The UK is divided into eight traffic areas, each overseen by a Traffic Commissioner who’s responsible for issuing these licences. So, if your scaffolding business operates across multiple Traffic Areas, you must ensure you have a licence for each one.

Restricted Category Licence: For scaffolding businesses, a restricted category licence will typically suffice. This is designed for companies that only transport their own goods and equipment, and not those of third parties. So, if you’re transporting your scaffolding equipment to and from job sites, this is likely the licence for you.

Do Scaffolders Need Specific Licences?

To be clear, there are no particular licences specifically designed for scaffolders. That is, you won’t find a “scaffolding licence” that your workers need to carry. However, the requirement for an operator licence arises from the use of lorries to transport goods or equipment, not from the act of scaffolding itself.

That said, while the act of scaffolding doesn’t necessitate a specific licence, there are certain scenarios in which you or your workers might require a licence. For instance, if you operate heavy machinery or tackle particularly high-risk projects, different permits or certifications might be required. Always ensure you’re compliant with the latest UK regulations.

In Conclusion

Running a scaffolding business in the UK entails understanding and complying with specific licensing requirements, especially when using lorries to transport your equipment. Ensure that you have the appropriate operator licence for your Traffic Area and that it aligns with the nature of your business operations. Staying compliant will not only keep your business on the right side of the law but also ensure the safety and efficiency of your operations. If ever in doubt, consult with the Traffic Commissioner for your area or seek legal advice to ensure you’re following the correct procedures.

NTP Online learning can be a valuable resource to gain a better understanding of the process and requirements for obtaining an operator licence for your scaffolding business, so make sure you subscribe to our blog posts so you never miss important information.

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