Case Study - Transport Operator
produced by arch.law
Following a period of rapid expansion with an increase in the number of depots to 12 and a fleet increase from 250 vehicles to over 400 vehicles, a transport operator needed to review their fleet risk management/ prevention, work related road risk and road safety policies.
Working in collaboration with Andrew Drewary, several issues were identified that needed to be resolved. The operator sought the assistance of the specialist fleet risk management/ prevention services he provided.
Areas of Concern
An increase in depots and fleet size identified a number of fleet safety concerns which needed resolving such as:
- Inconsistent reporting of collision investigation & analysis processes throughout multiple depots
- Incomplete records monitoring exposure from collisions and incidents
- Diminished control over fleet risk management/prevention and road safety
- Potential and actual cost of exposure unknown
- Problem Third Party loading issues resulting in potential fatal/catastrophic collisions.
To fully understand the potential risks and cost exposure, new processes were required to enable the company to identify all risks involving a fleet vehicle.
The only way to do this was to implement a ‘zero tolerance’ towards reporting every collision or incident whether or not a Third Party was involved. This was further expanded to include the reporting of near miss incidents that could ultimately lead to a future collision or serious incident if not acted upon.
This was regardless of whether the collision, incident or near miss was: minor or serious; fault or non-fault; injury or no injury; or a claim was likely to be made or not.
An initial 6-month action plan was devised and agreed with the Health & Safety and Compliance Manager, who acted as liaison with the Board for sign off. The actions and results of the plan are detailed as follows:
- All Depot Managers took a ‘zero tolerance’ towards all collisions, incidents and near misses and communicated to all employees. Each issue had to be reported immediately or as soon as practically possible to a central contact point, their internal Insurance Department overseen by the Health & Safety and Compliance Manager. This centralised the reporting processes for all depots improving consistency and accuracy of the information obtained.
- Central contact instructed an investigation within 48 hours of a collision/incident/near miss.
- Each driver or employee involved was interviewed the within 48 hours of the instruction when possible. This involved an in depth interview to gather all the relevant information while it was still current.
- In addition, and when necessary we analysed: in-cab video footage; telematics/tachograph data; training records; delivery/collection site procedures and emergency services reports.
- All potential witnesses were interviewed and the collision/incident location visited, if necessary.
- Upon review of all the evidence a formal report was produced detailing findings, concerns and recommendations.
- Harsh braking analysis. Vehicles fitted with 3/4G cameras allowed us to receive an email alert within a minute of a harsh braking incident. Each alert was reviewed for actual collisions and near misses. A report was provided which detailed our findings, identifying good and bad practice, breaches of Highway Code, breaches in company procedures if known and driver behaviour.
- 2 full days of basic collision investigation and analysis training was provided to all the Depot Managers.
- Continual analysis of all collisions/incidents/near misses was carried out to identify the root causes and trends. This allowed a structured and considered approach for recommendations to be implemented without disruption to the business.
- Relevant guidance and literature were provided for a revised driver handbook. DfT THINK! Road Safety Campaign leaflets regarding drink driving drug driving; mobile phone use; driving while tired and speeding are now issued to each driver on a regular basis.
- A new Vulnerable Road Users Policy was implemented and meets FORS/CLOCS standards. All suppliers within the customers supply chain to adhere to and meet the same standards.
The results produced from the actions taken and implemented have been very impressive. There is now a structured and an extremely robust internal collision reporting, investigation and analysis process that is consistent throughout the company.
The processes implemented have enabled the transport operators to:
- make substantial savings across the business through improved fleet risk management/ prevention.
- manage work related road risk.
- improve road safety.
- implement a new Vulnerable Road Users Policy
- identify all current areas of potential risk within their fleet.
- identify the exact cost of potential exposure from their fleet and the risk to the business.
- train all Depot Managers to work to the same processes and standards.
- centralise and improve consistency of reporting collisions, incidents and near misses with the use of specialised Health & Safety software.
- identify root causes and trends for all collisions, incidents and near misses.
- revise strapping of steel coils which had been incorrectly secured by steel manufacturer.
- identify the problems with Third Party suppliers and revise agreements.
- implement recommendations through structured processes.
- improve employee engagement and understand how issues affect them.
- improve driver and employee behaviour towards their job, vehicles and equipment.
- revise their driver handbook.
- revise drug and alcohol testing policy - all potential new employees are now subject to a pre-employment drug and alcohol tests and random tests conducted across all depots.
- recommend proactive measures to reduce future collisions or incidents.
This resulted in substantial savings across the business, a reduction in claims exposure, improved claims management and reserves, significantly improved safety performance and a massive change towards a positive driving culture. In addition, improved fleet compliance was recognised by the Traffic Commissioner, which ultimately increased protection to brand reputation.
A detailed statistical analysis of 154 cases investigated during the initial 15-month period showed the transport operator had a potential cost exposure to risk in region of £1,425,000 across the business involving a fleet vehicle.
However, with the successful implementation of new procedures and processes during this period resulted in savings in the region of £780,000.
Finally, the transport operator’s collision rate was originally at 24% but this was reduced to 7%.
Andrew Drewary, arch.resource member
Charlotte Le Maire, arch.portfolio member