Thames Materials Ltd – Our FORS Journey

Thames Materials Ltd have been trading since 1995 and our core business is the removal, transfer and recycling of construction waste materials and the supply of primary and recycled aggregates. We operate a modern fleet of tipper and grab lorries as well as facilities for recycling of construction materials in Harefield in West London. My name is Patrick Hourihane and I am the Transport Manager at Thames Materials. Thames Materials has benefited across the whole company through our participation with FORS. We have seen reductions across various areas of the company. There have been reductions in fuel usage, accidents and transport related fines. We believe that these reductions are down to FORS and the benefits of being pats of the organisation. FORS toolbox talks and educating drivers though the e-Learning process are key behind these reductions. The emphasis on training and educating drivers into safer and more efficient driving is the main driving force behind these reductions.

We first heard about FORS through transport publications and then as a result of our involvement in large scale projects in central London. The construction industry really took on the FORS scheme and pushed it forward. The benefits of being part of the scheme are numerous, the tools available assist with our aim of continuous improvement for safety and the environment and the knowledge that we are working together sharing Industry best practice is rewarding. Displaying the FORS Logo shows existing and potential new clients the quality of service and standards they are to receive and that supports the Thames Materials approach to business. Our FORS number shows how early we got on board.

We were delighted to pass our Bronze audit again earlier this year. Passing this first time shows we are maintaining the basic standards. This gives us confidence that our processes and procedures are appropriate. Due to our success at the Bronze audits, it gives us the encouragement to progress with our Silver and Gold applications.

After passing Bronze we were able to use the tools and connections made available to us from the FORS network to help us progress the Silver & Gold. This opened doors to similar likeminded companies who had the same drive for improvement as us. This can be seen though our reduction in fuel & accidents.

Reductions can be directly linked to FORS training tool kits, performance management tools and safety equipment’.: Patrick Hourihane, Transport manager.

The key benefit we have seen in the past number of years has been a reduction in both accident and fuel usage. Fuel usages has a direct link with harmful gasses. By reducing the amount of fuel and constantly investing in the newest vehicles with cleaner engines we have reduced the amount of harmful gases produced. These reductions can be directly linked to FORS training tool kits, performance management tools and safety equipment. With progression in FORS the emphasis is put on safety equipment and driver training. We feel this is a good direction and in line with FORS have done the same resulting in reductions across the fleet.

‘We can see the drivers are getting on board with the training and can see the benefits in safer more efficient driving’. Patrick Hourihane, Transport Manager.

Following our progression to Bronze to Silver going for Gold felt like the right thing to do. We have been with FORS for a period of time and had seen the benefits it had to offer us. For us being able to display the FORS logo proudly meant a lot to us. Even better if we could display the highest standard. By achieving the highest standard, it showed our commitment to the organisation. The main benefit displaying the logo is to spread the awareness to everyone else. The realisation that making small, often straight forward changes can have a major impact. We hold regular toolbox talks which are easily downloaded from the FORS website. We found that the anti-idling has been very beneficial in leading to a reduction in fuel and emissions as lorries aren’t excessively running. Similar to our Bronze audit we also passed out Silver audit earlier this year. We are very happy with tis progress. Its important to stay up to date with the latest information and publications. Without this progression would not be possible.

Fuel Used Incidents per 100,000 Kms

Number of PCNs

Jan-Dec 2017 826,217 7 7
Jan-Dec 2018 825,929 7 4
Jan-Dec 2019 782,289 3 4
Percentage improvement 60% 50%

*Annual improvement in MPG and Incidents per 100,000 Kms

  • All drivers are regularly checked for their health and fitness. We complete 6 monthly eyesight checks & medical declaration. We are following all government guidelines regarding social distancing & enforcing quarantine where applicable.
  • We recruit by word of mouth. We know that when a vacancy comes up, drivers talk to drivers and it is mostly from our own drivers’ recommendations that we get drivers. We have opened our doors to younger less experienced driver who are willing to be thought. This has worked out for us in recent times. We don’t use agency drivers.
  • In line with FORS all vehicles have been fitted with white noise beepers which operate on a switch. We have also had night heaters fitted to cut out excessive idling on cold morning. Noise assessment has been carried out in our yard and steps are in place to reduce noise where possible. All employees are issued with ear protection. All lorries also fitted with 4 way recording cameras and new lorries are fitted with the passenger door window.
  • Due to the nature of our work, modal shift is difficult. We have looked at a number of options such as rail and water. We do now dispose of some material by rail however lorries are still required to the transport the material to the rail depot. Disposal by water isn’t an option unless the job is located on the banks of the river.

We are keen to continually improve, learn form best practice and ultimately make the working environment safer, cleaner and more efficient for all concerned. All vehicles have been fitted with the lower passenger door glass for increased visibility. We will look at increasing driver monitoring when it comes to their health and fatigue. We will also continue with driver training. We believe that a more alert and better educated driver is a safer driver.

More and more customers require FORS registration and we are proud to be able to confirm that we have been associated with the scheme for many years.

We would be delighted to retain our Gold accreditation and continue this association for many more years.

*Please note: All published FORS Gold case studies have been submitted by the accredited company named above and transcribed verbatim