A NEW health and safety training accreditation scheme for potato bulker drivers has been launched by the British Potato Council.

From July 1 2005, drivers must have been trained in order to work at any Frozen and Chilled Potato Processors Association (FCPPA) site, said the BPC.

The BPC estimate this could affect 1,500 drivers from both farms and haulage companies and will run the training through regional centres around the country.

“This is a voluntary scheme but recognises the need for the industry to adopt a proactive approach to health & safety,” said BPC supply chain manager Phil Bradshaw.

“Safety training has received huge industry backing to help ensure driver safety when loading and unloading bulkers on farm and at the processing factory.”

Training will be extended to farm loader operators in April, complementing current materials handling certification.

For information about the safe potato handling training scheme and details of regional training centres visit www.potato.org.uk.