FORS members told ‘still work to do’

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With 95% of collisions caused by human error, and growing concerns over air quality issues, delegates at the fourth annual FORS Members’ Conference were told not to rest on their laurels.

This year’s conference theme Safer, Smarter, Greener reflected the triple purpose of FORS accreditation, and its ongoing commitment to help its ever-growing membership base to lessen their environmental impact and in turn, help reduce costs.

BigChange director Jo Godsmark, who is also an active member of the CILT (Chartered Institute of Logistics and Transport) Outsourcing and Procurement Forum, told delegates: “With 95% of collisions caused by human error, and growing concerns over air quality issues, there is still a lot we need to do.

“Everyone in the room today recognises this and continues to work towards improved road safety and environmental protection.”

Godsmark is also chair and a trustee of the international Transaid charity, which FORS supported at the conference.

FORS matched attendee contributions, raising over £1,000 at the conference, to support the charity’s work providing much needed training and transport to communities across Africa.

The FORS Members’ Conference, which played host to some 450 delegates, featured interactive polls and audience question and answers throughout, with speeches from major industry stakeholders including Highways England, Kier, Michelin and Rexel.

Second generation smart tachographs, tyre pressure monitoring, and the switch to app-based fleet management tools were just a handful of topics explored as the event shone a light on how technology is able to provide the industry with the tools it needs to drive efficiency for environmental benefit.

Professor Geoff Clarke from AECOM explored the role of alternative fuels in a panel discussion with Graeme Neagus from Renault Trucks UK, alternative fuel consultant Martin Flach and Brian Robinson from the Low Carbon Vehicle Partnership.

A poll conducted during the session showed that 19% of the participating audience members already had an electric vehicle (EV) as part of their current fleet make up.

Clarke said: “Greener has always been part of FORS via fuel management, tyre management, aerodynamics, and eco driving, but today when discussing greener it is also appropriate to look at vehicles and the choice many members will be facing in coming months.”

While the long-term future of road transport featured strongly at the event, so too did the need for operators to look after the long-term health of their workforce.

Natalie Geraghty, head of customer and communications at Kier Highways, discussed the need for operators to understand the importance of driver mental health.

She said: “When it comes to mental wellbeing, we shouldn’t be competitive, we should be sticking together - just as we do with safety. We should all be tackling these difficult issues in the same way.”

Along with the full presentation programme, visitors could access an exhibition of 36 FORS Associates and four FORS Affinity Partners, showcasing products or services designed to help members meet the requirements of the FORS Standard and assist in driving-up industry best practice, with headline sponsor FORS Associate Tachograph analysis software specialists Aquarius IT taking centre stage.

John Hix, FORS director, said: “The FORS Members' Conference is our opportunity to welcome a large cross-section of our members from across the UK and explore in detail some of the pressing issues facing them as operators from diverse fields.

“Safety is always at the heart of FORS, and we know our members are fully committed to achieving and maintaining safety standards far beyond the legal minimum requirements. 

“We hope the event has really emphasised to our members the importance of greater efficiency to help reduce emissions and deliver climate protection.”

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