Disc-Lock to demonstrate fleet safety systems at Freight in the City Birmingham

Disc-Lock will be reinforcing its safety message when it spins down to the Freight in the City Spring Summit next month.

The Wrexham-based group provides vibration-proof fastening systems used in a variety of industries worldwide from trucks, trailers and buses to rail engineering and heavy equipment manufacturing.

The three main products produced by Disc-Lock include the Safety Wheel Nut, which is a free spinning, vibration and shock-proof wheel nut designed to eliminate the risk of wheel loss from commercial vehicles.

“They are a leading solution to prevent the loss of wheel nuts and wheel detachments used throughout the transport industry,” a spokesman said.

The other two main products are the Disc-Lock Locking Nut, which is a double hex, free spinning, vibration-proof lock nut and a Disc-Lock Washer, which is a heavy duty self-locking product to prevent loosening caused by shock or vibrations in high-stress applications.

“Safety matters, with every commercial fleet and transport manager looking to make their commercial vehicles safe on the road for today, tomorrow and for the future,” the spokesman added.

Fors team to focus on driver and manager training at Freight in the City Spring Summit

Aecom, which manages and operates Fors, will be focused on ramping up driver training when it hosts a stand at the Freight in the City Spring Summit next month in Birmingham.

It will outline the recent introduction of Fors Professional, which it describes as a comprehensive package of essential training for managers and drivers.

“It will be delivered with cutting-edge content to help operators meet the Fors standard,” a spokeswoman said. “Fors Professional is designed to improve knowledge and professional standards for any commercial vehicle operator, addressing in detail today’s safety and efficiency challenges.”

Aecom stresses that all Fors Professional training is fully approved and meets Fors, Clocs and TfL’s Work Related Road Risk requirements. It also provides Jaupt-approved driver training delivered by qualified professionals.

Fors is a voluntary accreditation scheme that promotes best practice for commercial vehicle operators.

With more than 4,350 members, Aecom said it is gaining recognition as the transport industry’s “go-to accreditation scheme”.

It encompasses all aspects of safety, efficiency, and environmental protection by encouraging and training fleet operators to measure, monitor and improve performance. It also provides accreditation pathways for operators of any type, and for those organisations that award contracts and specify transport requirements.

“Fors members stand out from the crowd,” the spokeswoman added. “They work to standards above the legal minimum and have access to a wide range of exclusive benefits that provide a real competitive advantage.”

Find out more by coming along to the  Freight in the City Spring Summit held on 1 March at Edgbaston Stadium. Make sure to reserve your free place today!

By David Craik

Brigade Electronics brings HGV safety into focus at Freight in the City Birmingham

Brigade Electronics will be heading to the Freight in the City Spring Summit in Birmingham next month to help hauliers reduce the risk of road collisions.

The group will be exhibiting its demonstration vehicle fitted with products to reduce the risk of collision, detect vulnerable road users and in addition improve insurance premiums.

In particular, the focus will fall on its Backeye360 next-generation camera monitor system.

“It takes four camera views and displays them as one seamless image on the monitor. This eliminates the need for split screen images and reduces driver distraction,” a spokeswoman said.

Also on display will be Brigade’s digital recording system, MDR, which it states is ideal for providing evidence in the event of a collision or crash-for-cash scam.

“MDR is good practice for operators who want a process to record and review incidents, traffic collisions and reported near-misses as required in Fors and Clocs specifications,” the spokeswoman added.

Brigade has also launched a new finance scheme to help operators struggling with the cost of vehicle safety devices required for site specifications and tenders.

The lease scheme offers customers the opportunity to spread the cost of equipment in monthly payments across three to five-year plans. They can also add extended parts and labour warranty and fitting costs in the overall price.

This is supported by Brigade Service Partners, which offer nationwide fitting and support for anyone that has bought the Brigade brand.

Find out more by coming along to the Freight in the City Spring Summit held on 1 March at Edgbaston Stadium. Make sure to reserve your free place today!

 By David Craik

Astra Vehicle Technologies to help tackle blind spots at Freight in the City Birmingham

Astra Vehicle Technologies is ready to help the industry fight the problem of blind spots when it takes part at the Freight in the City Spring Summit next month.

The group will demonstrate its Astra ClearView safety systems, including its retrofit low level passenger door windows to help drivers cope with the challenges of the “urban jungle”.

Director John Chadderton says the windows, created after collaboration with HGV manufacturers, help to improve direct vision by reducing the crucial blind spot area situated to the nearside of a vehicle.

He adds that this is achieved without imposing significant additional cognitive load upon the driver.

