The Importance of Spot Checks - You Might Be Surprised by What You Find

What spot checks do you, or your Transport Manager, carry out within your operation?

When did you last carry out spot checks? Spot checks are vital to ensure standards are being maintained, and nobody within the operation is attempting to deceive yourself.

You might be surprised by what you find.

Within even the most thorough operations, things can sometimes slip through the cracks if there is not continuous and effective control and monitoring of all processes within the operation. Spot checks are a vital way of monitoring the operations systems for compliance, by randomly checking processes without giving those involved any prewarning. It is often a natural response to want to double check that everything is up to standard before our boss assesses our work – however this can be a disadvantage when you want to check whether, and how, the compliance systems of your operation are implemented. Knowing about such assessments of our work can lead to us, inadvertently or intentionally, being deceptive about the quality of our work on a day-to-day basis. What is the best way to minimise this? Spot checks.

A recent training exercise at a clients in which a couple members of our team were involved, revealed some unexpected compliance issues for the operation concerned. Whilst carrying out a walk around check on a vehicle, we discovered a device had been used to cause the vehicle to believe the seat belt was being used when it in fact wasn’t – this enabled the driver to drive without putting their seatbelt on. On a planned cab check, where the driver is warned, it is reasonable to suspect the driver would have removed this device. Without carrying out a spot check, the transport manager would have never discovered it, would have been oblivious to the drivers’ dangerous habit and no action would have been taken. This discovery came as a surprise to the transport manager – this was one of the operations most proficient drivers.

Device in place

Device removed

A second issue was also found – when pushing on the tyres lightly to check their pressures, the rear offsider inner tyre wobbled on and off the wheel – it was completely flat. There was no trailer coupled, which made checking the condition of the inner tyres considerably easier than otherwise. Fortunately, their tyre maintenance provider was contacted immediately and was able to come out that same day to resolve the issue.

This was just what we discovered on one vehicle at one operation – an operation that on the whole is very capable and comprehensive with their compliance. What have you found before on spot checks? What might you find next time? Spot checks should be carried out on all aspects of your operation to ensure the implementation of all the necessary systems for compliance. As transport manager or director, you must display continuous and effective management of the operation. Spot checks are a vital part of this.

If you would like an assessment of your current operation or a full audit to ensure every detail is correct please call A S Miles Consulting on 01455 389053 or email


by Paul Evanson

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