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COVID-19: an extra item to be considered in fleet risk assessment

by Eleonora Malacarne on May 20, 2020 9:00:00 AM

COVID-19 an extra item to be considered in fleet risk assessment


Driving is a risky activity and companies that rely on driving, operate vehicles and manage drivers should be very familiar with fleet risk assessment and carry out assessments on a regular basis. Fleet risk assessment ensures that fleets do comply with legislation and, while meeting their duty of care obligations, that they ensure drivers are able to protect themselves and other road users from risks.

COVID-19 has had an important impact on fleets and drivers so far and will continue to have an impact even if the lockdown measures are gradually going to be eased. Therefore, fleet risk assessment, which consists in identifying what can harm people in the workplace, who might be harmed and how, in evaluating the risks and deciding on the appropriate controls, taking into account those already in place, in recording the risk assessment and in reviewing and updating the assessment, will necessarily have to be reviewed because of COVID-19.

In Ireland, in order to help both companies that are resuming work and those who have continued working during the lockdown, the Health and Safety Authority (HSA), together with the Health Services Executive (HSE) and the Department of Health and the Department of Business, Enterprise and Innovation have issued The Return to Work Safely Protocol, that can be found on the website.

In the UK, the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial strategy has released guidance for people who work in or from vehicles, including couriers, mobile workers, lorry drivers, on-site transit and work vehicles, field forces and similar. The COVID-19 guide for those who work with vehicles can be found on the website.

If you need further guidance on how to work with vehicles while protecting employees and users from COVID-19, contact us.


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Topics: fleet risk assessment, Covid-19

Airport ramp safety: food cart spinning out of control goes viral

by Eleonora Malacarne on Oct 15, 2019 9:00:00 AM

Airport ramp safety food cart spinning out of control goes viral

Ramp safety is a very important matter in the aviation sector, as the area of an airport ramp involves a huge number of different activities, vehicle movements and the presence of people that have to be coordinated. Maintenance staff, ground handlers, fuelers, airling engineers, airport police (and the list could continue) all move on the ramp and around the aircraft in order to get it ready for departure or after its arrival. Depending on the activity taking place, the equipment used or the complexity of any tasks being carried out, ramp operations and workers might face different risks. But what happened in Chicago O'Hare airport to a catering cart at the end of September was probably not expected by the majority of staff operating around an American Airlines due to leave soon after the incident.

A video that has soon gone viral in the last 2 weeks shows a catering cart "gone crazy" and spinning out of control. The video was caught by Dr. Kevin Klauer, an osteopathic physician, who saw the cart's uncontrolled circular ride on the tarmac while waiting for his flight to Tennessee:

What at the beginning seemed hilarious to see, started well soon to be perceived as a possible accident as the vehicle came closer and closer and was about to hit the aircraft. But thanks to the quick action of a ramp instructor, later identified as Jorge Manalang, the vehicle was stopped. Manalang hit the catering cart with a pushback tractor to prevent what could have been a serious accident. The aircraft could leave soon and reached its destination with just a 10 minute delay.

According to the first investigations, the accelerator of the vehicle got stuck, causing it to spin out of control. The accelerator was allegedly hit by a water case.

The episode, tweeted by Dr. Kevin Klauer, got viral and has so far reached 18.2M views on Twitter.


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Topics: fleet risk management, fleet risk assessment, GSE fleets, Airport fleet management

Health and safety incident at work: employee falls off lorry, company fined

by Eleonora Malacarne on Sep 26, 2019 9:03:00 AM

Health and safety incident at work employee falls off lorry, company fined

Steel water storage tank manufacturer Braithwaite Engineers was recently fined after one of its employees sustained serious injuries after a significant fall while working at their site the town of Risca, located in South East Wales. 

On the 25th October 2017, a Braithwaite employee fell from a lorry bed while unloading and suffered multiple fractures to his body, including to his head, shoulder blade, ribs and fingers forcing a medical absence of five months from work.

The HSE (Health and Safety Executive) investigation concluded that Braithwaite Engineers had not offered suitable and clear instructions nor training to ensure employers carried out this specific activity in a safe manner—something that would ordinarily be expected as part of an employer’s Duty of Care.