“Despite the many mirrors applied to modern vehicles, blind spots in heavy goods and construction vehicles have been demonstrated to be significant in recent modelling exercises completed for TfL,” Chadderton said.

He added: “Our range of low level windows cover a number of current popular vehicle makes and models.

“Uniquely it is the only retrofit window product that does not detract from the provisions of the vehicle manufacturer by maintaining full operation of the original passenger door window.”

Chadderton said another benefit of the Astra ClearView system is that it provides a large low-level window area which is both ’e’ marked and fully bonded with a similar SIKA-tested process to that used within vehicle manufacturing.

The range is available for fitment via 20 depots nationwide, using SIKA-process trained installation engineers.

For more information, you can meet the team at the City Spring Summit held on 1 March at Edgbaston Stadium, Birmingam. Make sure to reserve your free place today!

By David Craik

Fors freezes 2017 membership fees; lowers charges for smaller operators

Fors has published its membership subscription fees for 2017, lowering charges for smaller operations and freezing its other fees at last year’s levels.

From 17 February, Fors will now apply a flat rate of £80 per vehicle for fleets with up to five vehicles.

Under 2016’s structure those with two to three vehicles paid £180, while those with four to ten vehicles paid £420 (under 2017’s revisions those with six to ten vehicles will pay £420).

Those with a single vehicle will pay £65 as they did a year ago, and the other subscription fee bands have been frozen right up to the top of the scale (those running 100 vehicles who pay £2,250).

Audit fees and silver and gold evidencing checks remain unchanged too.

All prices exclude VAT.

“What this shows,” said Fors director, John Hix, “is that Fors is very much in tune with the operating community and the demands it faces with the cost of running commercial vehicle fleets – whatever their size and make-up.

“We enjoyed a good deal of positive feedback at our Fors Members’ Conference,” he said, “and, quite rightly, operating costs, were uppermost in the minds of members.

“So, we wanted to make sure our fees are as keen as possible and we will remain receptive to member feedback,” he added.

North-east of Scotland tackles air pollution through Eco Stars fleet focus

The councils of Aberdeen City and Aberdeenshire, alongside regional transport partnership Nestrans, are working with local commercial vehicle fleets to improve air quality.

A new Eco Stars Fleet Recognition Scheme has been created for the region to encourage and support operators of HGVs, vans, buses and coaches to make their operations more efficient and drive down harmful emissions.

Membership of the scheme is free to all operators and includes an initial assessment and star rating of a fleet based on current performance, as well as personalised recommendations to help cut emissions while also reducing operating costs.

The new scheme was launched at the Town House, Aberdeen last month (pictured), with award presentations to inaugural members which included, DHL, Hargreaves Logistics, John G Russell and William Walker Transport among others.

Both councils’ fleets are leading by example and were among the first applicants to the scheme.

Councillor Ross Grant, spokesman for transport and regeneration at Aberdeen City Council, said: “Participation in the Eco Stars scheme will help the city with its target of reducing carbon emissions by 31% and compliance with national nitrogen dioxide and particulate air quality objectives by 2020.”

Mark Cavers, Eco Stars Scotland manager, from consultancy TRL, which manage Eco Stars on behalf of local authorities said: “The Aberdeen City and Shire scheme means that all four main cities in Scotland have now joined the Eco Stars network and are working with their commercial fleet operators to improve air quality across Scotland.”

The Eco Stars Fleet Recognition Scheme was originally set up in South Yorkshire, in 2009, when local councils wanted to tackle local air quality issues caused by transport.

Eco Stars now has 24 schemes in the UK and several more in Europe.


Grace Foods UK brings truck drivers and cyclists together for safety event

World foods supplier Grace Foods UK (GFUK) held its first Cycle Truck Awareness event at its HQ in Welwyn Garden City earlier this month.

The company invited adult and junior members from local cycling club Welwyn Wheelers to partake in a road safety exercise highlighting the dangers of cycling around HGVs.

Cyclists were encouraged by drivers to climb into their lorry cabs and get a driver’s eye view of the variety of blind spots and dangers that can influence cycle safety.

Drivers also highlighted a number safety features on the company’s trucks such as four-camera CCTV and audio warning systems fitted.Eyes-on-the-road

“Many of the cycling club members were amazed at the number of blind spots and how these became visible once the camera systems were enabled,” said GFUK transport manager Russell Avery.

He believes continuous training for cyclists and drivers is the best way to reduce cycle fatalities and accidents involving HGVs.

A Fors bronze-level member, the company runs its own fleet of 12 vehicles ranging from 3.5-tonnes up to 26 tonnes undertaking temperature-controlled deliveries of Tex-Mex food products for its Funnybones Foodservice business.

