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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

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

Sleep apnoea and driving: how can this be dealt with?

by Eleonora Malacarne on Dec 16, 2015 9:00:00 AM

Sleep apnoea and driving: how can this be dealt with?

Driver fatigue is one of the biggest contributory factors leading to road collisions. Such collisions are usually severe and are unfortunately often fatal, simply because sleepy drivers cannot take action or react evasively in the immediate moments preceding the accident: the impact usually occurs at high speed, often resulting in serious injuries or death.

Driver fatigue can originate from different causes: it can be anything from simple sleeping problems due to lack of quality recovery time and rest periods at home or during work breaks (which must be properly observed), to the use of prescription drugs which cause drowsiness, or even the presence of daytime sleepiness and diseases such as sleep apnoea.

Obstructive sleep apnoea (OSA) is in fact among the most prevalent conditions leading to excessive daytime sleepiness, in addition to impaired cognitive function, both of which are likely to impair driving ability.  An increased risk of traffic accidents has been demonstrated repeatedly, in association with OSA, as well its normalisation with effective treatment.

It is therefore very important that OSA is diagnosed and treated properly. Some of the symptoms that might indicate you suffer from OSA include:

• choking episodes during sleep;
• morning headaches;
• depression;
• waking feeling unrefreshed;
• difficulty concentrating;
• irritability.

If in doubt, and especially if you drive for a living, consult your GP and specify your line of work.

There is also an additional reason for doing this: according to the EU Directive - 2014/85/EU of 1 July 2014 amending Directive 2006/126/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council on driving licences, there are new and far reaching changes to driving licensing for ordinary drivers, but especially for all types of professional drivers. Such regulations especially affect those who have sleep apnoea and daytime sleepiness and all countries in the EU must adopt these new regulations by December 2015 at the latest.

This is what some of the key points within the directive actually state:



Applicants or drivers in whom a moderate or severe obstructive sleep apnoea syndrome is suspected shall be referred for further authorised medical advice before a driving licence is issued or renewed. They may be advised not to drive until confirmation of the diagnosis.


Driving licences may be issued to applicants or drivers with moderate or severe obstructive sleep apnoea syndrome who show adequate control of their condition and compliance with appropriate treatment and improvement of sleepiness, if any, confirmed by authorised medical opinion.


Applicants or drivers with moderate or severe obstructive sleep apnoea syndrome under treatment shall be subject to a periodic medical review, at intervals not exceeding three years for drivers of group 1 and one year for drivers of group 2, with a view to establish the level of compliance with the treatment, the need for continuing the treatment and continued good vigilance.


So, sleep apnoea and driving, how can this be dealt with? How should a company that employs drivers deal with the problem of OSA?

Companies with staff who drive for work should train drivers and their managers to look out for common symptoms—suspected sufferers should be taken off driving duty immediately and referred for medical assessment.

Annual health checks can also help identify potential OSA sufferers. Research has indicated that medical examinations for drivers that look for common health issues among sedentary workers, such as obesity, hypertension and diabetes, can help identify OSA in drivers who may not have noticed the symptoms themselves.

Road Safety organisations advise employers to be sympathetic to drivers who may have OSA. Drivers often won’t want to admit there is a problem because they will be scared they will lose their job. Employers can help with this by educating line managers about the condition, particularly the crucial fact that it is treatable.

OSA is treatable, so anyone who thinks they may be suffering should seek medical advice as soon as possible so they can start getting uninterrupted sleep again.



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Topics: Road Safety, fleet risk management, Safety, risk assessment

6 amazing strategies for building up a fleet safety training program

by Eleonora Malacarne on Dec 14, 2015 9:00:00 AM

If you are in charge of managing health and safety in your company you will probably know that it is many faceted, and raising awareness of the importance of safety is just one aspect. This means not just focusing on reaching the minimum legal requirements, but actively encouraging a safe and professional driving attitude  to build a solid company reputation by making efforts to protect workers and other road users, minimise accidents and collisions, downtime and injury costs (not to mention the unquantifiable costs in terms of trauma).

If you take time to consider some of these points you'll probably conclude that having a fleet safety training program is not only desirable, but rather a “must have”... but do you know how to gradually build up a fleet safety training program?

Let’s get started with these 6 strategies!



#1 - Get to know the hazards in your workplace

If you want to introduce safety strategies protecting your employees from hazards, you first have to identify, analyse and control them. Establish which activities or behaviours may involve risks for employees or, for example, can be minimised, avoided or carried out in a different way.


#2 - Make sure you know what is legally required

In order to plan for an effective safety training program for business and to correctly instruct drivers and employees, you certainly need to know the rules. Make sure you master what is legally required and that you keep up-to-date with legislation since it is constantly changing.


#3 - Create an objective for your safety training

What do you want your employees to learn from your training? If you set up precise targets for your training, it will be more effective. Think about the tasks that you would like your employees to achieve and then work backwards in order to plan how these goals are be accomplished.


#4 - Create your training program keeping your staff in mind

If you want to create a successful safety training program you will have to keep the characteristics of your employees in mind. Drivers are usually less comfortable with written material than with practical field training, but this might not apply across the board. Choose an adequate type of training for your employees and personalise it, don’t make it a simple read out of rules. Emphasise the importance of the training as it will keep them safer while they carry out their daily tasks


#5 - Make the learning process active

If the training is just a lecture where workers sit passively, it won’t necessarily be successful. Make it lively and interactive with Q&A sessions, encourage participation with simulation of real-life situations, and make liberal use of pictures to illustrate your points. Be a listener and make sure you use the language shared by your workers. Keep it fairly straightforward, not too technical, and avoid jargon.


