Safe Vans - Transport Cafe

Safe Vans - Transport Cafe

Safe Vans

A Best Practice Guide to Safe Van Use

Van Best Practice

Safe Vans

While the DfT has made every

effort to ensure the information

in this document is accurate, it

does not guarantee the accuracy,

completeness or usefulness of that

information; and it cannot accept

liability for any loss or damages of

any kind resulting from reliance on

the information or guidance this

document contains.


This guide has been produced as part of the Department

for Transport’s Van Best Practice programme. The Van

Best Practice programme is funded by the Department

for Transport and managed by AEA to promote and

improve operational efficiency within van operations

in England.

The Van Best Practice programme offers FREE essential information and

advice for van users, covering topics such as operational efficiency, driver

management, safety, saving fuel and performance management.

All FREE materials are available to download from or can be ordered through the

Hotline on 0300 123 1133.

It will be useful to a wide range of

organisations, irrespective of the

number of vans they operate, and

will be an invaluable tool for van

drivers and managers.

This guide addresses ‘safe van

operations’. It is one of a series

of guides for van users that cover

several best practice areas including


It aims to:

(i) Discuss the ways in which your

organisation can benefit from

carrying out safe van operations.

(ii) Present a step-by-step guide

to obtaining an understanding

of your current van operations

and developing an action plan

to improve safety. As part of

this action plan, this guide

explains how to define the safety

requirements of your vans, write

a policy and monitor safety


(iii) Suggest a range of safety

measures that you could


Process diagrams, case studies,

diagrams and colour coding are

used to appeal to a wide range of

organisations, irrespective of the

number of vans they operate.






Introduction page 1

1.1 Who Is This Document Aimed At? 1

1.2 Why Is a Safe Van Fleet Important? 1

1.3 What Does This Guide Aim To Achieve? 3

1.4 How Should This Guide Be Used? 3

Compliance: The Foundation

of Best Practice

page 5

Benefits of Safe Van Operations page 9

The Safety Review Process page 13

Improving Your Safety page 15

5.1 Understand: Establish Your Baseline 15

5.2 Prioritise: Identify Areas for Improvement 18

5.3 Assess: Root Causes and Solutions 18

5.4 Implement: Making the Change 19

5.5 Review: How Have You Done? 23

5.5.1 Selecting Targets 23

5.5.2 Performance Reviews 25

5.5.3 Measuring Progress 25

5.5.4 Communicating Results 26


Options for Improvement page 29

6.1 Safe Management Systems 29

6.2 Driver Management 34

6.3 Vehicle Management 38

6.4 Journey Management 40

Glossary of Terms page 43

Appendices: Useful Forms

and Documents

page 45

Appendix 1: Suggested Policy and

Driver Handbook Statements 45

Appendix 2: Draft Road Safety Policy 46

Appendix 3: Safety Action Plan 47

Appendix 4: Initial Review Checklist 48

Appendix 5: Example Safe Driving Standard 51

Appendix 6: Driver Recruitment Checklist 52

Appendix 7: Driver Monthly Vehicle Maintenance

and Condition Report 54

Appendix 8: Driver’s Daily Vehicle Checklist

and Fault Report 56

Appendix 9: Journey Schedule 58

Appendix 10: Incident Data Collection Form 59

Appendix 11: Priority Actions 61

Van Best Practice

Safe Vans



Who Is This Document

Aimed At?

This guide is aimed at managers

and drivers of van based vehicles

weighing up to 7.5 tonnes. While in

your daily job you may be known as

a fleet manager, operations manager

or procurement manager. This guide

refers to two roles: the manager and

the driver.

The manager is the individual

responsible for managing the vans

in your company. It does not matter

whether your organisation has only

one van or many. The drivers are

those behind the wheel and include

professional van drivers and those

who drive vans to get to work or as

part of another job (e.g. plumbers,

electricians and builders). In some

cases, you may fulfil both roles.


Why Is a Safe Van Fleet



This section introduces the importance of van safety in

an increasingly cost-driven and environmentally aware

society. It discusses the need to promote safe van use,

and explains the aims of this guide and how to use it.

In this case, ‘van’ refers to a

van based vehicle weighing

up to 7.5 tonnes.

In Great Britain in 2008, 36 van

drivers were killed as a result

of being involved in road traffic

incidents and 27 pedestrians died

following collisions with vans 1 .

However, the overall numbers of

vans involved in incidents has

decreased steadily since 2001 even

though the total number of van

registrations, and hence the number

of vans on the road, has increased

during the same time period.

Inappropriate speed is one of

the key errors drivers make. This

means driving too fast for the

road and weather conditions or

exceeding speed limits. Driving at

excessive speed can magnify small

errors (e.g. it can reduce stopping

distances and minimise time left for

responding to unexpected hazards) 2 .

