Fleet News

Mitie becomes business champion

Mitie has become the latest organisation to join the RoadSafe-managed Driving for Better Business campaign as a business champion.

The strong growth of the business has resulted in the company fleet doubling in the last five years to almost 6,400 vehicles, however Mitie has retained a top quartile road incident ratio within its fleet benchmarking peer group.

The company’s work-related road safety strategy is championed by chief executive Ruby McGregor-Smith, who said, “We are delighted that our initiatives to provide a safe working environment for all of our drivers has been recognised by the campaign.

“We see achieving high standards of health and safety performance as a part of good overall management. Health and safety, which includes fleet risk management, is the first agenda item at every board meeting. This makes sure that we formally review our risks, control programmes and performance.

“Our board and management view the safety of our employees as paramount. Fleet risk has a major focus as it is our most significant risk. Looking after our people in whatever work they undertake for Mitie makes good business sense.”

Bristol-based Mitie’s fleet includes more than 3,500 light commercial vehicles, almost 2,300 company cars and 31 HGVs, with a further 600 employees driving their own cars on business.
In total the company has 10,000 drivers and last year it completed a root and branch review of occupational road risk policies and procedures. That review resulted in the establishment of a Fleet Risk Management Steering Group, supported by the executive board.

Consequently, a series of new initiatives were introduced to further improve fleet risk management.

They included:

  • Publication of the firm’s first drivers’ handbook setting out the CEO’s expectation and requirements for all employees driving on MITIE business
  • On-line licence checking
  • The issuing of vehicle accident reporting packs to drivers
  • Fitting reversing parking sensors to commercial vehicles as a result of a review of the top three causes of incidents
  • The holding of driver awareness and managing occupational road risk workshops as well as vehicle specific induction, classroom and in-car driver training
  • Driver risk assessment and profiling using a series of data sets to identify driving hazards resulting in the implementation of controls to reduce the risk as far as reasonably practicable.
  • The development of a fleet insurance dashboard comprising easy to visualise current fleet key performance indicators to monitor effective monitoring performance and enable targeted interventions to occur where required
  • Fleet risk management benchmarking
  • Regular communication with drivers on specific areas of risk such as winter driving and tyre awareness.

Richard White, Mitie’s head of quality, health, safety and environment (QHSE), is responsible for strategy implementation. He said, “The driver handbook explains the key requirements to follow when undertaking one of the highest risk work activities - driving. All drivers must read, fully understand and follow the instructions and recommendations in the booklet every time they drive.

“When driving for Mitie our staff are ambassadors for the company, so they must make sure they always drive in a courteous, responsible manner.

“We believe that the principal benefit of any fleet risk management programme is ensuring our people go home safely from work every day. It is our intention therefore to deliver a fleet risk management programme that places the safety of our people as the focal point” Mr White said.

“We also recognise that a safe driver is a more economical driver through improved fuel consumption and reduced vehicle service, maintenance and repair costs. Fuel efficient driving results in fuel savings and reduced CO2 emissions. As a result of new vehicle procurement practices and driver training our fleet-related CO2 emissions show a year on year improving trend.”

Mitie employees do not have an immediate right to drive on business. In addition to a full UK driving licence valid for the type of vehicle driven, staff must complete a health declaration and a driver declaration. Only then will managers inform employees that they are authorised to drive on company business.

For higher risk drivers - including those with more than nine points on their driving licence, those who have been previously banned for 12 months or more and those with certain medical conditions - authorisation from Mitie’s insurance department is required.

White said, “Occupational road risk is the highest risk item on Mitie’s QHSE risk register and, as such, forms a principal part of the audit programme.

“As a result of the implementation of the comprehensive fleet risk management programme, we have improved our KPIs (key performance indicators) relating to incident rates, both in number and severity.

“Benchmarking is central to understanding where Mitie sits not only among our peer fleet group but also the non-peer group. It is our belief that collision ratios provide an overall measure of the effectiveness of an organisation’s fleet risk management culture and performance.

“It is our understanding, based on peer group comparison and feedback from our insurers, that our current accident ratio performance puts Mitie in the top quartile within our fleet benchmarking peer group.”

Campaign director Caroline Turner said, “Mitie has made huge strides to raise awareness of the importance of safe driving across its rapidly expanding business.

“The company has recognised that implementing a comprehensive road risk management strategy has multiple spin-offs. In addition to improving its duty of care towards its employees, it is recording financial savings as a result of fewer accidents, improved vehicle MPG and lower maintenance costs.”

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