account arrow-down arrow-left arrow-right closecontact-us emailFacebookheart instagramjoin linkedin phonepinterestplaysearch twitteryoutube

I’m a member of the Nitts and Stuffs Canal Society and I only drive their dumper on their site so this scheme is nothing to do with me is it?

It depends on whether the Nitts and Stuffs Canal Society uses WRG’s Driver Authorisation Scheme. All participants in the insurances arranged by IWA need to have a process to ensure that plant and vehicle operators are appropriately trained and experienced, and WRG’s Driver Authorisation Scheme is a good means to ensure this.

What if something is not on the list?

It would be impossible to list all the bits of kit that appear on every work site. If you are going to use items of powered plant that don’t have an obvious category in the Scheme, then please contact Head Office, as we may issue one-off authorisations to a site or individuals.  Please do not think that just because it is not covered by the scheme there are no rules to using equipment – at the very least both you and the site leader have a duty to ensure that all site work is as safe, which means that operators of all machinery need to be appropriate trained and experienced. There may be legal requirements (such as the Provision and Use of Work Equipment Regulations 1998), in addition to the Driver Authorisation Scheme, that also apply.

I’m a bit confused by all these DVLA codes. Why are they now a part of the scheme?

The addition of these codes is due to major changes in the Driving Licence that were introduced from 1997. Although many people have got a driving licence for ‘just about anything with wheels’, many younger volunteers have much more specific permissions and so the scheme has to reflect that.

So should I just apply for what is on my driving licence?

No – just because you have the category on your driving licence, you won’t necessarily get an authorisation. We need to see experience of safe use of the equipment.

I don’t fit the “rules” as given in the ‘how to apply section’ – can I still apply?

Yes, a speeding fine is probably no reason to be forbidden from operating a barrow hoist! The WRG Board will consider applications that do not fit the rules, but we do have to declare all material facts to insurers and show we are not exposing them to unexpected risks, so we do need to know all these details.

I dig with both a local society that uses WRG’s Driver Authorisation Scheme, as well as with WRG. Where should I send my application?

It is probably best to send it via the local coordinator for your society.  Any skills that they are unaware of (i.e. that you only use on a Canal Camp) will be marked by the local coordinator as “cannot confirm” and the WRG Board will judge from its own records. If you send it direct to WRG then there is the possibility that we will have to refer your application back to your local coordinator to check out details that we are unsure of.

What guidance do you provide to ensure all instruction given is consistent?

We have taken the opportunity to generate a set of Instructor Guidance Notes for many of the categories in the scheme. These Guidance Notes are available from Head Office and should be used as a base for any instruction given.

I think I have adequate experience to be an instructor; what should I do?

You can apply for instructor status straight away if you wish, though the WRG Board is very careful about issuing these.  You will need to demonstrate your competence as a trainer, as well as in the use of the category of vehicle or plant concerned. Alternatively, you can attend a WRG Training Weekend where you can shadow a WRG instructor and learn from them.

I’m told that the guidance regarding minibuses drivers has changed. In what way?

There is a clause in the law that allowed volunteers to drive minibuses without D1 permission on their licence providing they met certain (complex) requirements. Previously, the WRG Board felt that these requirements were met.  However, the purchase of a new, slightly heavier, minibus means that in some cases the clause will definitely not be valid, and so only volunteers with D1 on their licence will be given authorisation to drive minibuses.

Why is ‘loading and securing plant’ separate from the Category 1b?

Because it applies to securing plant onto trailers as well. The two categories are usually taught together, but it is possible for the two to be separate, e.g. someone who is not authorised to drive Category 1b but wants to help with WRG Plant journeys. Equally, it is possible for someone to drive such a vehicle without Category 6, so long as there is no load on it.

What is a “flail”?

Our generic term for any device used for trimming hedges, grasses and vegetation – usually attached to a tractor or similar item of plant. Strimmers, clearing saws and brush cutters are outside the scope of the Scheme.

What is a “chipper”?

This refers to anything that is used to shred or chip wood and vegetation – no matter what the size. We also called it a shredder in early documents; we have changed it to ‘chipper’ as that term is more easily understood.

What are “generator based distribution systems”?

This refers to the larger, more complex generator powered systems that we encounter, particularly at festivals and any other events where the public or third parties are present. As such, it does not refer to portable generators on worksites.

What if I want to take plant on the road?

As explained on the ‘how to apply’ page you must have Authorisation for one of categories 1 to 4, 32 or 99 (to show you have ‘road sense’) as well as Authorisation for the category of plant in question. Additionally, the item of plant must be road legal, which includes having the necessary Motor Policy insurance in place.  The item of plant may also need to be registered with DVLA and bear licence plates. Please contact [email protected] for further information.

What about Chainsaws?

The use of chainsaws is completely outside WRG’s Driver Authorisation Scheme.  Our insurers require that chainsaw operators have attended an appropriate training or refresher course within the previous five years, and have been assessed as competent for the work to be undertaken.  Evidence of that training and assessment should be supplied to Head Office, where it is kept on file in case of an insurance claim.