Braithwaite Engineers, of Units A&B Leeway House, Leeway Industrial Estate, Newport pleaded guilty of breaching Section 2(1) of the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974 in Cwmbran Magistrates Court and was fined £9,400 (€10,533) and ordered to pay costs of £1,680.75 (€1882).

After the case, HSE inspector Will Powell made the following statement: “Falls from vehicles can be overlooked by employers when considering risks from work at height. Simple measures would have prevented this accident.”

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Topics: News, Stats & Facts, Health and Safety at work, fleet risk assessment

Telematics helps organisations to be proactive with fleet safety, says ETSC

by Eleonora Malacarne on Nov 6, 2018 9:00:00 AM

Telematics helps organisations to be proactive with fleet safety, says ETSC

The ETSC (European Transport Safety Council) has recently issued a new report focussing on the role of fleet telematics in the improvement of risk assessment for companies whose commercial activity depends on vehicles. The study, entitled “Using Telematics In Professional Vehicle Fleets” was published October, 2018 and focusses on the positive role of this technology for companies dependent on vehicles.

According to numbers published by the ETSC, more than 25,000 people lost their lives during the whole of 2017 on European roads and around 135,000 suffered injuries deriving from collisions. All in all, it has been estimated that around 40% of the people involved in those accidents were driving for work: 40% of the fatal collisions were in fact work-related.

Governments have taken different measures towards safer roads, adapting their legislation and helping road safety organisations to implement new schemes and programmes with the common aim of reducing those numbers. In this environment, the use of fleet telematics as systems able to capture vehicle data is no longer seen as a tool providing evidence only in the event of a collision, because of its ability to reconstruct what happened leading up to it, but is increasingly being used to monitor driver behaviour. Telematics offers a wide array of data that can potentially be used not only as a risk management tool, but also to identify fleet-wide issues or to improve the sales side of a business.

According to the ETSC, this powerful tool can minimise risks within a fleet by adopting different types of approaches:

  • Some road safety issues can in fact be global, such as speeding, which has an impact on both professional drivers and any other road user.
  • Then there are driver-specific issues that relate to a particular member of staff and can be monitored in real time. Strengths, weaknesses and areas of concern can be worked on for all drivers, and the publication makes the specific example of drivers particularly prone to speeding or less than perfect driving which might be attributed to poor eyesight.
  • Finally, some issues highlighted within the fleet might actually be related to the wider company and help with the organisation of business practices through policies or the implementation of superior processes; for example, in the loading and unloading of vehicles, the prevention of idling and fatigue and in order to identify risky patterns.

To make the best use of telematics data, the ETSC publication offers a number of suggestions:

  • Collecting data should be carried out correctly and regularly. The data obtained thanks to the technology available might be converted into a more relevant format for drivers, and such collections should be done on a regular basis over a reasonable length of time so as to fully realise the benefits of the system. The continuous collection of data and its analysis will not only help implement positive improvements but also assess behaviours and eventually modify them if inappropriate.
  • It is important to have a risk assessment programme that focusses on the most important issues and that does not let the benefits go due to the abundance of data available.

  • Regarding data protection, it is important that the implementation of telematics follows the legal guidelines of the country where it is implemented and pays special attention to the drivers. Staff need to be informed about the data collected, the potential use of it and should be in a position to discuss this usage.

  • It is fundamental that everyone in the business is involved in the telematics process and shares joint responsibility for its success, as a team.


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Topics: GPS & Tracking, fleet safety, fleet risk assessment

48% of Irish companies managing vehicles have no risk assessment process in place

by Eleonora Malacarne on Oct 9, 2018 9:00:00 AM

48% of Irish companies managing vehicles have no risk assessment process in place

September has not only been the back-to-school month for companies whose business relies on vehicles, but also a period for balancing the different activities associated with their commercial operation and reviewing their readiness in terms of roadworthiness, safety and compliance.

A study on compliance inspections carried out on drivers’ hours and an RSA investigation on bus conditions in Ireland have revealed that the number of inspections into the verification of fleet compliance is considerable to the extent that companies need to have a preventive compliance strategy and never compromise safety in order to generate savings. But another inspection campaign, conducted this time by the Health and Safety Authority (HSA) of Ireland, targeting risk assessment processes, has revealed that 48% of Irish companies do not have a vehicle risk programme covering risk assessment related to their activities.

