Black Cloud SyndromeIt’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.

As ever, if you have a subject that you would like us to cover one week, please contact us by phone 01458 253682email or via our Facebook page  or by Twitter.


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.

Paper mountain

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!

Clear vision

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?



Jon Wilkins Training

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 issuedLiability for Accidents and Ill Health at Work

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

Seminar Outline

  • 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 Duration:

1 day

COURSE REF                           DATE(s)                                                LOCATION

LIAB 1601                                           Monday 4th April 2016                                          Taunton Racecourse,  TA3 7BL

Fee: £150 to include Course notes, mid-morning & afternoon refreshments, Finger buffet lunch, CPD Certificate (Fee subject to VAT)



Re-qualification First Aid at WorkFirst-Aid

This First Aid at Work Refresher course is designed for anyone who has previously completed the 3 day First Aid at Work qualification and needs to renew their skill-set and certification. This refresher lasts 2 days and secures the delegates’ qualification for a further 3 years before the course will need to be retaken.

Updated to cover the control of catastrophic bleeding


  • Course introduction.
  • Legal compliance.
  • Managing incidents.
  • Examining a casualty.
  • Conscious/unconscious casualties.
  • Treating a casualty.
  • Further emergency action.
  • General common illnesses.
  • Basic life support.
  • First aid kits/equipment.
  • Recording/reporting injuries.

Course Duration:  2 Days

COURSE REF                                DATE(s)                            LOCATION

WSG. RFAW. 1601                    14th & 15th April 2016                6 Amor Place, Taunton, Somerset TA1 4SG

The all-inclusive rate of £165.00 + vat per delegate will be payable at the time of booking.

Your staff can attend three months before the expiry date on their certificate and still retain the month of expiry on their new certificate.

They must renew no later than 28 days after their expiry date.



CDM Regulations 2015 – For the Smaller Builder

Course ObjectiveCDM for small builder

The Construction (Design and Management) Regulations 2015 (CDM 2015) come into force on the 6th of April 2015, and will apply to all construction projects in the UK incl. Domestic projects

This CDM 2015 awareness training course has been developed to provide smaller builders and tradesmen, especially those who haven’t dealt with CDM before, with an understanding of their role and responsibilities under CDM 2015.

Seminar Outline

  • Overview of the Industry accident rate
  • The Legal framework
  • Enforcement
  • Risk Assessment
  • CDM 2015 and the duty holders: Client, PD, Designers
  • Principal Contractors duties
  • Contractors duties
  • Construction Phase Plan
  • Site Safety Management
  • Benefits of Attending

This course give an overview of the requirements for smaller builders and domestic clients and how the regulations apply to all construction projects from minor repairs and decorating works through to building a new house for a domestic client.

Course Duration: 1/2 day   09:00 Hrs  to 12:30 Hrs

COURSE REF                                DATE(s)                                                LOCATION

CDM-SB-1601                                                   Tuesday 12th April 2016                         Taunton Racecourse, TA3 7BL

Fee: £80 to include Course notes, Coffee on arrival & mid-morning refreshments and a Certificate of Training   (Fee subject to VAT)

A free lunch is also included if you book this course along with the Asbestos Awareness course below.






Course Objective – Training /CPD Certificate issued Asbestos Training

Asbestos awareness training is essential for employees whose work holds the potential to expose them to asbestos. The Control of Asbestos Regulations 2012 puts a requirement on employers to ensure that their staff have undergone suitable asbestos awareness training so that they are aware of the potential dangers they may face and also the procedures they must follow in the event they are working in the vicinity of asbestos containing materials (ACMs)

Who Is This Course Suitable For?

The main groups of workers that are deemed to be at risk from asbestos exposure and therefore the groups’ most requiring asbestos awareness training are as follows:

  • General Maintenance Staff.
  • Electricians, Plumbers & Gas Fitters. Painters & Decorators.
  • Construction & Demolition Workers. Joiners and Plasterers.Asbestos
  • Computing & Telecommunications Engineers.
  • Heating & Ventilation Engineers.
  • Roofers.
  • Architects & Building Surveyors
  • Fire & Burglar Alarm Installers


  • Asbestos- a  history of use
  • What is Asbestos
  • Amosite (Brown) – Chrysotile (White) – Crocidolite (Blue)
  • Asbestos Containing Product Examples
  • Asbestos Properties and the hidden legacy of asbestosasbestos
  • Control of Asbestos Regs and Requirements
  • Exactly who is at risk
  • Action to take on discovery and Survey and Recording

Course Duration: ½ day – 13:30 Hrs to 16:30Hrs

COURSE REF                                DATE(s)                         LOCATION

ASBESTA 1601                                        Tuesday 12th April 2016           Taunton Racecourse, TA3 7BL

Fee: £65 to include Course notes, Coffee/Tea on arrival & mid-morning refreshments, CPD Certificate of Training (Fee subject to VAT)

A free lunch is also included if you book this course along with the CDM Regulations 2015 – For the Smaller Builder course above.



CDM Regulations 2015 – An Awareness CourseAPS

Course Objective  Training /CPD and APS CertificatesCDM Regulations 2015 – An Awareness Course

The Construction (Design and Management) Regulations 2015 (CDM 2015) come into force on the 6th of April 2015, and will apply to all construction projects in the UK incl. Domestic projects.

This CDM 2015 awareness training course has been developed to provide all duty holders with an understanding of their role and responsibilities under CDM 2015.

Seminar Outline

  • Introduction to CDM 2015
  • Notification
  • Client Duties and Domestic Clients
  • Principal Designer Duties
  • Principal Contractor Duties
  • Designer Duties
  • Contractor Duties
  • CDM Documentation
  • Benefits of Attending

These courses give an overview of the requirements for Clients, Principal Designers, Principal Contractors, Contractors, Designers and Workers, and how the regulations apply to construction projects.

An individual who successfully completes this CDM2015 Awareness Course may claim points towards membership of the Association for Project Safety – APS

Course Duration: 1 day

COURSE REF                                DATE(s)                                                LOCATION

CDM2015 1601                                                Monday 18th April 2016                            Taunton Racecourse, TA3 7BL

Fee: £170 to include Course notes, mid-morning & afternoon refreshments, Finger buffet lunch, a Certificate of Training and APS Certificate   (Fee subject to VAT)



If you have any questions about these courses or any other training or would like us to run a particular course for you, call Jon Wilkins of the Wilkins Safety Group on 01458 253682 or email him.


Your business is safer in our hands