Fleet safety contributes to a healthy and productive workforce at Clancy Docwra

Posted: 11/13/2017
The Clancy Group Plc is one of the largest privately owned construction firms in the UK. With almost sixty years’ experience and a workforce of over 2500, it has worked hard to develop a reputation as a well-run business that can be trusted to deliver value for money essential services that help keep the UK running. In keeping with this ethos, Colin Knight, head of fleet management and compliance talks to Utility Fleet about managing drivers, reducing risk and getting everyone to buy-in to the company’s safety culture.

Describe your role as Head of Fleet Management and Compliance at The Clancy Group.

My role is to lead the Fleet Safety Management & Compliance team at the Clancy Group and to deliver expert guidance and technical assistance on policy and solution development across Clancy Docwra.
My main objective is delivering an end-to-end return on fleet investment both financially and culturally. Safety interventions are in line with the organisation’s Fleet Safety Strategy, whilst providing a quantifiable return on investment.

Why is it important to take a hands-on approach to managing risk?

​Although we value and utilise our third party providers we have taken a hands-on approach through transforming the way we collect, collate and distribute our fleet data. We are experiencing tangible benefits to driver safety and cost reduction. We now use data to influence our KPIs and to drive continual improvement across our business. We use a combination of financial and behavioural metrics which allows us to translate the data firstly into strategy and then ownership as the data guides the content of our in-house driver and manager training interventions.

In what ways do you manage driver risk?

We firmly believe that a healthy workforce is a productive and safe workforce and the board recognises the role it has in ensuring that whilst at work our employees’ health and wellbeing is not adversely impacted upon and this, of course, expands to occupational driving. Over the past two years we have invested significantly in fleet safety technology and recruited highly qualified fleet safety professionals to assist us with our 2020 vision and to defend three main areas of our operations:
​• Our drivers and other road users
• Our Brand
• The financial implications of neglected fleet safety management

To that end, we aim to provide a systematic, methodical and sensible approach to managing our road risk by ensuring we implement data-driven driver safety interventions. We use a third party online driver risk management system which includes a driving licence check and risk assessment. This initial screening is now strategically linked to our adoption of the GDE Matrix and the HSE Plan-Do-Check-Act cycle of continual improvement both of which form the framework of our interventions. We also conduct drug and alcohol screening for all new drivers as well as conducting drug and alcohol tests after road traffic collisions.
Have you fitted your vehicles with any additional technology to help reduce the amount of low-level incidents/ insurance claims?

We have fitted forward facing cameras in company cars and a selection of commercial vehicles with telematics/black box technology fitted to nearly every company-owned vehicle within the fleet. We also have speed limiters fitted to our van fleet and utilise reversing aids. We have employed a full-time Fleet Safety Data Performance Analyst, who collects, collates and distributes data from all of our systems allowing the Fleet Safety Management & Compliance team to create data-driven performance improvement KPIs and training interventions to our wider business.

What kind of improvements have you seen in terms of accident reduction and cost savings?

With driver and other road user safety paramount, car-derived vans are fitted with speed limiters governed to 70mph and other light commercial vehicles limited to 62mph. Speed limiters were introduced almost seven years ago and, in the first 12 months, delivered fuel savings of about £300,000. Collision data is analysed on a daily basis, and high-risk groups identified. A monthly summary is generated and communicated back to the wider business, identifying drivers, vehicles and any associated costs to the business. A Key Performance Indicator for this metric is the Collision Frequency Rate. This is calculated as the percentage of drivers in the fleet that are involved in a collision in a month. For comparison, the annual figure in the table above is the percentage of drivers in the fleet that are involved in a collision in a year, divided by 12. Our telematics service provider generates a driver score for each vehicle in the fleet which is evaluated on a monthly basis. In this instance, a lower score indicates a better driving style (see table below). The score is calculated based on the
number of speeding, harsh braking, steering, and acceleration events, as well as time spent idling and time and
distance driven.
How important is communication – with drivers, other departments and management – when managing and
implementing changes?

We have increased communication of driver scores back to employees and across the wider business, which has driven the average score across the fleet consistently downwards. Furthermore, the number of ‘at fault’ claims and overall claims has dropped by 20% and 15% respectively over the last 12 months.

​What types of vehicles make up your fleet?

We manage a fleet of approximately 2060 vehicles ranging from: Company cars; Privately owned cars; Light
commercial vehicles (LCV); Car driver vans; 7.5 tonne cargo units; 32 tonne tipper grabs; 26 tonne wagons and; 18 tonne beavertail trucks.

Do you run any pure EVs and if so does The Clancy Group have the infrastructure to support these vehicles on sites?

Presently an all-diesel fleet, pure electric and hybrid electric vehicles have been investigated but a combination of battery range and payload constraints make them operationally unsuitable for the group at this moment in time. However, trials are on-going with various manufacturers.

Have you looked at any other types of alternatively fuelled vehicles such as hydrogen or CNG – perhaps with a view to replacing diesel?

As a business we are aiming to reduce our carbon emissions by 25% by 2020, so alternatively-fuelled vehicles
are of interest and we could use them on contracts in urban areas if they were viable.

How do you address the issue of vehicle security, in particular with respect to break-ins – is it an issue only for drivers who take vehicles home in the evening?

In light of the recent terrorist atrocities in London and Manchester, drivers and their managers have been given a toolbox talk to ensure the security of our vehicles is maintained as best as possible. Drivers are required to ensure all the doors are locked when driving in towns and cities. When working on the public highway, all doors to the vehicle must be kept locked at all times. In addition, all drivers and their managers have been reminded to ensure the security of their vehicle and any additional deadlock fitted to the cargo doors is correctly locked before leaving the vehicle unattended overnight. Break-ins and attempted break-ins are a problem for us that we are always working to fix.

Does your fleet have any accreditations, and do you see this as important?

The Clancy Group was awarded the Gold Fleet Safety accolade from RoSPA in June this year which reinforces that fleet safety management and compliance is engrained into the DNA of our business. Through the RoSPA Awards scheme, which is open to businesses and organisations of all types and sizes from across the UK and overseas, judges consider entrants’ overarching occupational health and safety management systems, including practices such as leadership and workforce involvement. It was a double celebration for the Clancy Group at the RoSPA Awards as we also picked up a Gold Award for Health & Safety. The Clancy Group has recently been successfully audited for reassessment to FORS (Fleet Operators Recognition Scheme) and is also accredited under the FTA Van Excellence Scheme.

Do you have any issues when it comes to finding the right staff – such as HGV drivers?

We do not have any issues finding the right staff to drive our HGVs as the Clancy Group is a desirable company to work for. We have our in-house Driver CPC training team so we can ensure we deliver the highest driver education to our new and existing drivers. Our brand image is very important to the business and everyone who works for us knows it. We recently had a horse rider post some footage on our Clancy Plant Facebook account praising the actions of one of our beavertail drivers in Northumberland. The video has to-date, received over 340 thousand views. Our driver spotted the horse rider in the distance on a rural road and pulled over immediately and turned his engine off. Needless to say, the horse rider was very thankful and shared the video. Our drivers are a credit to our Business.