This latter campaign focussed on dedicated inspections carried out between April 9 and April 20, 2018 and published in September. In that period of time 145 inspections focussing on transport and vehicles risk have been conducted in different activity sectors, with Transport and Storage, Manufacturing and Wholesale and Retail being the most prominent. A second round of 149 inspections was conducted up until June and also counted in the results.

Driving for work was actually considered in 229 out of a total of 294 inspections as a relevant activity, but only for 49% of these companies was driving for work actually addressed in their safety statement. Despite working with vehicles being considered a high risk activity, a considerable proportion of workplaces still do not fully appreciate the statistical evidence, while a consistently high percentage (46%) of fatal incidents are connected with vehicle use.

Despite the stress made by all organisations involved and the results yielded by the different studies and the actions taken by these road safety and health and safety authorities, a lot more commitment is needed by employers in order to tackle risks related to the use of vehicles, as well as more effort needed in the management of such activities.

During the whole month of October, free driving for work seminars will be conducted by the RSA and the HSA in collaboration with An Garda Síochána, to outline legal requirements for companies regarding fleet and vehicle management, including information on best practices and how to manage drivers and provide guidance in risk management. The first two appointments were on the 4th and 5th of October, but there are two more left, they are for the 24th of October in Fota Island Resort in Cork and the 27th in Leopardstown Pavilion in Dublin.



Watch the video "How to effectively manage risk in driving-for-work activities"

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Topics: Fleet Management, fleet safety, fleet risk assessment

Safety breaches don't go on holiday: some August cases

by Eleonora Malacarne on Aug 30, 2018 9:00:00 AM

Safety breaches don't go on holiday: some August cases

Despite August being a relatively quiet and relaxed period for some sectors, this certainly doesn’t mean that incidents don’t happen: it’s actually a good time of the year, rather than taking your eye of the ball, to evaluate everything and make sure the safety of your fleet is still right up to scratch (which it should be all year long, really) in order to prevent the unwelcome possibility of a safety breach.


During the month of August, two breaking stories concerning the transport sector have demonstrated once again that safety reminders are never too frequent; ongoing investigations will determine if safety breaches have been the main causes of these incidents or not (it certainly seems to be the case for at least for one of them) and what could have been done in order to prevent the events from happening. Too often, incidents regarding fleets could have been prevented with a sound safety strategy.


In the first case, a transport and storage company, H Walton Ltd, was sentenced in mid-August of this year for safety breaches connected to an event on August 9, 2017, in which one of their drivers suffered injuries leading to the loss of an arm. The episode was probably caused by a malfunctioning interlocking device of the trailer, and the emergency stop device for the discharge mechanism of the vehicle was also found not to be working after an HSE investigation. According to the inspectors, vehicles of this kind are fitted with these devices in order to prevent similar incidents, but regular checks to ensure that those safety devices were working properly had not been carried out, despite being part of the regular checks specifically prescribed for these vehicles.


Still in the month of August, a fatal collision between an HGV belonging to haulage company Eddie Stobart and a pedestrian, who allegedly was thought to have initially been driving a Volkswagen Caddy van before pulling over and exiting his vehicle, occurred in the Droitwich M5 area. At the moment, the investigating authorities think the death might have occurred as a result of a road rage incident that escalated between the two parties. It is thought that the man in his 60s died after being struck by the HGV driven by a 50 year old Eddie Stobart employee. Police are appealing for witnesses in order to clarify the causes of the collision, particularly anyone who might actually have dashcam footage of the event.


If in the first case it seems to be quite evident that a failing vehicle inspection procedure has been among the chief causes of the event, and that it could have been prevented by arranging regular safety vehicle checks. In the second case, authorities will have to verify what happened first. But in order to not be caught unprepared, make sure you have a sound safety and compliance process in your fleet; and never get too complacent about carrying out these procedures simply by rote if they really need to be updated to meet the required levels of safety.


If you need to know how to implement a comprehensive fleet safety strategy where vehicle checks and compliance are guaranteed (and your peace of mind), do not hesitate to contact us.


