HR support for the transport sector
HR management and HR support for the transport sector and logistics sector has a wide remit with its own unique challenges. Personnel expect to work in a wide range of environments and locations, unlike any other sector.
The sector covers organisations offering transport solutions across rail, road, air, and sea.
Managing HR issues in a highly regulated environment
There are many HR challenges faced by organisations in the transport sector, such as long working hours, complex shift patterns, the necessity for skills and development and stringent regulations.
Department for Transport
The Department for Transport reported that there are twice as many journeys being made in the UK today, as there were in 1970.
This figure is likely to rise due to increases in funds for motorway upgrades, the creation of the HS2 and the new runway at Heathrow Airport.
Further figures show:
- Rail travel has increased 129% since privatisation in 1994-95
- Light goods vehicles, miles travelled has increased 19.7% 2012-2016
- Miles travelled by HGV’s increased 4.6% over the same period
- Air travel increased with a similar percentage over the same period
The e-retail and ‘gig economy’ is the biggest contributor to the increases in light goods vehicle road traffic and cycle or courier delivery services.
Recruitment challenges for the transport and logistics sector
Long periods away from home, poor pay, increase in traffic congestion and legislation can be seen as a disadvantage for many people, increasing the complication of recruiting and retaining high-quality staff.
HR teams help to re-brand the image of the logistics sector a and work to maintain organisations’ culture and ethics, even when most staff works remotely.
HR consultants help logistics organisations preserve and prosper company culture by:
- Offering all-encompassing employment packages
- Opening up communication channels
- Setting objectives that demonstrate how an individual’s tasks feed into the overall companies goals
Health and safety for transport organisations
To ensure safety for your staff members, other road users and your cargo you need to recruit skilled and responsible drivers.
Screening processes such as drug and alcohol tests and the checking of previous records are necessary to safeguard the quality of your staff.
If no proper care is taken to attract the right candidates and with the use of strict screening processes many candidates would instantly be excluded for selection, highlighting the need to attract genuine applicants through a structured recruitment process.
Restrictions for the transport sector
In addition to the working time directive limiting maximum working hours to 48 hours a week, the transport sector has further stringent restrictions.
Drivers of vehicles with a gross train mass that exceeds 3.5 tonnes face a restriction due to tachographs (Taco’s).
The origin of tachographs goes back to Daniel Tachograph, who implemented a similar system for train drivers in 1844 and first appeared on the roads in Germany in 1953 for vehicles larger than 7.5 tonnes. With the advent of the EEC, the use of Taco’s was put into law in 1985, causing a change in the transport sector.
May 1st 2006
Any of these large vehicles with manufacture dates after May 1st, 2006 now needs to have a digital tachograph.
The use of a tachograph allows for:
- 9 hours driving a day standard, up to 10 hours twice a week
- No more than 56 hours in a week
- No more than 90 hours in a consecutive 2 week period
- 45-minute breaks every 4.5 hours which can be split as long as one of the breaks is 30 minutes or more and the total exceeds 45 minutes
HR functions need to ensure that policies are in place, training is available and observance of rules is in place. Fines range from £2,500 to 2 years custodial sentences.
Both drivers and businesses can receive these penalties.
Employee license checks in the transport sector
A key part of the employee screening process is the driver license check. This, after successful completion of the application process, needs to be repeated annually.
As it is illegal to undertake duties in the transportation sector without a valid license, not putting regular checkpoints in place can invalidate any insurance policies you have.
The HR department supports the logistics department with checking:
- The licence is valid
- The driver can drive the correct vehicles
- Whether or not there are any current endorsements on the licence
- Whether or not the employee is disqualified
Dismissals due to statutory restriction
It is legally fair to dismiss an employee if you show that the reason for dismissal is a ‘statutory restriction’ that prevents the employee to continue their normal duties.
A man works in the transport sector as a lorry driver and loses his licence. As a result, he can no longer drive.
However, before you can dismiss an employee on such grounds you will need to ascertain whether:
- Driving is a fundamental part of their role
- How long they are likely to be disqualified for
- If the employee can be redeployed within the business
If you do not undertake these checks, you can expose yourself to grounds of unfair dismissal. It is far more prudent to clearly define the rules within the driver’s contract and perform regular checks.
PeoplePointHR HR support services for the transport and logistics sector
With many years of experience providing HR solutions for clients in the transport and logistics sector, PeoplePointHR are perfectly placed to offer the HR support services you need.
With a range of cost-effective solutions available to our clients, outsourcing your HR to PeoplePointHR will allow your business to focus on your core activities. Contact us today for more information on 0330 555 2555.