Prior to this latest safety event, it ensured its driver workforce was aware of the challenges faced by cyclists in urban areas by putting them through a Fors-funded Driver CPC module that included riding bikes around the streets of north London.

“This was a valuable lesson for their driver team as Saturday’s experience was for the cyclists,” said Avery.

He added that both parties will look to repeat the event again for future club members.

West Yorkshire aims to improve air quality with Eco Stars scheme for fleets

A consortium of five West Yorkshire councils is working with local fleet operators to improve air quality through the launch of a new Eco Stars scheme.

The fleet recognition scheme provides guidance and advice on operational best practice to operators of goods vehicles, buses, coaches and commercial vehicle fleets.

It is being delivered by transport consultancy TRL on behalf of Bradford, Calderdale, Kirklees, Leeds and Wakefield districts.

The first fleet operators to sign up to the West Yorkshire scheme were welcomed to the launch event by councillor Keith Wakefield (pictured), chair of the West Yorkshire Combined Authority Transport Committee. 

They included three local council fleets, Bradford and Leeds Teaching Hospitals and operators The Co-operative Group, JG Pears and DHL.

Wakefield said at the launch event in Elland Rd, Leeds, this week:  “Our city region is key to the North’s and the nation’s success and West Yorkshire Combined Authority and its partners are committed to unlocking the Leeds City Region’s full economic potential and making it the low-carbon ‘growth engine’ for the North.

He added that the Eco Stars scheme would be a significant factor in helping the region achieve its air quality ambitions, which include a low-emission strategy, a clean air zone for Leeds city centre, and a modernised bus fleet.

Ann Beddoes, Eco Stars schemes manager, from Barnsley Metropolitan Borough Council, said: “I am delighted that West Yorkshire have joined the Eco Stars network and wish them every success in their drive to reduce air pollution.

“We hope that West Yorkshire’s fleet operators will take full advantage of this opportunity to make a difference to their local environment while at the same time improving their bottom line.”


British Gypsum working with subbies to help them reach Fors silver level

British Gypsum is to mandate that all subcontractors entering its customers’ sites hold Fors silver status within the next 12 months.

The building materials manufacturer is a Clocs champion. It uses three Fors gold level lead-hauliers to manage its five sites – Ceva Logistics, DHL and John Jempson & Sons. However, it is looking to extend this safety focus throughout its transport supply chain.

To help its smallest subbies, British Gypsum has spent the past year educating them in the benefits of achieving Fors and supporting them through the process of gaining accreditation.

“You need to be able to explain to a smaller subbie who may only be doing two or three loads a week [for British Gypsum] what the financial benefit is for gaining Fors,” said Brian Fisher, British Gypsum distribution manager.

He said that this is becoming much easier as the construction sector increasingly looks to specify Fors silver accreditation – which is aligned to Clocs compliance – as the de facto standard for vehicles entering sites.

The firm has so far helped 40 subbies begin their Fors journey. “They then started progressing towards Fors bronze over the past 12 months – we’ve even got a couple up to Fors silver already. The rest will be there by October next year,” Fisher said.

He said it is essential that large firms employing operators, such as British Gypsum, take the lead in ensuring smaller subcontractors get the support to achieve higher safety standards.

“These smaller firms are unlikely to go to an event about it [Fors] as they will lose a day’s driving and wages, so we have an obligation as does everyone else who runs large fleets,” said Fisher.

FTA names Matthew Pickering as its Driver of the Year 2016

The overall winner of the FTA Driver of the Year Award 2016 has been revealed at this year’s Freight in the City Expo.

Matthew Pickering, an HGV driver at Samworth Brothers Supply Chain, was crowned as FTA’s ultimate winner today (2 November).

It came after he took the 44-tonne category title at the three-day event held in July at Mercedes-Benz Wentworth Park in Barnsley, and saw him pip fellow category winners David West and Matthew Young.

West from Total Food Services Solutions scooped the 18-tonne award at the summer event while Young, from AAH Pharmaceuticals, won the vans category.

Drivers at the July event took part in rigorous driving tests including fuel efficiency, pre-use defect checking and manoeuvring skills.

Speaking at Freight in the City, Natalie Chapman, head of policy for London, the South-East and the East of England, said the awards recognised the “amazing job” professional drivers do and the important role they carry out”.

Presenting Pickering with his trophy, FTA chief executive David Wells confirmed the competition would be run again in 2017.

Drivers that took part in the competition said they would thoroughly recommend their peers take part next year, in a “challenging, yet rewarding” event.

They added that they were pleased the awards recognised the effort they put into their driving roles.