Operator compliance in 2019 is about more than just ticking boxes; cultivating a culture of holistic road safety should be a goal towards which all transport managers should strive. Thankfully, David Somers and the expert team at Road Skills are here to help.

Road transport is regularly proven to be one of the most dangerous industries in which to work. According to Health and Safety Executive figures, 26 people were hit by a moving vehicle on workplace premises in 2017/18 and up to 600 people are killed in road collisions on work-related journeys every year. In years gone by, such incidents were regarded as an inevitability, but shifting societal expectations mean that road safety is now a much higher priority.

In the commercial transport sector, the advent and proliferation of accreditation systems such as the Fleet Operator Recognition Scheme (FORS) are incentivising operators to operate in a safer and altogether more scrupulous manner.

Leeds-based Road Skills is recognised as one of the UK’s foremost specialists in occupational road safety and has set the standard for successfully taking operators through the FORS accreditation and compliance process. The business was founded in 1991 by Managing Director David Somers based on experience managing his own haulage fleet as well as a short career in the Army.

“30 years ago, most transport businesses simply accepted collisions as an unavoidable fact; insurance paid out and that was the end of it,” said David, speaking exclusively to FACTS. “But society changed faster than the transport industry and now expects a higher standard of operational safety in the public interest. However, too many fleet operators were not getting the training and support they needed to operate safely and profitably. This became the foundation for the launch of Road Skills.”

The FORS PASS system; a step-by-step partnership in compliance

Road Skills’ FORS PASS system is a comprehensive management system which makes a success of compliance and safety as an integral part of the business profit centre.

“At Road Skills, we know that the better you can manage compliance and safety, the more you can cut costs,” said David, who also has the role of Risk Services and FORS PASS Support Director for the business. “In this way, operators can reduce vehicle collisions and safety incidents at work whilst simultaneously improving their bottom line.”

The FORS PASS system covers O Licence requirements, Health & Safety in Road Haulage, and Driving at Work through policies, procedures, induction training, development training, online training modules, and audits. Whether it be first-time accreditation, retaining a fleet’s current certification or progression through the FORS Bronze, Silver or Gold stages that is desired, the FORS Pass system has a proven track record of guaranteeing compliance and raising overall standards.

“The FORS PASS system forms an integral part of our FORS Masterplan, which is a package of products and support to provide everything a fleet operator needs to pass and maintain the FORS standard,” commented David. “This includes a LinkedIn group, informative articles and posts, email articles, driver handbooks, daily defect pads (FORS format), advisor support, pre-audits and the FORS PASS Rewards package. It is a comprehensive solution which has been developed over many years of hard work and partnership with fleet operators up and down the

“A culture of excellence exists only when everyone is on the same page”

David and the team at Road Skills believe that achieving and maintaining FORS accreditation is about more than just getting through the audits unscathed. Instilling a culture of road safety at every level of an organisation should instead be the priority, says David.

“A culture of excellence only exists if everyone is on the same page. A straightforward way to do this is to talk to all staff about what you want them to do and how you want them to do it. Then, talk with them about their ideas on the ways in which your organisation can do things better. This is how the British Army works at its core level and they are the best in the world.”

Effective communication with drivers can often be a difficulty for transport managers but it is a key obstacle which must be tackled.

“Drivers must understand the essential role they play in daily road safety best practice but conveying this message consistently and in an easily digestible manner can be onerous,” added David. “With this in mind, our Road Skills Online services help busy managers to get regular work and road safety messages across to drivers as well as whatever face-to-face time they can give to re-enforce the lessons. Consistency and repetition are important in this regard and our services cater for this effectively.”

Learning from his time as an Officer in the British Army, David is passionate about harnessing people’s potential to do their best. This ethos is reflected throughout the business and in its client partnerships.

“The foundation of our rapport with clients is based on relationship building, integrity and customer service by offering information, education, and inspiration.

“As a business, we aim to contribute to a great industry through building capability, confidence and commitment, empowering people to do things better and safer for both the company and the public good.”

To begin your journey on the road to higher operational standards and improving your bottom line, get in touch with David and the specialists at Road Skills today.

For more information: call 0113 436 0818 or visit Road Skills