Five operators are shortlisted for the Safety in Operation Award, sponsored by Zenith, at the Motor Transport Awards 2018: Bibby Distribution; Expect Distribution; O'Donovan Waste Disposal; Owens Group UK and Suttons Transport Group. The winner will be revealed on 4 July.


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Bibby Distribution

Bibby Distribution is the only operator in the top 25 of the Motor Transport Top 100 that holds the RoSPA Gold Award for Fleet Safety for the entirety of its operations, rather than just for a specific contract or depot. It also holds the RoSPA Gold Award for Occupational Safety, and a British Safety Council Merit Award for Occupational Safety and Health. Everything it does is governed by its Road to Zero strategy – a long-term project to achieve zero harm, zero waste and zero environmental impact from its operations. In the past two years it has reduced: total accidents by 20%; total RIDDORs by 67%; and total lost time accidents by 46%, surpassing the standards set by RoSPA.

The judges said Bibby had produced a “sterling submission” with evidence that a strong safety culture exists with board support. “Safety clearly sits at the heart of the organisation and success has been demonstrated via a significant reduction in incidents,” one said.

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Expect Distribution

Expect Distribution is a family-owned and run logistics business in Bradford, celebrating its 30th year in business. It employs 250 staff, operates from three sites and runs 94 vehicles. Safety of its employees and customers is first and foremost in every area of its operation and 2017 was its safest year to date: accidents and incidents were down 41% year-on-year; there was one RIDDOR reportable instance; injuries per 100 employees were down 40% year-on-year and Lost Time Injury Frequency Rate was down 91.5% year-on-year. Following a number of accidents involving the use of pallet truck and tail-lifts in 2015, Expect introduced electric power trucks to fulfil the Palletline network commitment regarding unloading pallets of up to 1,000kgs. In 2016 it rolled out electric pump trucks as standard across its fleet of rigids and in 2017 there was not a single instance of injury caused by a pallet truck during tail-lift operations.

The judges said Expect had delivered an “impressive improvement in incident rates” as a result of the development of a “clear structure and strategy to promote a positive safety culture”. They also praised good examples of management awareness and engagement.

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O’Donovan Waste Disposal

London-based waste management company O’Donovan Waste Disposal has been running for more than 50 years. It employs 160 members of staff and operates 90 HGVs. It takes a top-down approach to the safety of its operations and introduced its Safety Above and Beyond strategy to ensure all staff were on board, focused and understood the part they play. It started with a review of all procedures, processes and risk assessments that resulted in an overhaul of its health and safety operations. From there, the strategy was developed with a target of engaging every member of the workforce; to raise their performance to a higher standard. O’Donovan ensured every member of the team was involved in the creation of plan. The target is to maintain the highest operational standards, deliver the best service to new and existing customers and to stand out as an employer of choice.

The judges said O’Donovan had a “strong strategy with clear leadership and investment by senior management”. They added that a safety culture was evident with staff-wide engagement.

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Owens Group UK

An increase in depots and fleet size highlighted a number of safety concerns that needed resolving. These included: inconsistent reporting and analysis of collision investigations, diminished controls and problems with third-party loading issues. To understand the potential risks and cost exposure, processes were implemented to enable Owens to identify all risks involving any of its vehicles. It implemented a zero-tolerance policy towards reporting every collision or incident regardless of whether a third party was involved. This included reporting near-miss incidents that could lead to a collision or serious incident if not acted on. Therefore, all depot managers take a zero-tolerance policy towards all collisions, incidents and near-misses and communicate to all employees. Each issue has to be reported immediately or as soon as practically possible to a central contact point. This centralised the reporting processes for all depots, improving consistency and accuracy of the information obtained.

The judges said Owens management “deserves recognition for making an intervention to reduce fleet risk”. They added that a clear plan was in place and was being implemented.

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Suttons Transport Group

Suttons Transport Group has the largest hazardous tank network in the UK and in 2017 covered 43.5 million kms, making 168,000 customer deliveries. In 2015, as part of a group-wide review, it sought customers’ opinions, who felt it had dropped from leading safety performance standard to a standard similar to the average operator. This hard-hitting message resulted in a review of every aspect of its safety management system. The review considered everything from the chief executive’s role in creating a vision for safety and setting the standards in terms of values and behaviours to variations in safety culture that had developed across the business, down to the details of how specific safety procedures were being implemented and trained.

The judges singled out Suttons for its “no filler” entry that was “concise and specially addressed the areas most in need of a safety in operation culture”. They also said “performance improvement is clear and well recorded”.