Over the next four years, the new collaborative partnership between TfL and Balfour Beatty Integrated Track Team, will work to replace life-expired track assets across the London Underground network.
Balfour Beatty Integrated Track Team is part of the Balfour Beatty Group which was established 110 years ago. It was set up in its previous form (Track Partnership) in 2011, initially to service a project with London Underground and has seen its activity increase substantially in subsequent years. We have always taken pride in the way we approach our work, especially in ensuring we adopt a safe working environment in which our employees, particularly those involved in our transport operations, carry out their duties in a professional manner whilst taking account of internal and external factors including road driving risk. With this in mind training and vehicle procurement are tailored around ensuring drivers are fully conversant with the needs of our business and the industry as well as maximising fuel efficiencies through the purchase of Euro 6 vehicles to upgrade our fleet. With four years already as a Gold accredited operator Dean Previdi our Plant and Transport Supervisor has been keen to take stock of the company’s progress towards FORS accreditation and what it continues to bring to the business. Dean reflects as follows;
“Safety is paramount within our business and has always been top priority for the Integrated Track Team. By working with FORS and following their guidelines over the last 7 years, we have been able to achieve much more in ensuring we protect our people and the wider public. FORS have been a key contributor to our success to continue to challenge ways of working to ensure constant initiatives and improvements”
Since being awarded the contract in February of this year, we have placed orders for three new Euro 6 vehicles to replace our existing 26T and 7.5T vehicles. In addition, we have reduced our overall fleet size by one, making our current fleet a total of nine.
We also have a programme in place to refurbish the six 32T vehicles which will include the near side door windows to increase direct vision in addition to the existing safety features in line with the TFL direct vision standards.
To reinforce previous comments since joining the scheme we feel that FORS has continued to support us as a company in what we are trying to achieve in our transport operations with the various training offered through both e-learning and CPC training workshops, in particular Safe Urban Driving which provides drivers with a vulnerable road user perspective. We feel this has improved knowledge of road safety and cycle safety, and the e-learning serves us to reinforce the message. The availability of the other e-learning modules, particularly the recent FORS Professional Security and Counter Terrorism has also been particularly interesting and helpful from a different perspective and has highlighted awareness for ourselves and our drivers. Although mentioned in the previous case study that the business was at a stage where we were reviewing available resources, we believe that this has now stabilised since the new contract award and look forward to the next four years to make the most of the training that FORS offers and maximise their impact on positive improvements to our operation.
As our experience with FORS has developed we continue with a strong team within Plant and Transport which is supportive of the aims of the scheme and the current team is pictured below. I am joined there by Stewart Hunt, HGV Commercial Driver & Administrator, Hamoodur Rehman: Transport and Plant Administrator and Yosief Belai our Transport Co-ordinator also closely involved with the project. The support of Gemma Heasman our appointed Transport Manager, and one of our FORS Practitioners, along with the wider Balfour Beatty Fleet Services Department, has also been integral in our progress. As a strategic objective we achieved Gold accreditation in 2015 and this helped us further in consolidating and developing the systems and processes that underpin FORS criteria.
Over the past 24 months we have analysed our fuel use very closely. By monitoring idling via our vehicle telematics system, combined with the majority of our fleet fitted with Euro 6 engines and the fact that we continue to draw diesel using our on- site bunker we continue to see improvements in our miles per gallon performance as highlighted in the table below.
|July 2017 – Jun 2018||175.00||5||2|
|July 2018 – Jun 2019||105.61||3||0|
Other areas of development within the business are:
- We continuously monitor our drivers as per Balfour Beatty Policy, using our “Permit to Drive” scheme which assesses our drivers throughout a risk based process which includes a 3 yearly assessment and an annual medical self-declaration with training, counselling or other appropriate support provided.
This continues to be an effective method across the Balfour Beatty Group combined with individual drivers telematics scores which in turn creates an individual driver risk score which highlights intervention where required by means of coaching and training both on and off the road.
- Continued, regular contact and communication with our driver agency Manpower by continuing to develop both new and existing drivers resulting in strong commitment and longevity of our workforce.
- Working closely with our drivers and providing briefings to assist in reducing noise pollution which benefits the safety of all and maximises the use of available technology including white noise silent reverse audio buzzers which are fitted to all our large goods vehicles.
This is now included within our driver handbook and continues to be part of all transport related pre and post shift briefings and training we carry out.
- We continue to look for innovative ways for increasing transport of our railway products and materials transported by rail – currently at 15%.
This has seen a slight increase to 16% and we continue to promote rail use as and where possible.
- Our business is planning a trial of a hydrogen cell vehicle on the M25 along with a long range hybrid which could potentially be used as a patrol vehicle for supervisors involved in managing operations. Although this initiative did not meet our requirements, we continue to look at positive initiatives to improve our environmental impact and we currently have 657 vehicles across the Balfour Beatty Group operating on alternatively fuelled vehicles.
- In addition, as mentioned earlier in the case study, we are working with our Fleet provider to supply three new replacement vehicles along with the refurbishment of the existing six 32T vehicles to include the retrofit of the near side door window to increase direct vision. This will go a long way in improving safety as well as our carbon footprint for the Integrated Track Team
Key performance indicators linked to risk and road safety are used to manage the performance of our drivers, especially with due regard for vulnerable road users. Training is planned for each driver, both core and agency, following their induction in line with our “Integrated Track Team FORS, Work Related Road Risk, Vehicle & Driver Plan” which provides our strategy as we move forward towards excellence for all our operatives. In-cab telematics are used to identify any adverse impact on Co2 emissions linked to poor driver behaviour with FORS e-learning continuing to complement our progressive training arrangements.
FORS is part of our business and has been for some time. It is part of our culture within the Integrated Track Team and continue to progress with continuous developments and initiative that the scheme offers.
*Please note: All published FORS Gold case studies have been submitted by the accredited company named above and transcribed verbatim