David Watson Transport Ltd is one of the largest Specialist Transport companies in the UK, with nearly 100 vehicles, 160 employees and 7 depots across the country. Our fleet comprises of lorry loaders, flat beds, police-approved escort vehicles and specialist rear steering trailers.
Andrea Senior, Training Coordinator and FORS Practitioner, explains how being a member of FORS has helped them reduce their incident rate and save thousands of pounds through decreased transport-related fines and charges.
‘We first became aware of FORS as a contractual condition of working on the Crossrail project throughout London. Although it was initially a commercial decision to pursue the accreditation, we quickly realised that the benefits of working to such high standards would be of great advantage throughout all areas of the company; from ensuring the health and safety of our workforce, to potential financial savings.
David Watson Transport had their initial FORS Bronze audit back in 2009, when the scheme and audit process were very much in their infancy. Steve Frazer-Brown, H&S Director, recalls that the auditor was fair, in-depth, helpful and clearly experienced in the Transport industry. The quality of the auditors continued at subsequent re-audits, including the most recent re-audit in 2016 where, as a MOCA, the company was subject to three audits at a sample of their sites. The auditors were thorough, took time to understand the company’s systems and operations, and provided constructive feedback on further ways to improve.
We quickly saw the commercial benefits of moving through the accreditation scheme, and have been FORS Gold since 2015. As a result of this accomplishment, we have increased our client base and workload, leading to expansion of our fleet, employing more staff and even opening our 7th depot! We also have access to a wide range of benefits and discounts provided as part of the FORS scheme, including the funded training and discounted products through the FORS Associates.
Both drivers and staff have significantly benefitted from the training offered by FORS. Our Training Coordinator has completed all of the FORS Practitioner Workshops, as well as the Road Risk Champion course and award-winning TRIP training. The drivers annually complete the Work-Related Road Risk e-learning modules, and have now completed the Lo-City and Terrorism e-learning modules. As a result of applying knowledge from these courses, we have seen a reduction in our incident rates from 2017-2018 of 11%! So far in 2019 we have seen a further 3% decrease in incidents.
‘The main benefit of the FORS Practitioner Workshops is the opportunity you get to join a support network of like-minded people. Knowing that everyone in that room is there because they represent an organisation committed to improving their own operations and, consequently, the overall safety of the industry, offers the opportunity to share ideas and best practice.’ (Andrea Senior, Training Coordinator and FORS Practitioner)
“As a keen cyclist, knowing that there are now so many vehicles on the road that comply with the FORS standards and have additional safety equipment to help protect cyclists and other vulnerable road users means that I would certainly feel safe cycling in London now. It is comforting to know that, not only do drivers have these extra safety features, but have also attended training that gives them a greater sympathy towards the challenges faced by cyclists” (Martin Dean, Health & Safety Manager)
|Number of PCNs||% successfully appealed||Total savings for company|
- ‘Damage-Only’ incidents have seen an 11% reduction from 2017 to 2018. We have worked hard on ensuring drivers are reporting the incidents as soon as possible; our insurers reported that out FNOL figures are one of the best compared to their other fleet customers, with more than 2/3 of incidents being reported same day. We continue to encourage our drivers to report ALL incidents, no matter how small, so that we can continue to work with our insurers to analyse trends and reduce the number of incidents overall. In terms of our PCNs, we have seen a 32% reduction in Moving Traffic Offences and an overall 14% reduction in PCNs. We successfully appealed/charged back to customers or drivers approximately £4800 worth of charges.
- Driver Health & Fitness Review – our drivers are subject to HGV medicals and Safety Critical Worker medicals; prior to employment staff must complete a Pre-Employment Health Questionnaire; upon commencement of employment drivers have to complete a Health Check Questionnaire listing a number of conditions that can affect their ability to drive; drivers keep us updated of changes to medical conditions through 6-monthly updates
- Recruitment of drivers – As a company we have several measures in place to try and encourage young/new drivers to the company: Recruitment advertising through social media; Licence upgrades for Class C drivers; Nationally recognised training, such as ALLMI Lorry Loader & Slinger/Signaller, ADR and ITSSAR Forklift. In addition, we have advertised in a military publication, held Recruitment Open Days at our depots, are currently looking into HGV apprenticeships for existing employees and offer existing staff a referral bonus.
- Noise assessment – Following completion of noise assessments at all of our depots we have implemented the following: Only procure Euro VI vehicles; instructions are given to staff to ensure vehicles are switched off during cleaning, including audio equipment if the depots are located near residential areas. Cleaning must be carried out during normal office hours only (8am – 6pm) and in the allocated space at the depot to reduce noise pollution; drivers of non-Euro VI vehicles must turn off their engines whilst sat in traffic/on site; this is detailed in our Engine Idling Policy.
- Modal shift and alternative vehicles – Although we were unable to find an alternative mode of transport to cover one of our typical loads, we are still making a conscious effort to try and reduce our overall fuel consumption/emissions through the following: 3 of the company cars are hybrid vehicles, The majority of our staff have completed the Lo-City e-learning modules, and 60% of our drivers have completed the Safe and Fuel Efficient Driving course with our trained instructor; Where possible, travel by the Training Coordinator to training courses/events is by public transport.
In order to make continual fleet improvements we will continue to procure vehicles that are Euro VI and above, and those that comply with Direct Vision Standard. As CLOCS Champions and FORS Gold operators, David Watson Transport plan to take part in ‘Exchanging Places’ events with local schools, as well as promoting careers in the Transport Industry through school career fairs and presentations.
We have positively promoted FORS by including that we are FORS Gold operators in all of our job adverts, promotion on Facebook and social media, all email footers contain the FORS logo and our HGV fleet, which displays the FORS logo. We also expect relevant contractors we work with to adopt the FORS standards. As such, we will be writing to all new contractors asking them to complete our supplier approval questionnaire and agree to the terms and conditions which will stipulate FORS Bronze as a minimum.
David Watson Transport’s ethos is ‘Setting the standards for others to follow’ – being FORS Gold operators enables us to demonstrate this to our peers, existing and potential customers. It demonstrates that we are committed to safety and doing what we can to protect vulnerable road users and improving the overall image of professionalism within the industry. We will continue to embrace the principles of the standard to ensure that our company is one of the best in the industry and to help attract new talent to the industry.
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*Please note: All published FORS Gold case studies have been submitted by the accredited company named above and transcribed verbatim