saddle’ to improve awareness of where the dangers exist when coming into proximity with an HGV. Further safety training extends to loading and unloading, driver fitness and health, and road risk. FORS members quickly learn that safe, efficient, and environmentally protective operation can deliver tangible commercial benefits. FORS is a progressive accreditation scheme where members embark upon their best practice journey at FORS Bronze level and, at their own pace, are encouraged to progress through to FORS Gold. At all stages of the process, training and practical guidance have shown repeatedly that adopting best practices can bring financial rewards.
A complete resource of workshops, courses, eLearning modules and toolkits are available to FORS members.
O’Donovan Waste Disposal, the company that loaned an eight-wheel tipper for the FORS’s school awareness event, has been a FORS Gold member for six consecutive years and can testify to the commercial rewards of operational best practice, as advocated by FORS. Managing director Jacqueline O’Donovan is a high-profile representative of SMEs in the transport industry and a staunch supporter of safety initiatives. She says: ‘Since we embarked upon our journey with FORS, we’ve introduced best practice throughout the operation. The result has been greater fleet efficiency in the shape of improved fuel economy, fewer Penalty Charge Notices and a reduction in collisions – all helping to improve the bottom line.’ Jacqueline adds that it is crucial that construction and logistics firms invest in the training and development of their drivers, in order for the industry to make meaningful strides forward. ‘We consider our staff our biggest asset, so we believe that by ensuring that we operate to the highest standards, this benefits all road users. We pride ourselves on our standards of road safety and have a shared vision with all staff in our business to continue to promote best practice and operate as safely and efficiently as possible.’ However, she cautions that drivers must also have the right tools for the job. ‘That’s why we have invested heavily in a modern HGV fleet fitted with the latest safety systems, such as CCTV, left-turn audible sensors, and side-scan systems. All our drivers have completed supplementary driver training including the Safe Urban Driving and Sharing London’s Roads courses.’
Safety O’Donovan was the first company commercially to acquire the revolutionary direct vision Mercedes Benz Econic 4x2 skip loader
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1830L, highlighting its ongoing aim to raise the bar for safety in the industry. O’Donovan has put seven of these vehicles to work on London’s roads. The Econic has a wide field of vision thanks to its deep panoramic windscreen, as well as a fully-glazed floor-to-ceiling ‘bus style’ nearside door, which provides direct visibility of the nearside blind-spot – a particular issue for cyclists with traditional trucks. The vehicle also has a lowered driving position to put the driver at eye level with both cyclists and pedestrians. Also in London, FORS Gold member Quattro (UK) has demonstrated how it has improved its safety record by 7.4% and decreased its transport-related fines and charges by 54% – all with support from FORS. The company says that FORS has benefited its operations through the eLearning modules, and meeting just the FORS Bronze standard helped Quattro improve its road safety record, resulted in a major reduction in penalty charge notices and a 1.65% increase in MPG performance. ‘We intend to stay at the top of our profession by demonstrating our commitment to road safety, reducing our effect on the environment and continuing to be market leaders in our industry,’ says the company. ‘We are very proud of our FORS Gold status as this confirms the progressive nature of our business ethos, our commitments to vulnerable road users, road safety, the environment and our customers.’
Delivering the message Through the FORS Professional training programme, FORS places great emphasis on education. A complete resource of workshops, courses, eLearning modules and toolkits are available to FORS members. Since it was established ten years ago, FORS has delivered 128,000 eLearning modules, while drivers and managers have filled over 106,000 places on various courses and workshops – many of which are either directly focused on, or contain reference to, the safety message. Paul Wilkes says: ‘Trucks and vans are simply not going to disappear from our towns and cities, and they are going to remain in close proximity to other road users. Initiatives and charities such as Brake bring the issue of road awareness to the wider community. FORS exists to drive up operational standards for its members and, indeed, the wider transport industry. In so doing, road safety is placed top of the agenda among operators. Not only does it reduce accident rates, it boosts the reputation of the transport industry and it also helps to make our members more efficient and more profitable.’