Three years ago asbestos removal company Rhodar lacked a fleet manager with the purchasing department largely responsible for the fleet.
In September 2010, Steve Haigh, who has been in the automotive industry for more than 30 years, was brought in to manage the fleet.
Since his appointment, Haigh, who looks after the fleet together with transport administrator Natalie Shaw, says they have “taken the fleet by the scruff of the neck and given it a shake”.
His long list of changes include introducing fleet software, moving maintenance on the commercial fleet to pay-as-you-go, switching accident management and fuel card providers, upgraded its tracking system, fitting speed limiters to all commercial vehicles and lowering the CO2 emissions cap from 169g/km to 129g/km.
But arguably the biggest change has been a new risk management policy, which has seen a 90% fall in at-fault accidents.
The policy, Safeguard: Beyond Zero, addresses attitudes and behaviours towards health and safety.
Haigh explains: “It all stems from the industry we’re in. We’re as highly regulated as the nuclear industry because asbestos is a major issue.
“Everything we do is driven by our zero tolerance to breaches in employee safety and public safety.”
Under Safeguard, all new employees receive a driver handbook and a request for their driving licence, which is checked with the Licence Bureau before the employee is allowed to drive on company business.
All drivers undergo an on-the-road assessment at least once a year, as well as classroom-based training which includes a health and safety board game.
Fleet News: How does your board game work?
Steve Haigh: It’s a bit like Monopoly. As you move round the board and land on certain squares you have to take
a card with a question on it. It tests and refreshes drivers’ health and safety knowledge. It’s a bit of fun but it’s educational.
FN: What is your policy on accidents?
SH: We have a three strikes and you’re out rule. For the first accident we investigate it and we’ll offer tips and guidance and, potentially, a behind-the-wheel assessment.
If you have a second accident in a 12-month period you will get a behind-the-wheel assessment and tips. If you have a third accident in a 12-month period we look at whether you should be driving for us.
If you don’t have any accidents in a three-year period there is a £250 cash incentive.
FN: How do your car driver and van driver handbooks differ?
SH: We have different procedures on vehicle checks. We insist that van drivers check their vehicles daily and report defects formally. They have a form they must complete on a daily basis.
Car drivers acknowledge they are carrying out regular checks when they complete their mileage return at the end of the month.