The government should safeguard vehicle mechanics by introducing new standards for technicians working on electrified vehicles, a motor industry body has recommended.

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At a meeting with Transport Secretary Jesse Norman, the Institute for the Motor Industry (IMI) said the government should create new regulations that ensure mechanics can work on electric and hybrid vehicles in a safe manner.

At present, the IMI says ‘have-a-go’ mechanics are putting their lives at risk when they attempt to maintain high-voltage systems in alternatively-fuelled cars.

The IMI has suggested introducing a new competency-based standard for mechanics that would help make the industry fairer and safer for independent garages that may not have access to manufacturers’ training courses on electrified vehicles.

According to the IMI, its research shows that the introduction of a licence or accreditation scheme could ‘provide businesses with a higher skilled, and fairer market when it comes to servicing and repairing new vehicle technology’.

However, the organisation’s report admitted that the automotive industry was ‘coin-operated’ and that independent garages were guilty of ‘not investing in training’ unless it was a legal requirement.

Steve Nash, chief executive at the IMI, said: ‘The IMI has outlined three recommendations for the government to consider when it comes to supporting the automotive retail sector’s transition from internal combustion engines to advanced hybrid and electric powered vehicles.

The risk to health and safety is very real and needs to be addressed with urgency. It is also vital that the regulatory mechanisms are in place to support businesses that will come into contact with these vehicles and will be made to defer business because of the lack of skills.

‘The IMI is continuing to work with government in mandating a requirement for competency-based standards to support the industry in technologically disruptive times.’