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Topics: fleet risk management, fleet safety, fleet risk assessment

How risk assessment flaws can impact on your fleet and company

by Eleonora Malacarne on May 3, 2018 9:00:00 AM

How risk assessment flaws can impact on your fleet and company

If you all work in fleet management or use vehicles for commercial activity and to develop your business, you will surely agree with the principle that the pressure these days is on cost reduction strategies at the fleet level. With all of this pressure, often implicit and presumed, is there still room to improve risk assessment processes and its proactive management?

The answer should be a definite ‘yes’, as safety and risk management should never be abandoned but there should rather be an all-around commitment in your company, not only to build up a safety culture but also to address compliance, to share good practice and go beyond the legal minimum to ensure drivers and road users are as safe as possible, and that the company is maximising the benefits that come from better management of those who drive for work.


Despite this theory and their fine sentiments being crystal clear for everyone involved in fleet management, two cases raised by Fleet News (both published in April) have demonstrated that companies still do not get how crucial it is to address risk full on, not only for safety which should be reason no. 1, but also because of the undeniable advantages that a wise risk management attitude can bring to your business.

The first case is the one of a food and drink supplier which resulted in a suspension of vehicle operations by Scotland’s Traffic Commissioner. This particular company was caught operating a defective vehicle in July 2017. Normally a company vehicle is checked every six weeks, but in this instance records showed the vehicle was last checked in March 2017. For reasons that are unclear, it seems the company carried out only arbitrary inspections. According to Scotland’s Traffic Commissioner, Joan Aitken, “The operator did fall into the unacceptable way of putting business priorities ahead of a tight regime for ensuring vehicles were roadworthy.”

The second case involves a logistics company  that was fined after an agency worker was crushed unloading a vehicle from a visiting delivery lorry. According to a review of the incident, in 2015 an agency worker was unchaining a vehicle ramp from the delivery lorry when it unexpectedly shifted forward whilst one chain remained attached to the ramp, crushing the worker between the ramp and a barrier. The subsequent investigation by HSE found that the company hadn’t fully manged the risks associated with loading and unloading the vehicles involving the ramp. There were insufficiently robust systems in place to ensure safe practice regarding these tasks. Nor was there sufficient training of the staff involved in the activity. Finally, visiting staff should have been briefed on the loading and unloading safety protocol. The company has pled guilty to breaching Section 3(1) of the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974 and was fined £373,000 (around €426,000) and ordered to pay costs of £8,333 (around €9,500).

According to HSE inspector Tim Underwood who dealt with the case, “This incident could have been avoided if the company had created a more detailed risk assessment and introduced a fully considered safe system of work."


Fleet professionals should look to utilizing best safety practices and assess the effectiveness of their current safety policy and not sacrifice safety for business.



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Topics: fleet risk management, fleet risk assessment

How to use technology to assess risks in your fleet

by Eleonora Malacarne on Feb 22, 2018 9:00:00 AM

How to use technology to assess risks in your fleet.jpeg

Technology is taking over simply because it has proven itself an invaluable aid to companies that wish to increase efficiencies and savings and automate processes that are essential to successful fleet management. But these are not the only areas technology can be of use, as safety and risk assessment can be further empowered through the use of tools that can detect safety faults or breaches in the system. How is it then possible to use technology in order to assess risks in fleets, and what are the tools available that can make life easier in order to do this?

Dashboard cameras

Fleet dash cams today can help fleet managers save insurance premiums via footage—a useful tool to review incidents quickly and objectively. Dashboard cameras record the road ahead (in some cases, behind too) and provide high definition video that can be used as a reference to clarify events, to help you speed up claims and prove liability.

Traffic information

Traffic information integrated with fleet management software map providers can easily help in detecting potential congestion problems and assist in establishing a change of route where necessary. Traffic jams are a contributory factor regarding collisions and may also affect the ability to observe driving hours legislation.

Speeding and dangerous driving alerts

A system of speeding and dangerous driving alerts gives you total insight into the worst practices of your driving team, which can potentially lead to a collision or an infraction that can cost a lot in terms of budget and resources and damage your business reputation. If you know how your team is driving, you can easily help them with corrective training.

Driving information

Whether a driver is good or very experienced, no doubt at some point he will come across situations where his driving style might be impacted by adverse weather or road conditions. If you have access to the driving information of your team, you can definitely help deal with these eventualities en route or even decide to take a different one if the former choice might have become problematic.



