Clarke Energy

Pushing boundaries, minimising driver risk

  1. The business

    Clarke Energy is an award-winning, multi-national specialist in the engineering, installation and maintenance of engine-based power plants.

  2. The problem

    The company wanted to do more to support its drivers and demonstrate it was fully compliant with its legal responsibilities.

  3. The solution

    Following a 'root and branch' risk audit, driver training has been introduced for high-risk drivers and workshops for managers.

I wanted to find an organisation that could deliver a full portfolio of products and services

Maria Bate Deputy Purchasing Manager, Clarke Energy

We have a strong partnership with Clarke Energy to implement a robust driver risk management programme. This initiative ensures duty of care compliance, keeps their drivers safe and minimises their collision rates to keep insurance costs down.

The driver risk programme:

  • Delivers compliance with health and safety and ‘duty of care’ responsibilities
  • Assesses each driver's exposure to risk when behind the wheel
  • Increases management understanding of their responsibilities to drivers
  • Supports the driving community through on-road, workshops and online training
  • Delivers on an ambition to make fleet a core part of health and safety
  • Produces tangible benefits that reduce fleet running costs as well as direct and indirect costs following collisions
  • Complements Kohler’s international focus on health and safety at work

Business

Clarke Energy is an award-winning, multi-national specialist in the engineering, installation and maintenance of engine-based power plants. It was acquired by the Kohler Company in February 2017 and its UK headquarters is in Liverpool.

Clarke Energy can either supply an individual generator or deliver a turnkey, multi-engine power plant backed up by long-term service support. It is a specialist in high-efficiency utilisation of fuels and is an innovator in the field of combined heat and power (CHP) or cogeneration technology.

Challenge

Clarke Energy has a robust health and safety culture but wanted to do more to support its staff when driving for work. With a fleet of over 200 cars and vans, the company needed to ensure that all its service, commissioning, installation and overhaul engineers, operating throughout the UK, were as safe as possible while driving on the company’s behalf. The company also wanted to demonstrate that it was fully compliant with its legal and health and safety responsibilities and show its employees that it cared about their well-being, not just through words but through action.

Selection

Choosing the right supplier to work with was a critical factor. Maria Bate, Deputy Purchasing Manager, shares her thoughts. “Finding a partner to work with was a key part of our purchasing decision. I wanted to find an organisation that could deliver a full portfolio of products and services and one that would support me during the set-up, implementation and roll-out of the programme. In addition, it was important to me that it was a close, ongoing account management and one that could provide in-depth guidance when I needed it.”

Approach

In terms of necessary legal compliance, Clarke Energy had been checking their drivers' licences for many years. But it wanted to do more. It wanted to identify those drivers that were at most significant risk and then give them personalised and appropriate training to mitigate those risks.

As a result, in early 2019, Clarke Energy asked us to undertake a ‘root-and-branch’ risk audit on its business operations. Having talked to the key stakeholders, and reviewed all the relevant road safety and related policies and procedures, We delivered an in-depth report highlighting the critical areas of risk for Clarke Energy. These recommendations were reviewed and actions put into place.

Programme

The first action was to get leadership buy-in and then announce the safety initiative to all relevant Clarke Energy drivers. We explained why the programme was being introduced, the responsibility that Clarke Energy has to its staff as well as describing why on-road driver training would be required for those drivers at most considerable risk.

The second action was to offer all drivers the opportunity to undertake online training on 3 key driving topics: hazard awareness, speed recognition and distractions. Managed by our Continuum fleet and driver risk portal, at the end of each online training session, the knowledge of each driver was recorded.

The third action was to assess driver risk exposure for all ‘at-work’ drivers. Using Continuum, the whole driving community of over 200 drivers, was invited to undertake a detailed online assessment covering driver information, history, knowledge and environmental exposure. As an outcome, an individual risk rating for each driver was identified.

The fourth action was to implement training interventions based on the assessment scores as well as ensuring senior and middle managers had a full understanding of their responsibilities.

Today, driver training has been introduced for high-risk drivers, and workshops arranged for line managers and senior managers to understand their health and safety responsibilities fully. Forums on specific driving topics with different groups of drivers are also planned. We have also helped to develop a brand new driver safety handbook and are working with Clarke Energy to relaunch its driver policies and procedures. In addition, post-collision interview training is being offered to any driver involved in a collision.

In future, Clarke Energy will, through us, run a induction programme for new starters focusing on eco-driving, familiarisation with company cars and vans, an eye test, how to undertake a vehicle check as well as other fleet best practice.

The Outcome

Maria Bate sums up the success of the programme.

“Historically, our fleet activities have been part of our existing health and safety culture, but I wanted to do more. I have an ambition, and a passion, to put fleet management at the heart of our business. I wanted to demonstrate to our drivers that we care about their well-being and, to the company, that a comprehensive occupational road risk programme would result in incident reductions and cost savings too.

"Our parent company, Kohler, has health and safety at its core too, so we implemented the programme not only for the business benefits but frankly because it’s the right thing to do!”

Matt Rapier, our Business Development Manager, agrees. “Rolling out any road risk programme that helps keep drivers safer and more aware as well as making better driving decisions is very challenging. It needs a compelling vision, a clear plan and sheer hard work to keep the momentum going. Maria and Clarke Energy are to be congratulated on launching such a comprehensive and robust programme.”

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