Wolseley UK is a national specialist merchant with over 550 branches. As a leading plumbing, heating, cooling, drainage and infrastructure trade specialist, it aims to be the service led partner of choice to trade professionals.
Nathan da Rocha-Thomas, Wolseley’s Transport Operations Manager, explains the positive impact its 600+ strong fleet has seen through its FORS accreditation, particularly highlighting improvements in the company’s road safety record, decreased fuel use and reduced CO2, NOx and particulate matter emissions.
Nathan said: “We joined FORS back in April 2013 originally to fulfil contractual obligations, however quickly realised it showcased and emphasised our focus and commitment to exceeding basic legal standards. FORS supports our quest to be at the forefront of best practice in safety for colleagues, suppliers, vulnerable road users and environmental matters.
“Whilst the initial Bronze audit seemed daunting, we believed we were well placed to achieve the Bronze standard and have successfully maintained our accreditation each successive year. The annual FORS Bronze audit continues to give us confidence in our internal policies and helps to demonstrate how robust our company procedures are.
“Once we achieved Bronze, we decided we wanted to progress to Silver for several reasons:
- Being FORS Silver demonstrates to our customers that we hold safety in the highest regard. This gives customers additional confidence in our operational standards, as we deliver to many different types of location, ranging from hospitals, to army bases, and building sites to domestic/residential addresses
- FORS e-learning modules and the Silver SUD course are immersive tools to continually improve our drivers and managers knowledge and performance
- We also utilise the FORS audits in tandem with our internal audits, to drive improved practice, using synergies between them to drive compliance
“As ever though, we want to continually improve our standards, showcasing that we are a leading operator, hence our drive for FORS Gold.
“Making good use of the benefits FORS offers, in particular the Practitioner workshops, we now have 15 FORS Practitioners across the UK. These range from Branch Managers, who are at the forefront of the customer operation, to our Transport Operations team who are all Transport Manager CPC holders.
“Our Practitioners have seen benefits through the wide scope of topics covered in the workshops, ranging from an increased awareness of work-related road risk, better environmental impact awareness through to improved collision investigation skills.
“Even though all drivers and managers complete the compulsory FORS e-learning modules, we have many colleagues who have gone on to complete more modules than needed, as they wish to refresh knowledge and upskill themselves. The Pedestrian Safe module is particularly good; interactive and immersive.
“We have recently partnered with Fleetcheck, whom we know work closely with FORS. We are in the process of fully integrating the system into our business and are confident that we will see financial savings achieved through time efficiencies when it’s fully up and running.”
Year on year improvements:
Incidents per 100,000 Kms
|CO2 Tonnes||NOx Kg’s||PM10 Kg’s||
Number of PCNs
“For Wolseley Building Services, achieving FORS Gold means a huge amount to us as a business”
Nathan da Rocha-Thomas, Wolseley UK
Nathan adds: “We take our duty as a large transport operator very seriously and to that end, have several checks in place to ensure we minimise our risk of incidents related to underlying health problems or diagnosis. Some examples of how we do this are our Toolbox talks, covering health and wellbeing; six monthly eyesight checks; and also having clear policies in place for drivers, detailing actions to take in the event they feel unwell. Further to the above, we have daily open and honest communication and debriefs with our drivers, where both they and their manager or Transport colleague has an opportunity to discuss any current concerns or changes in their health. This has been especially effective during the current pandemic, where having regular communication has been key in supporting our drivers with their mental, as well as their physical health.
“Wolseley has previously worked in partnership with various educational institutions, attending careers fairs to offer insight into our work as a major distribution company. We also support work placements, helping those who could benefit from experiencing an insight into a live environment.
“We have also developed an internal talent programme called “Warehouse to Wheels”. Within this programme, we encourage progression and financially support members of our branch teams to obtain their Vocational Driving Licences. We have achieved success with this programme and have seen an increase in colleague retention, in part due to colleagues feeling valued through the investment of time and money in their development.
“To minimise our noise impact during operations, we have developed our own Noise Code of Practice to cover all vehicle related operations from loading/unloading to parking and delivering. This has been rolled out to every driver at Silver level and is also briefed to all transport- related colleagues in the branch. Where viable, we are also moving to electric forklift trucks, which shows a positive reduction to the noise created during our loading/unloading operations.
“Alternatively fuelled/powered vehicles and transport modes are under regular review, to ensure we are up-to-date with new market developments. We partner with couriers where possible, to reduce our carbon footprint and some of these utilise alternatively fuelled/powered vehicles, thus benefiting the environment.
“Looking to the future, we have exciting initiatives which we are undertaking.
“As a responsible business which cares for its colleagues, we are particularly focused at present on mental health, recognising it is equally important as physical health. We have recently partnered with St John Ambulance, who have delivered Mental Health First Aid Training for us. Our newly trained Mental Health First Aiders are proactively seeking to identify and support any colleague who may need it. With this increased focus on mental health, we also keep awareness of the issue high on the agenda, by delivering regular communications on the topic, across various platforms.
“We have an ambitious Fleet Replacement programme, which focuses on removing all non-Euro VI vehicles, paying particular attention to older HGVs, due to the higher emissions they emit.
“We are currently in talks with some major manufacturers to arrange trials of Electric LGVs in several town centres. We are excited to see how these perform for us and are hopeful that they may support our aims to minimise our carbon footprint.
“We positively promote FORS through various activities. Pre Covid-19 we frequently gave meeting room space to FORS to hold Practitioner Workshops at our Head Office. Currently we regularly post on LinkedIn, proudly showcasing our branches that achieve FORS Silver.
“For Wolseley UK Building Services, achieving FORS Gold means a huge amount to us as a business. It will really showcase to our customers and supply chain partners our ongoing commitment to health and safety, our drive for continuous improvement and that we are always willing to learn and take on best practice to improve. There are many tangible benefits to our drivers, managers, and field Transport team with being FORS Gold accredited and we look forward to more branches achieving the Gold standard in the near future.”
*Please note: All published FORS Gold case studies have been submitted by the accredited company named above and transcribed verbatim