#6 - Test and evaluate during the training

It is important you test drivers in order to make sure they have correctly understood the concepts underlined throughout the training. Make sure you are obtaining the expected effect out of your training—observe driver behaviour and evaluate results.


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

Fleet accident prevention: 5 more tips for running safe vehicles

by Eleonora Malacarne on Dec 7, 2015 9:00:00 AM

Fleet accident prevention is something you, as a fleet manager, really ought to look into. There are moral duties and legal requirements for companies who operate vehicles regarding safety, which may seem burdensome at the time but can actively benefit your entire business. As a matter of fact, a safe fleet requires fewer resources and is often better organized.

Let’s look at 5 steps that will make your fleet safer and run more smoothly!

fleet accident prevention

#1 - Streamline your fleet through a global fleet policy

Keep it simple and make sure all drivers understand and know the rules; one of the aims of building up a fleet policy is preventing collisions.

#2 - Replace old vehicles if unsafe

Vehicles are safe if correctly maintained, but they have a lifespan. If a vehicle is not updated with the latest safety features or require excessive fuel/maintenance, it might have to be replaced due to cost or safety reasons.

#3 - Adopt safe driving practices

Drivers are key in accident prevention; they should adopt and sustain a driving style that promotes safety, abstain from alcohol/drugs, pay attention to prescriptions that induce drowsiness and avoid aggressive driving.
#4 - Pay attention to your loads/vehicles

Not all vehicles can transport any kind of goods/loads. Some loads can be dangerous if not transported by the right vehicle. It is necessary to correctly assess and manage weight and dimensions—goods transported in an unsuitable vehicle can result in an accident.
#5 - Check the weather

Your driving style won’t be the same in the rain, sun or snow, respectively. You have to adjust it according to the weather conditions in order to guarantee safety for yourself and for other road users.





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Topics: Road Safety, fleet risk management, risk assessment

Transport company fined in the UK for safety failings

by Eleonora Malacarne on Oct 9, 2015 9:00:00 AM


A transport company in the UK was fined for safety failings after a worker suffered serious injuries after a crate fell on him while he was unloading.
The incident, dating back to 2013, occurred whilst a worker was helping to unload containers containing crates with glass mirrors. One of these containers had no fork pockets or lighting, so he was trying to manually assist the forklift truck operator to align the forks correctly. Some of the crates seemed to be stuck; unfortunately when the forklift operator tried to dislodge them, one fell onto the worker, pushing him to the side of the container.
The worker affected by the incident suffered life changing injuries and will not be able to work for at least three years.
According to the current Health and Safety legislation principles (Health and Safety at Work Act of 1974), Portmans Transport, the employer, was fined a total of £9,000 (around €12,000), and pleaded guilty to an offence under section 2(1) of the act.
The injured employee had apparently only been working at the company for less than three weeks and had no previous experience with this type of unloading work.
The incident was recognised as evitable: the company failed to plan what should happen in the event of an awkward unloading (or “devanning”) situation—incorrectly assessing and identifying the risks. According to the act, a company has a duty to identify these kinds of risks and take the appropriate control measures.
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Topics: fleet risk management, risk management, Safety, fleet safety

How to get started with fleet risk assessment: a quick guide

by Eleonora Malacarne on Sep 30, 2015 9:00:00 AM


Risk assessment consists in carefully examining what in the course of working activity could cause harm to people (employees and others) in order to evaluate if enough precautions are currently being undertaken, or whether more should be done to prevent such harm.
Risk assessment is, therefore, a vital component of health and safety management in any business—particularly for those which revolve around driving. We have made much mention of the legal imperatives for companies with regards to the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974, as well as the EU legislation and Corporate Manslaughter Act.
Efficient risk management will protect your workers and drivers as well as ensuring your business is law compliant—helping you prevent injuries and avoid health related issues down the line. One person within your business should be appointed responsible and should attend proper risk assessment training so that they are able to properly identify hazards, categorise them, as well as evaluating the risks.

But how do businesses carry out risk assessments?

There is no fixed rule on how risk assessments should be conducted, but there is generally an ideal procedure to follow in order to make sure it is carried out correctly—let’s take a look:
#1 - Identify the hazards within your working activity: hazards are situations that have the potential to cause harm and can be identified by communicating with employees or by walking round the workplace and taking notes. In a haulage company, for example, vehicles moving, the act of driving itself, load securing, coupling and uncoupling are all hazards.

#2 - Establish who might be harmed: once hazards within your business have been identified, decide who can be harmed. If we think about companies that specifically employ drivers, this would obviously include employees and people in proximity to working activity on company premises, but this point also encompasses any other road user.

#3 - Evaluate risks and establish control measures: how are you going to protect people from harm, control risks, and eliminate hazards? Appropriate training, regular reviews, the setting up of checks, internal policies and manuals are some of these approaches.
#4 - Record your findings: keep track of the hazards that crop up during work activity and the people at risk, then communicate how you plan to eliminate them in a written document.
#5 - Review the assessments and update them regularly: business never stays the same and it is necessary to continuously review, and update the identification of risks.
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Topics: fleet risk management, risk management, Safety

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