Tanker drivers transport bulk materials and liquids by road.

What does a tanker driver do?

A tanker driver role will:

  • check the delivery schedule and note any special instructions
  • supervise or help to load the tanker
  • carry out safety checks before setting off
  • travel to the delivery site
  • cone off an area to unload the tanker, for example at a petrol station
  • connect hoses or pumps, or remove manhole covers to unload materials into fuel tanks or storage silos
  • update paperwork and make sure relevant staff sign for deliveries
  • keep accurate records of driving hours and activities using a tachograph system

Drivers are also responsible for safety and will need to respond quickly to in-cab warning systems. For example, when cornering, alerts may indicate the possibility of overturning due to the load shifting suddenly.

They'll also identify mechanical or electrical faults with the tanker when out on the road and carry out minor repairs.

What do I need to do to become a tanker driver?

You will need a large goods vehicle (LGV) licence, with between one and two years' experience of driving lorries, to become a tanker driver. You will also need the Certificate of Professional Competence (Driver CPC).

Please see the job profile for Large goods vehicle driver in the Related careers list for details on how to get your LGV licence and Driver CPC.

If you don't have the required licences, you can start off as a 'crew' person, accompanying a qualified driver whilst you train.

If you are working with hazardous goods, for example fuel oil, you will also need an ADR driver training certificate. ADR is the shortened name for the European Agreement concerning the International Carriage of Dangerous Goods by Road.

Your employer may offer you the opportunity to take ADR training, so that you can carry a wider range of loads, or you may wish to pay for this yourself to improve your job prospects. 

You can find LGV training providers in your region through local telephone and business directories, or by searching online. You can also check for providers on the Joint Approvals Unit for Periodic Training (JAUPT) website.

The JAUPT site lists providers of refresher training for qualified LGV drivers but many of these also offer initial LGV and ADR training. It is recommended that you compare several providers before signing up, to see what they offer and to make sure it fits your needs.

You can find out more about licensing for lorry and tanker drivers on the GOV.UK website.

Related skills

  • Discipline
  • Physical fitness
  • Time management

Essential qualifications

  • Certificate of Professional Competence (Driver CPC)

Where to find out more

Where could I be working?

You may also drive loads from the UK to Europe, if your employer has overseas contracts.

Contains public sector information licensed under the Open Government Licence v3.0

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