Home Resources Blog October 2015

Speedy Hire's Fleet Savings

28 October 2015
Louis Wustemann introduces Jocelyn Dorrell’s case study of how a firm saved £400,000 through safety improvements.

In 2012 Ian Leonard (head of transport at construction plant hire firm Speedy Services), began to look in earnest at reducing road accidents and improving the safety of its drivers and other road users.

“Because we do not allocate the vehicle to the person — we allocate vehicles to a depot — we have an ownership issue and a consequence issue,” he explains. “Things can get neglected and go unreported.”

Reviewing accidents

The company introduced a comprehensive accident review system to tackle the problem, followed by clear procedures for working with drivers involved in accidents. Bolstered by an investment in vehicle safety features, Speedy’s focus on driver safety has seen the company:

  • reduce accidents
  • make a significant dent in its insurance premium that repays the investment many times
  • provide leadership in fleet management
  • secured a clutch of industry safety awards.

Speedy Services’ fleet of 580 company cars, 900 light vans, and 190 heavy goods vehicles (HGVs) is all its own. The firm does not hire out vehicles; they are used only to deliver equipment and tools to its construction sector customers, including Balfour Beatty, Costain, Mace and Morgan Sindall.
In mid-2012, the transport team formed a post-accident review group (PARG), comprising:

  • Leonard (responsible for collating and reviewing incident data for the road transport team)
  • an IT representative (to advise on the data collection systems)
  • a board sponsor (the health and safety director) to be present at approximately 1/4 meetings.

Having established the review group, Leonard, and his team designed a set of measures for any employee involved in a road accident, to dispel the sense that an accident was not the driver’s responsibility.

Improved safety policy

After a first accident, the individual must complete an online driver assessment from the Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents. Following a second accident, the employee is referred to Speedy’s training academy, based in Tamworth in the Midlands, for a half-day classroom session on safe driving skills.

A third accident triggers another referral to the training academy, but this time a trainer from Tamworth will come to spend a half day with the employee to assess their driving. This is a pass/fail assessment.

“If there’s a fourth accident, we refer the individual to HR,” Leonard says. “At this point, it is either a case of the employee ignoring what we are advising them or they are incompetent. Either way, at this stage it is a HR issue.”

Speedy has also made significant investments in vehicle safety features.

“We decided to equip all vehicles with a four-way CCTV camera system, which includes side sensors to detect cyclists” explains Leonard. The camera system views the front, rear, left and right of the vehicle and is controlled automatically via the indicator stalk or the gear shift. The screen is located so the driver can view it quickly, without compromising their vision through the windscreen. The side sensors sound an alarm if they detect anything near the vehicle when the driver is indicating, and also warn the individual beside the vehicle that it is turning left.

Speedy’s 900 vans are fitted with fall arrest systems and a bespoke clamping system — the ladder-lock system — at the back to secure long items such as ladders.

Around 12 months ago, Leonard’s team took the decision to fit 30 vans operating in London with cameras as a trial. He said, touching wood for luck, “Not one of the vans have been involved in a reversing incident in 12 months”.

The results of the trial suggest cameras are more effective than reversing sensors, which some drivers ignored. The transport team is considering specifying cameras instead of sensors when it replaces around 600 vans next year.

Delivering safety improvements

As a result of its incident investigation program and improved fleet safety features, Speedy’s road accident numbers have dropped from 825 in 2010 to 684 in 2014. Vehicle accidents reported within three days rose from 58% to almost 70% in the same period, and the average cost of claims fell from £2674 to just over £2000, with the number of large claims over £25,000 down by three-quarters.

Speedy has been able to negotiate what Leonard describes as “a very, very competitive deal” with its insurer, which saved the firm £400,000 on its premium. Alongside the support he receives from the board, Leonard views the relationship between the company and its insurer as pivotal to successful road safety management.

OHSAS 18001 requires organizations to review safety processes and procedures periodically to promote continuous performance improvements.

Biffa achieved a 40% reduction in serious incident levels as a result of combining its’ safety innovation campaign ‘I for Safety’ with its’ NQA certified OHSAS 18001 certified health and safety management system.
For the full version of this article, go to http://www.healthandsafetyatwork.com