Earned recognition equals road safety for waste vehicles

Written by: Phil Gudgeon | Published:
Cawleys director of waste collection and logistics Phil Gudgeon

The Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency (DVSA) earned recognition scheme was officially launched in April.

Cawleys was one of 60 organisations and the first waste management company in the UK to take part in the earned recognition pilot, and the whole scheme is now accessible to all hauliers in the country.

Earned recognition represents the highest possible standards for operational and road safety, and it was simply a no-brainer for Cawleys to join the scheme at the earliest opportunity.

People forget that an efficient transport system is at the heart of a good recycling service. We need to minimise transport mileage and emissions, and technology makes all the difference here. It’s something every company in the sector should be doing.

What is earned recognition?

As per the official website: “DVSA earned recognition for vehicle operators is a new way to prove you meet driver and vehicle standards. You regularly share performance information with DVSA. In return, your vehicles are less likely to be stopped for inspections. It’s a voluntary scheme that’s designed to work for operators of all sizes.”

To take part you need an IT system; we use R2C, which can monitor vehicle maintenance and drivers’ hours – as we know, the two founding pillars of best practice road safety. The IT systems monitor your activity and check that you and your team are meeting a set of vehicle and driver key performance indicators (KPIs).

Every four weeks, these systems will tell DVSA if you’ve fallen short of any of the KPIs, and if this happens, DVSA works with you to fix the issue. DVSA doesn’t have direct access to any of your data or systems, just the key metrics needed to qualify for earned recognition.

As members of the earned recognition scheme, we have to meet a set of essential DVSA-required KPIs, including:

  • 100% safety rated defect rectifications
  • 100% service inspections
  • 95% MOT pass rate
  • 4% tachograph infringements

As well as the DVSA targets, we’ve also set our own unique driver check questionnaire, with the help of R2C, that enables us to identify safety-related defects during the driver inspections. If a defect is identified during the daily inspection, then the lorry is automatically taken out of service until rectified.

Driver hours

We use software called Transport Data Interchange (TDI) to monitor and analyse driver hours and ensure we are reaching our tachograph infringement KPI.

According to EU rules, drivers must not drive more than nine hours in a day, more than 56 hours in a week or more than 90 hours in a fortnight.Similarly, drivers must rest at least 11 hours every day; have an unbroken rest period of 45 hours every week; and a break totalling at least 45 minutes after 4.5 hours driving.

Information from the vehicle tachographs are compiled by the TDI software and will alert the senior transport management team in real time if the driver is not taking enough breaks or driving for too long a period.

Additionally, Fleetmatics software helps us to tell how well our drivers are actually driving. It monitors driving behaviour, speed, fuel usage and distance travelled. Using this data helps us to improve fuel efficiency through driver training and awareness programmes.

It’s vital that drivers understand that this data is not used in a ‘Big Brother’ fashion, but to ensure they are aware that we are striving for the highest levels driver and road safety.

Vehicle inspections

Drivers of heavy goods vehicles have responsibilities to ensure that vehicles are roadworthy before they embark on their journey, and walkaround checks should cover lights, tyres, wheel fixings, body work, trailer coupling, load security and other equipment.

Commercial vehicle operators are responsible for making sure there are regular safety inspections, clear written instructions for drivers on their responsibilities and have a system to ensure non-roadworthy vehicles are taken out of service.

Both these responsibilities are covered through the R2C software. Drivers must complete online walkaround checks using their tablet or mobile advice. Data is sent to the transport management team, who can immediately book vehicles into the Cawleys workshop to rectify any safety defects, complete with an audit trail.

Why bother?

First, as we carry the earned recognition marque, we show we are ultra-compliant, surpassing the requirements of the Operator Compliance Risk Score (OCRS). Ultra-compliance is important to our customers, and being part of the scheme has already helped us win contracts with the most rigorous standards and is great reassurance for some of our largest clients such as Canary Wharf Limited.

Secondly, anyone who operates a commercial vehicle fleet will understand the daily checks needed to ensure each vehicle is roadworthy. At Cawleys, we operate 75 vehicles including articulated lorries, skips, curtain siders and container lorries, with 80 drivers. Our workshop runs 24 hours, seven days a week.

You can imagine the hassle of paper-based recording systems, where records of daily checks have to be kept every day for 15 months; manually cross-referencing paperwork with workshop timetables; booking in vehicles; and adjusting driver schedules.

We’ve saved hours of time with a computerised system where drivers enter their daily checks via an app on a portable handheld device, and the following administration is managed online and monitored in real time.

I really don’t understand why more companies didn’t sign up the DVSA earned recognition pilot scheme. Is it a trust issue, a lack of understanding, or have people got something to hide?

Ultimately by carrying the earned recognition marque, you are demonstrating that you take road safety seriously and are an exemplary operator. Effective management of work-related road safety helps reduce risk, whatever the size of your organisation. That’s before we’ve even got to the benefits to your bottom line and competitive edge – so it can only be a good thing.

And if you need further convincing, we’ve been delighted by the effects on staff and drivers who are motivated by using the latest technology – making all our lives easier.

Phil Gudgeon is director of waste collection and logistics at Cawleys Waste Management.


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