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Topics: fleet risk management, fleet risk assessment

If you’re driving for work, you’re at work: new TV Campaign for Ireland

by Eleonora Malacarne on Feb 21, 2017 9:00:00 AM

If you’re driving for work, you’re at work new TV Campaign for Ireland.jpg

If you’re driving for work, you’re at work: a new TV Campaign launched on the 6th February by the Road Safety Authority of Ireland aims at focussing on the importance of employers acknowledging their responsibility for the safety of their workers.

Both employers and the self-employed have a duty of care to manage the risks faced by employees as well as any they create when they drive for work. Health and safety norms in fact apply to all work activities—driving for work is not excluded and vehicles are considered a place of work. The campaign reminds us of this important fact with the tagline, “If you’re driving for work, you’re at work”.

If youre driving for work youre at work new TV Campaign for Ireland.png


Companies that rely on driving should have in place a system for managing safety and risks. They need to ensure that their employees are in possession of the legal certifications needed to drive, are using safe and roadworthy vehicles as well as making sure their team is competent, fit to drive and trained to use vehicles safely.

Under Irish and also UK legislation, companies are responsible for putting procedures in place that make sure employees drive safely at all times. The campaign aims at raising awareness and sensitizing employers to the recognition of their responsibilities to their employees.

In the video you will see their point of view. The scenario in the video depicts the aftermath of a collision involving an employee while driving for work. The employers express their regret, sorrow and guilt for not having managed employee risks correctly. 


If an employee is driving for work, it is the responsibility of the employer to ensure they are fully qualified, capable and enabled to carry out this work task safely. The legal requirements ultimately also help businesses, as they help them achieve

  • reduction in road collisions,
  • fewer employee injuries,
  • less absenteeism,
  • lower maintenance costs,
  • lower vehicle repair costs,
  • lower insurance premiums,
  • improved compliance with legislation, and
  • lower fuel costs.


If you are unclear on how to manage risks in your fleet and need some technological help to assist you, SynX can help. Schedule a demo and we will show you how.


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Topics: Fleet Management, fleet risk management, fleet safety, fleet risk assessment

Building the business case for fleet safety: how to convince the board

by Eleonora Malacarne on Aug 4, 2016 9:00:00 AM


It is no mystery these days that fleets are urged to reduce their expenses through rightsizing or increasing fuel efficiency. Some of them are given to underestimating safety, and it can be quite difficult to convince them not to think like this; to encourage them to accept that fleet safety makes sound business sense and get them to realise how safety, apart from being necessary, can impact on their business in a number of areas.

But what are the main areas of a commercial practice that you should focus on in order to build the business case for fleet safety and persuade management to integrate a fleet safety policy into your business?

1. Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR)

A lot of public and private organisations have fleets and it forms a large part of their corporate image. So it is not only important for them to boost fleet safety because it is necessary, but also because it is vital to deliver a proactive attitude towards staff, society and the environment due to their public exposure. This is why it is becoming increasingly necessary for companies nowadays to adopt an appropriate policy or a declaration of intent.

2. Safety and efficiency

How a business operates with regards to health and safety basically impacts on a lot of other aspects of the company, especially for fleets: safety is inseparable from fuel consumption and wear and tear—it cannot be treated as independent from the other two.

3. Legal compliance

Organisations must have a system in place to assess whether staff are operating under safety conditions that comply with the Corporate Manslaughter and Road Safety Acts, and the Working Time Regulations. It’s got to the point that the safety responsibilities of companies are becoming more important and driving for work is increasingly included in the processes, even in companies that do not strictly belong to transport or logistics but still have to rely on driving in order to operate.

4. Company costs

Maintaining high safety standards and raising awareness of the issue is particularly important in order to decrease costs, despite what many might think. Fleet safety has financial implications: think about the cost of damaging your own vehicles, third party ones, and all the hidden expenses. Covering the cost of a collision requires a healthy cash flow, and sometimes the budget just won't stretch. On the other hand, being proactive on safety is a much easier and beneficial approach for all the reasons we have explained up until now.



Building the case for fleet safety: the video

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Topics: fleet safety, fleet risk assessment

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