blu-3 (UK) Limited is a fully integrated infrastructure provider delivering expertise and knowledge to the UK and Europe’s largest construction projects. Its head office in Larkfield, Kent is supported by additional sites in strategic locations across the South East. Matthew Bennett, Fleet Transport Manager for blu-3 (UK) Limited, explains how the company has continued to increase the average mpg of its vehicles whilst simultaneously reducing fuel usage, carbon dioxide emissions, accident frequency and overall distance covered since joining FORS and passing its first bronze accreditation in 2009. This not only benefits blu-3 (UK) Limited but more importantly, members of the public, other road users and the environment.
We were first introduced to FORS in January 2009 by officers of the HGV traffic division of the Metropolitan Police Service. At the time, the Metropolitan Police Service was promoting FORS on behalf of the Mayor of London to improve the standards of HGV operators based in London boroughs. We recognised that attaining FORS standards would help us to achieve best practice with regards to our transport operations and would complement the many accreditations we hold from governing bodies within the construction industry.
The initial FORS bronze audit was daunting to begin with but the auditor quickly put us at ease. Working together, we realised that many of the systems and processes required (risk assessments, policies, training records, audits etc.) were already in place and met the required standard.
Once we had achieved FORS bronze, we implemented the electronic driver licence checking system. The previous system of manually checking every driving employee’s licence twice a year was very labour intensive, complex to manage and open to fake or duplicate licences being presented. The electronic system, on the other hand, is easy to apply; requires very little administration and is reliable, secure and accurate.
‘Since achieving our first FORS bronze accreditation we have significantly reduced our fuel usage, carbon footprint, accident frequency and distance covered, while at the same time increasing our mpg. This not only benefits us as a company but more importantly, members of the public, other road users and the environment’ – Matthew Bennett, Fleet Transport Manager.
FORS workshops have been a practical way of improving our knowledge and to learn from others. The Safe Urban Driving and Van Smart courses were highly informative and, encouragingly, returned some very positive feedback from our drivers.
‘Initially implemented to boost health and safety within our transport operations, the FORS scheme has helped us deliver a multitude of best practice initiatives across the business. The enhanced performance and efficiencies delivered in areas of transport have permeated blu-3 (UK) Limited and the additional benefits have been a pleasant surprise’ – Jim Southworth – Managing Director.
We soon decided to progress to silver and ultimately gold as we wanted blu-3 to lead the way in implementing best practice. We also realised the potential for financial savings delivered by an increase in miles per gallon and a reduction in fuel usage, number of trips made, PCN penalties and accidents. We wanted to show our employees and clients alike that we not only had a duty of care but that we truly cared.
|Incidents per 100,000 Kms||
Number of PCNs
Apr 2016 -Mar 2017
Apr 2017 – Mar 2018
The benefits we have experienced include:
Fewer accidents and incidents, reduced fuel use and therefore costs, reduced carbon dioxide emissions and carbon footprint, increased quality control and compliance with the relevant legislation, client requirements, accrediting body requirements and other obligations
Through the FORS accreditation process we have come to see our fleet arrangements as an integral part of our business, rather than as a separate entity. Ensuring we consistently implement best practice and the use of more effective tools has unquestionably improved our performance.
- All new employees required to drive any vehicle as part of their operational duties complete a driver health questionnaire, incorporating a health and wellbeing declaration, during their induction process. As part of our commitment to ongoing driver health and fitness review this is repeated annually. Eye sight checks are carried out twice a year. Any health conditions are highlighted to the HR department for follow up with contracted healthcare specialists.
- Although we have consolidated are operations and are not currently recruiting, we have an active HR department that meets monthly with the SMT to discuss business needs and to create resource plans for current and pipeline projects.
- Our operating centre is purely for overnight and weekend parking of vehicles on our operator licence. Scheduled maintenance is carried out at contractors’ premises and vehicles are only stationary while running during daily walkabout checks. Vehicles are fitted with white noise reverse alarms and Brigade side-scan devices. Accurate sound monitoring has been completed.
- Owing to the nature of our business maintaining and replacing existing utilities, alternate modes of transport are neither available or suitable. We are, however, in the process of updating our existing Euro V vehicles with newer, leaner and cleaner Euro VI vehicles. We are also looking to replace our smaller car derived vehicles with electric or alternate powered vehicles in the future, and we are closely following and evaluating innovations in the fleet market.
Looking to the future, our aim is to make continual fleet improvements. When we look at replacing our existing fleet, we plan to investigate the suitability of alternative fuelled vehicles, low entry vehicles, vehicles with improved all-round visibility and additional driver aids. We are in the process of installing charging ports for electric vehicles, which we anticipate sourcing in the future.
Our goal is to maintain FORS gold standard for the foreseeable future. Achieving FORS gold demonstrates to blu-3’s commitment to the welfare of all who are affected by our activities, our commitment to reducing our environmental impact and our ability to deliver services to the highest industry standards.
The training carried out over the years to achieve FORS bronze, silver and gold has helped us to reduce our at fault accidents. The positive effects of the training began to take effect in 2014/15 and we continue to feel the benefits to the present day. This means reduced risk to other road users, reduced costs and helps us to maintain the high standards everyone expects from us and we expect of ourselves.