Construction, by its very nature, is a high risk industry.
Despite the inherent nature of risk however, its effects can be mitigated, reduced or even eliminated through careful analysis of issues and implementation of appropriate control measures.
The importance of such steps cannot be underestimated – particularly in light of HSE accident statistics, which reveal the sector currently accounts for 31 per cent of all fatal injuries to employees.
Indeed, road risk management should form a cornerstone of any risk management strategy, with around a third of all road traffic accidents believed to be work-related.
The accessibility of fleet data using advance telematics offers clear opportunities to identify and tackle risk by giving businesses real-time insights into mobile operations and providing the tools for more efficient operational processes.
Reduce driver risk profiles, reduce cost
Driver performance systems can help enforce behavioural changes and significantly modifying driver attitudes.
Today’s technology allow construction managers to monitor behavioural data such as speed, fuel consumption and even harsh steering or braking. They simultaneously empower workers by feeding live performance information to their in-vehicle terminals, enabling them to change their behaviour in real time.
For one building contractor, this led to fleet insurance savings of £60,000 in just 12 months.
Breyer Group has used driver behaviour monitoring tools to underpin a three-year risk management programme. By meeting targets to reduce the frequency and severity of motor claims, Breyer benefitted from a 20 per cent premium reduction from its insurer.
Working time compliance made easy
On a basic level, telematics can be used to monitor the number of hours a driver spends behind the wheel and enforce a policy of regular breaks – but systems can also help to ensure that the monitoring and management of driver hours and tachograph usage is carried out effectively, minimising time-consuming administration and the impact on precious business resources.
The importance of this cannot be underestimated, with convictions for drivers’ hours violations and tachograph offences leading to fines of up to £5,000 and, in some cases, prison sentences of up to two years.
Advanced tachograph management software systems can help minimise the risks of prosecution, automatically scheduling remote downloads to ensure deadlines are never missed and incorporating reporting analytics to detail driver infringements.
Observing construction site restrictions
On and around construction sites that are subject to strict planning and access restrictions, telematics software can enable geofences to be set up to ensure drivers stick to designated access roads and do not stray into prohibited areas.
Real time warning alerts can also be set up, notifying managers if drivers break speed limits as they journey on and off site, further heightening compliance and safety standards.
Managers can then access historical reports on speed and time spent by vehicles on site.
Ensuring road worthy vehicles
At-a-glance telematics reports offer maintenance overviews allowing managers to make use of the real measured mileage from their vehicles to plan service maintenance intervals. Users can also create maintenance tasks for each vehicle, copy maintenance tasks to vehicle groups, monitor their status and plan accordingly.
In addition, telematics technology can help digitise the vehicle check process.
Customisable driver terminals will host apps specifically designed to carry out such tasks and integrate with the telematics platforms to improve business workflow and provide an audit trail.
Furthermore, advanced telematics solutions can also provide insight into how vehicles are performing by reporting trouble codes directly from their engines.
For example, if a vehicle is low on oil or has an engine fault, management can be immediately notified to ensure problems are quickly fixed.
A commitment to effective risk management is a commitment to good business practice and reputation management. Construction companies that lead the charge in managing fleet risk effectively will be better equipped to face the future with peace of mind and on a sound legal and operational footing.
Giles Margerison is TomTom Telematics director UK & Ireland.