Case study: Babcock

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Drive Smarter began working with Babcock five years ago.

An online driver training programme was delivered to both Babcock Nuclear and subsequently 100 ‘grey fleet’ car drivers within Babcock Infrastructure.

A further quarterly e-learning refresher programme for 100 company car drivers in the unit travelling more than 25,000 business miles a year has also recently been introduced.

Ian Pinkney, divisional transport manager for Babcock Infrastructure, says: “Getting the safe driving message out to 800 tradesmen who were not PC users and were spread across 65 locations required a new approach.”

The company’s fleet of 800 light commercial vehicles – Fiat Doblo, Scudo and Fiorino and Mercedes-Benz Sprinters – are driven by skilled tradesman undertaking maintenance work on Ministry of Defence sites across the UK.

Although vehicles are averaging fewer than 6,000 miles a year, including home-to-work journeys, the fleet has doubled in size in the past three years due to contract wins and Pinkney says: “We were concerned that our incident rate was rising and we decided that toolbox talks were the right approach.”

In 2010/11, 50 mainly low-speed and reversing incidents had been reported costing more than £25,000 in excess insurance payments alone. In 2011/12 the number of incidents increased to 75.

The films take into account Babcock’s own safe driving policy, Drive Smarter’s experience and the expertise of Professor Steve Stradling, Professor of Transport Psychology at Edinburgh Napier University and attached to the University’s Transport Research Institute.

Pinkney says: “When you have a body of men you have to engage them and we have found that toolbox talks do that.

"The interaction during them is good and the talks are part of their working day. These talks are raising the profile of company vehicles and I believe they are the way forward.”

Sustainable safe driving

Two weeks before attending a toolbox talk, the driver receives a newsletter highlighting issues that will be raised during the video, discussion and quiz.

After drivers attending one of the site-based toolbox talks have watched the video, a site or area manager moderates a discussion that encourages participants to give their feedback on the company-wide process of improving driver safety.

A ‘cue sheet’ based on the video further helps the discussion with the aim of creating an ongoing sustainable safe driving programme.

Pinkney says: “There is an emotional attachment to driving, so the discussions have proved to be very interactive. It is a subject that everyone has a view on and wants to get involved with. The response has been very positive.”

Finally, the toolbox talk is completed with a quiz based on the video with the results analysed by Drive Smarter and inputted for access by Babcock for report compilation.

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