The ARTSA Institute (ARTSA-i) recently unveiled a good Practice Guide, which aims to raise awareness of suppliers, purchasers and installers of safety-critical replacement parts about supply practices.
The Guide describes actions that suppliers should take to ensure parts are suitably certified, that records are kept and installation information is provided. The Guide does not favour original equipment parts over after-market parts. Nor does it favour bricks and mortar retailers over online suppliers. It provides common-sense actions that all part suppliers should take, but often don’t.
“We aim to reduce the risk of workshops fitting poor quality or inadequately rated safety-critical parts as well as providing an understanding of the different types of replacement parts available in the market,” said Dr Peter Hart, Executive Member at ARSTA-i and a certified vehicle engineer.
“Operators should purchase good-value parts for heavy vehicles that will provide safe, reliable, and legal performance. The Guide defines acceptable supply practice and advises purchasers what to expect from suppliers. The use of poor-quality parts leaves the operator vulnerable to expensive breakdowns and reworks, enforcement attention and loss of insurance cover. For this latter reason alone every vehicle operator is urged to ensure that their in-house technicians or third-party workshops and suppliers fit parts that are suitable for the job.
“We want to reduce the risk of in-service failure of all replacement parts, to avoid the vehicle crashing, or simply breaking down on the highway where they may be vulnerable to impact by other road users, potentially causing death, injury, loss or damage. We believe these risks can be mitigated if replacement parts suppliers implement the quality-assurance activities specified in this new Guide.”
The Guide recognises four risk levels which are:
- Safety Critical
- Safety and Compliant Relevant
- Minor Safety Relevance and
- No Safety and Compliance Concerns.
The Guide’s advice is graduated according to these levels.
By implementing the Guide’s suggestions suppliers will identify appropriate technical standards, hold validation test reports, keep supply records, review failure reports, and provide installation information.
The Guide is applicable to replacement parts which are used to replace an original part, and for parts that are used to modify a vehicle.
This Guide identifies good practices that will support suppliers, purchasers, operators, and others involved in the servicing or modification of heavy vehicles, to enhance the safety and reputation of the road transport sector. Additionally, the purchaser and fitter of these parts will have peace-of-mind that they have completed satisfactorily their role in the chain of responsibility.