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BSI confident uptake of road safety standard will increase

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Only a handful of UK employers have achieved accreditation of an international management standard for corporate road safety, two years after it was launched.

However, the British Standards Institute (BSI), the only body in the UK offering certification services for ISO 39001, said it is “not disappointed” at the take-up.

When launched by the International Standards Organisation in October 2012, ISO 39001 Road Traffic Safety Management was billed as a “practical tool for governments, vehicle fleet operators and all organisations worldwide who want to reduce death and serious injury due to road accidents”.

Charlotte Broady, UK construction and automotive specialist at BSI, told Fleet News: “It usually takes a minimum of four years for a new management system standard that is not mandated to gain any significant traction in the market.”

David Davies, executive director of Parliamentary Advisory Council for Transport Safety (PACTS), which is closely involved in the promotion and development of the accreditation, said while take-up had been slow, ISO 39001 was a tool that more employers should embrace to help them manage occupational road risk.

It is understood that fewer than 10 UK organisations have achieved ISO 39001 accreditation. They include Mark Group – the first employer to obtain certification – construction company FM Conway, FMG Support and the Institute of Advanced Motorists.

BSI said that due to client confidentiality it was unable to provide the names of accredited organisations or the number of certifications.

Overseas it is understood around 20 companies have achieved ISO 39001 accreditation, although BSI says that as there are other certification bodies it does not have access to all market data.

With several initiatives underway such as the United Nation’s Decade of Action on Road Safety and FIA Action for Road Safety, BSI expects certification to gain momentum.

Adrian Walsh, director of RoadSafe, which manages the Driving for Better Business campaign that is focused on encouraging fleets to implement occupational road risk management best practice, was a member of the UK committee run by BSI that helped draw up the standard.

He said: “If managing work-related road risk is not understood in the boardroom then it will not happen in the business. The right way to go about that is to embrace the BSI programme.”

Broady said: “With any new management system it can take time for the market to adopt it, and it is natural for organisations to take some time to implement new systems before they can consider certification.

However, she added: “We expect the number of certifications to the standard to increase.”

Conway reaps the rewards

FM Conway, which operates a fleet of almost 900 vehicles, earlier this year became the third company in Europe to achieve the standard.

An advocate of management system standards, the catalyst for the company putting itself through the accreditation process was a Transport for London (TfL) report highlighting the number of HGVs involved in road crashes with cyclists.

Dave Conway, the company’s quality and environmental manager, said: “Road safety has always been embedded in our company culture, but the TfL report increased our focus.”

Originally intending the ISO 39001 focus to be on its HGV fleet, FM Conway cascaded the work required for accreditation across its entire fleet, which includes 140 company cars, 173 small vans, 202 3.5-tonne pick-ups, 136 7.5-tonne tippers and 233 other vehicles such as tankers, mixers and grabbers.

It achieved accreditation following a 12-day audit and received a £56,000 (10%) insurance premium reduction ahead of accreditation. This was enough to cover the cost of certification and of maintaining it for the next seven years.

What’s more, within the first few months of the management system being fully operational the company recorded a cut in insurance claims of 60% versus the same period last year.

Conway said: “The benefits of a standard promoting road traffic safety could not be more compelling.”

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