TELECOMMUNICATIONS giant BT has put health and safety at the top of its fleet agenda with a plan to put 5,000 of its line managers who have responsibility for company car drivers through a series of safety workshops.
The aim of the programme, believed to be one of the largest ever undertaken in the fleet industry, is to reduce accident rates and cut costs.
BT's Group Safety Department and Peak Performance Management have jointly developed the workshop sessions that will be held over the next two years. The phone giant operates about 40,000 liveried light and heavy commercial vehicles and a further 14,000 company cars.
BT calculates that if it can cut its accident rate by 10%, it will pay for the line manager workshop programme 10 times over in reduced repair costs alone.
Reduced vehicle downtime is also expected to boost productivity at the company. Those behind the workshops, which start next month, say they will explain to managers how they can make a difference by applying health and safety management techniques to occupational road risk issues.
They also can access advice and guidance on a variety of issues, including mobile phone policy, licence checking, use of hire cars, driver fatigue, driving hours, vehicle checks and maintenance, from a specially- designed website to back up what they learn.
BT Group safety adviser Dave Wallington said: 'In the past we have focused our attention on individual drivers and the maintenance of their vehicles, but we now want our managers to show greater involvement and demonstrate that they are committed to the health and safety of their people.
'This course is designed to help them fulfil this role and apply our safety management approach to road risk issues throughout the company. We have worked very closely with Peak Performance to put this programme together and believe it will have a significant impact on our safety performance.'
Director of risk management at Peak Performance, Les Hammond, said: 'The workshops are designed to give BT managers the tools and information to be effective immediately on completion of the course.
'They will cover all the manager's areas of responsibility towards their drivers, including all legal, moral, health and safety, duty of care and human resources issues to ensure they are fully informed and provided with all the tools they need to do the job.'