It’s funny how things sometimes turn up together. I recently had a chat with a postman who told me that he has had to go on a driving course through work, after he had scraped the van on his round one day.
Then, over this weekend I read this special post by RoSPA’s Fleet Safety Audit Manager, Colin Knight, who explores the steps line managers can take to fine-tune their behavioural safety skill set and keep their drivers safe. As this was such an excellent article, I have shared it with you here.
If you employ any drivers, be you a delivery company like the Royal Mail, or run a fleet of lorries, run a taxi company or just have some drivers working for you and you give them targets to meet; then you should read this article and check that you aren’t causing black clouds within your organisation
This week’s 2 recent HSE cases look at Asbestos and an update about Didcot
- Brian Hockin, aged 58, was removing an old warm air heating system at a residential property on Williams Close, Wrafton when he disturbed a quantity of asbestos insulation board that surrounded the warm air boiler.
- This is a joint statement on behalf of Thames Valley Police and the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) following the partial building collapse at Didcot power station on 23 February.
The ‘black cloud syndrome’
One of the fundamental skills of anyone responsible for fleet safety management is the ability to connect and engage with drivers in order to promote driver safety and well being.
However, all too often line managers are catapulted into running a fleet from another part of the business, and as a result end up focusing on productivity and efficiency rather than health and safety.
For many line managers, health and safety paperwork only exists in case something goes wrong rather than to educate, inform and improve driver safety standards.
Unfortunately, this can lead to a lack of accountability and responsibility from both management and drivers, as the paperwork that sits in the filing cabinet or lies dormant on the hard drive has little or no value on a day-to-day basis.
The bottom line is, even if an organisation has all of the paperwork in place – risk assessments, driver training records, driving licence records, vehicle checks, telemetry data, it won’t stop a crash from happening, the only thing that can do that is us, people!
It’s essential, therefore, for line managers to translate their behavioural safety skills towards fleet safety management.
It may sound obvious, but for many managers under pressure to reach productivity and efficiency targets, driver and vehicle safety often get compromised, or in some cases completely overlooked. An increased responsibility for safety, an attention to the lifestyles of drivers and, not least, an awareness of the organisational pressures that drivers are placed under, is crucial to ensure driver safety and well-being remain at the forefront of an organisation’s philosophy.
In the case of running a fleet of vehicles in sectors such as energy, logistics and retail, there is little more dangerous than an ‘us and them’ mentality between the management and the driving populations. The message of safety should be underpinned by a clear vision and strategy and, more importantly, understood by everyone within the organisation, from the CEO downwards.
The Black Cloud Syndrome
This is a term used to describe a poor or fragmented organisational safety culture relating to driving for work. Although this term may sound unfamiliar, nearly every organisation has one to some extent.
Here’s an example that might be familiar:
Andy is a delivery driver for an on-line shopping retailer. Lately, he and some of his colleagues have been feeling disillusioned at work due to the introduction of a same day delivery service increasing the pressure to make sure their deliveries arrive at the customers addresses on time. Because of the new service, Andy and the other drivers are being forced to wait longer for their vans to be loaded causing them to be late for their deliveries.
To make things worse, Andy’s Line Manager has recently logged on to his vehicle telematicsportal to assess and evaluate his recent driving style and behaviour. Andy’s reports have flagged up numerous occasions where harsh braking and acceleration events have taken place and on a couple of occasions, speeding has been identified.
On one particular report, Andy’s Line Manager was able to track his performance over the course of his shift and noticed that his first harsh braking event occurred before he had even left the gates of the store. In addition, a reduction in his overall MPG has also been identified within his reports.
Because of the nature of the telemetry reports, Andy has been told he must attend an in-vehicle training course to improve his driving. Although Andy has never been involved in an incident during his driving career and has held a clean driving licence for over 20 years, his line manager told him that it was company policy to arrange driver training for anyone who has been identified as being in the high-risk category for their vehicle telemetry data.
As it happens, Andy performed extremely well during his driving session. His telemetry data was fine and he received a glowing report from his trainer. The next day however, when the pressure was back on, his telemetry data started to look bad again.
Now ask yourself, is Andy’s telemetry data demonstrating that he is at high risk or is it the management of staff back at the store that is ultimately creating the road risk?
As the above example illustrates, line managers and senior managers can make a real difference within their organisation by simply stepping back to view the world through the eyes of a driver. A simple nudge in a different direction can pay dividends towards improving both health and safety and operating costs.
Back to basics
With the ever-advancing vehicle technologies available to fleet operators and the role of fleet manager outsourced by many organisations, it’s easy to see how accountability, responsibility and basic behavioural safety (or common sense) can become diluted.
Although vehicle technology should be embraced for its capabilities to improve safety, costs and efficiency, it can be counter productive if used in the wrong way.
For some organisations this can breed a culture of poor driver and manager behaviour, especially when everyone is too busy focussing on hitting targets that simple fixes to simple issues get overlooked.
So, what’s causing the black clouds within your organisation and what simple nudges need to be made to create a sunnier outlook?
We shall be running new courses again in 2016 and the dates and details of forthcoming courses will be published here each week.
But remember we are still available for running “In House” courses and we have now also added a new training service for our customers.
Site Manager Safety Training Scheme
(Part of Construction Skills “Site Safety Plus” Suite of Courses)
We have formed an association with a local company TQ Excel who are one of the UK’s leading providers of accredited training to the highways sector of the construction industry.
AS a result of this we can now offer the SMSTS (Site Management Safety Training Scheme)
The Site Management Safety Training Scheme forms part of the Construction Skills (CITB) Site Safety Plus range of courses which are highly regarded within the construction industry.
The 5 day training course is aimed at site managers wishing to develop a more in depth legal, moral and social understanding of their role and also teaches delegates how to manage on-site health and safety in accordance with current legislation.
We also offer the 2 day SSSTS Training Course (Site Supervisor Safety Training Scheme) which is a 2 day course aimed at those with on-site supervisory responsibilities.
We also can now offer NRSWA courses.
These qualifications are for those involved in the Excavation and Re-instatement of the highway and are specified under the New Roads and Street Works Act 1991. They are a legal requirement for “statutory undertakers” (i.e. Utility Contractors) and for those working under “section 50 licenses” (Drainage works etc).
Where works are subject to the Act there must be a minimum of 1 qualified operative on every site that is qualified for the operations being carried out and there must be a Supervisor available to visit the site at least on a daily basis.
The qualifications are also often specified by client organisations and local authorities when appointing contractors for works involving excavation or reinstatement of the highway for other purposes.
The first of our courses are:
Liability for Accidents and Ill Health at Work
Seminar Objective – Training /CPD Certificate issued
This one day course looks at your liability, as Company Owner, Director, or Manager. The course will look at a number of case studies and explain the legal requirements of the Employer, Managers, and your Safety Adviser
- Legal framework and legislation (Criminal and civil liabilities)
- Roles and responsibilities of Directors, senior management team and the H&S Advisers
- An HSE Investigation
- Criminal Law – Who’s Liable
- The New powers of the Courts
- Compensation – Who’s Liable
- Corporate Manslaughter – The key things to know
- When it is the employee’s fault
- How to reduce your liability as an employer
- How you could be personally liable
- Successful cases against Health & Safety Advisers
Benefits of Attending
- By attending this course you will understand your liability regarding Health & Safety at work. And what you need to do to protect yourself and your business.
- How the Authorities investigate incidents and how the courts fine you.
COURSE REF DATE(s) LOCATION
LIAB 1601 Monday 4th April 2016 Taunton Racecourse, TA3 7BL