Martin ‘Nobby’ Clark explains all about his role supporting driver safety...
Describe your role in Balfour Beatty’s Driver Risk Management team.
In general terms, my role is to provide driver safety workshops for all drivers across the business. We have an on-road element also and we can cater for any type of driver training, including 4x4, HGV, CPC, trailer training etc.
What are the biggest challenges you face when it comes to training staff in-house?
Probably the biggest challenge is co-ordinating the logistics of getting as many staff on courses as possible while they are doing their ‘day jobs’. It is emphasised to management that this has to be a priority to ensure the safety of all Balfour Beatty staff who use our vehicles.
Do you use technology to assist with you in your role?
The use of telematics in our commercial vehicles is a great piece of technology that can support our practical training. For example, I provide an in-house speed awareness course where delegates are placed on the courses if the vehicle data shows them to be speeding. In Balfour Beatty Rail UK they have seen a 69% reduction in speeding in their business as a result of putting these drivers on the course, which is a great result.
How easy is it to retrain a driver’s attitude to road risk?
I always say in my introduction on courses that this is not just about driver training but driver awareness. We do train people but my main aim is to make them aware of the latest laws, better driving techniques, and general advice on road risk. So it is not about ‘retraining’ it is about the latest ‘awareness advice’ and the feedback from the delegates tell us that they all find it very worthwhile and useful.
What kind of fuel savings can be made through implementing driver training?
The driver awareness/training undoubtedly saves fuel. The use of telematics and the advice given on the speed awareness courses enables drivers to drive a bit better and less aggressively. Less harsh acceleration and braking will have a knock-on effect to save fuel. Of course there are other spin offs – for example, if a driver slows down a bit then tyres will last longer too and, in a large business such as Balfour Beatty, that saving can be huge.
Do you face any negativity when it comes to the drivers receiving training?
Initially the only issues we had was with the telematics systems when they were introduced. The expression “spy in the cab” was used a lot. I find it is only a matter of explaining to the drivers the benefits rather than the negatives, that they generally come round to understanding the equipment more. As long as drivers are doing things correctly then telematics will always protect them.
What basic steps can utility companies and contractors take to improve safety within their
That is an easy one to answer – ensure that all drivers and managers are fully aware of the safety and legal issues in relation to their use of vehicles. Ensure that a balance of educational workshops and on-road driving refreshers are carried out on a regular basis.
Why is it important for organisations to invest in a robust driver-training programme?
Safety must always be the priority but the legal side of things has to come second. In my past life as a traffic police officer I know that if certain training is not in place and it does go seriously wrong then many people, not just the driver, could be in very serious trouble and of course the publicity of a very serious on road incident is not very good for any company.
What are the top three reasons people come to you for advice?
I would put them in the following order:
1) To find out something they did not already know (this happens on all workshops and on road assessments).
2) To ensure they are complying with the law (on a regular basis you find a lot of staff do not know the law and find out they are in fact breaking the law but were unaware) this is particularly important if you are manger/supervisor, and;
3) To learn more about driver training and good sound advice as to where they can go and the benefits of such training.
What is the most rewarding aspect of your role?
Without a doubt the feedback we get is very rewarding. We receive evaluation from every delegate on every course and the feedback sheets have so many great comments – we rarely get any negatives at all. I receive so many personal face-to-face comments too, generally very positive indeed and, for me, if one person says thank you and they found out something that was useful, then for me that is my job satisfaction.
Do you offer your training service externally?
Yes, we deliver training services to a number of large organisations externally. If anyone is interested and would like to find out more, please call 01332 288192 or email: Training@BBFleetServices.com.
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