Working for a better environment
Veolia Environmental Services is the UK's leading recycling and waste management company and part of the Veolia Environnement group, which also comprises water and energy management organisations. The company has over 330,000 employees worldwide, of which approximately 13,000 work in the UK. Eamonn Wells, Veolia's Driving Performance Manager, tells their story.
"Our core business activities include the collection and treatment or recycling of domestic, commercial and hazardous waste, as well as street cleansing and on several contracts, winter maintenance and grounds maintenance.
"We were one of the first companies to sign up to FORS, as we strive to continually improve our Health and Safety performance.
"This in turn leads to fewer accidents, reduced costs and a greater perception of the company amongst the general public, existing and prospective clients and customers, our own employees and also within the industry.
"Since 2009, Veolia has invested over £3m in alternative fuelled vehicles, which has helped us achieve a reduction of 6 per cent in our fuel consumption. As the majority of our contracts with local authorities are in urban areas, it is difficult to achieve exceptional fuel efficiency savings.
"We strive to continually implement measures to improve our Health and Safety performance."
"However, all of our drivers have undergone specialist Driving Efficiently and Safely (DES) training, which has led to less speeding, over-revving and harsh braking, generating notable savings on fuel use and general wear and tear.
"Telematics, and near miss monitoring have helped us achieve greater efficiency and customer satisfaction. Once we had all systems in place, we decided to go for FORS bronze accreditation as we were anxious to see if we met the criteria. FORS gave us a checklist to benchmark against, and monitor progress. Our systems were already in place, but this was an external audit, which gave us a respected name to be affiliated with."
"Apart from a slight oversight with goods in transit insurance, we passed with flying colours. This spurred us on to go for silver and subsequently gold accreditation.
"After the audit, we took the opportunity to send some of our vehicle systems managers on FORS Workshops. This proved a valuable tool to guide them in working towards our ultimate goal of gold accreditation, and provided us with an insight into improving our safe working practices.
"Our image is changing, for the better we hope! Old stereotypes of scruffy-clad dustmen spilling rubbish everywhere have now been replaced by smart, fully-uniformed, fully-trained operatives, who are safety and environment-conscious and use state-of-the-art vehicles and equipment, which emit less pollution and less noise. A reduction in driver-related incidents in a very busy inner-city environment is proof the in-house training and toolbox talks work."
Eamonn continues: "Yes, we do have a contract to work to, but just one accident is one accident too many. Remember nearly 80 per cent of our fleet has the capacity to crash in some way or another. Near misses are reported daily, collated on a central database and reviewed monthly by our Quality, Health, Safety and Environment teams.
"Our image is changing, for the better we hope! Old stereotypes of scruffy-clad dustmen spilling rubbish everywhere have now been replaced by smart, fully-uniformed, fully-trained operatives, who are safety and environment-conscious"
"Overall, Veolia is proud to be a FORS gold accredited company. We feel that it gives us a reference point to aim for, and the bar cannot be raised too high.
We hope other companies will also see the light and head in the right direction as well.
"Improving the standards to the FORS gold level, will bring the waste management industry into a better light. It will reduce pollution, reduce fuel and accidents, and put us all in better shape for the future."