1 Figures from the DfT (2008): Reported Road

Casualties Great Britain: 2008.

2 Further clarification on van specific speed

limits has been provided by the DfT, available

online at




Van Best Practice


Safe Vans

Other errors include not conducting

regular fleet safety checks, carrying

loads that are too large or too heavy

for the vehicle and driving when


Work-related road incidents are

much more expensive than you may

realise; the cost comprises more

than the repair bill for the vehicle

and often insurance might cover

less than is assumed.

Figure 1.1: Example of recovered and unrecovered costs

Recovered costs

(through insurance claim)

• Damage to vehicles, goods

and equipment

• Compensation to injured parties

It has been estimated that the

full cost to the employer might

actually be between £15 and £75

for every pound recovered through

an insurance claim. In addition,

some items cannot be covered

by insurance.

The following diagram lists some of

the items you may find you have to

cover yourself.

Unrecovered costs

(dependant on liability)

• Inconvenience claims from

third parties

• Excess on insurance claim

• Fines and costs of legal action

• Damage to reputation and image

• Management and administrative time

• Accident investigation and


• Replacement staff costs,

sick pay, etc

• Alternative transport for repair


• Increased insurance premiums

and excesses

• Staff downtime for medical

appointments, attendance at

court, etc


What Does This Guide Aim

To Achieve?

This guide aims to highlight the

ways in which you can benefit from

implementing safer management

practices, and provides guidance

on how to ensure that vans are

operating safely and how to promote

safe van operations. Safe van use

can be defined as:

• The most appropriate vehicles

are operated

• Vehicles, drivers and journeys are

being managed

• A continuous improvement

process is being applied

• Performance is measured and

improvement targeted

• Drivers are actively encouraged

to promote safety

This guide will take you through a

step-by-step process. It starts with

collecting information to develop

an understanding of your current

situation and then takes you through

the decision-making process to

developing an action plan. Finally, it

helps you to identify and implement

improvement actions, and then how

to monitor those improvements.



How Should This Guide Be Used?

This guide is designed to be easy to

understand and uses flow diagrams

and real-life examples to illustrate

points where appropriate. Diagrams,

graphics and colour coding are used

to make it easy to navigate and for

users to see the main topics at first

glance. Links to relevant sections

or documents are highlighted


An outline of the individual sections

is provided below to allow you to

quickly select the most appropriate

guidance for your needs.

Section 2 – Compliance: The

Foundation of Best Practice

Section 3 – Benefits of Safe Van

Operations: this section addresses

the key benefits associated with

safe van operations.

Section 4 – The Safety Review

Process: a brief introduction to the

step-by-step process of undertaking

a van safety review.

Section 5 – Improving Your Safety:

this section takes you through the

process of conducting a van safety


Section 6 – Options for


Glossary of Terms

Appendices – Useful Forms and




Van Best Practice


Safe Van VansOperations

Compliance: The Foundation of Best Practice

Compliance: The Foundation of

Best Practice

Compliance with current legislation is the essential

starting point for achieving best practice. If your vans

are not being used in accordance with the law, there is

the distinct possibility that you will be fined and your

vans impounded.

The following list, in alphabetical

order, highlights some of the main

legislation that van users must

adhere to, thus ensuring their vans

are compliant:

• Carriage of dangerous goods

• Construction and use (vehicle


• Drink and drugs

• Driver certificate in professional


• Driving licences

• Lifting equipment

• Mobile phone use

• Operating weight limits

• Operator licensing

• Seat belts

• Smoking

• Speed limits

• Tachographs

• Taxation

• Trailers and towing

Transportation of perishable


• Working and driving hours

It must be recognised that this list

is not exhaustive as the type of

legislation impacting upon your

business is directly related to the

type of work you carry out.

The Van Best Practice programme

aims to improve van use by

highlighting essential best practice

techniques for improving efficiency

and safety. Compliance with

legislation is a legal requirement,

while best practice progresses this

beyond compliance. Therefore, the

Van Best Practice programme does

not aim to provide information on

van-related legislation, as many

Government agencies already

provide such details.



Van Best Practice


Safe Vans

Therefore, for further information on

van-related legislation, please visit:

The Department for Transport (DfT):





Vehicle and Operator Services

Agency (VOSA):

Driver and Vehicle Licensing

Agency (DVLA): or

Driving Standards Agency (DSA):

Business Link:

HM Revenue and Customs:

In addition to Government sources,

a number of industry trade

associations provide their members

with a wealth of information on

important legislation, e.g.:

Road Haulage Association:

Freight Transport Association:

British Vehicle Rental and Leasing


Compliance: The Foundation of Best Practice



Van Best Practice


Safe Vans

By exploring the benefits associated

with the increased safety of van

fleets, it is hoped that you will be

encouraged to get involved and take

on board the information provided in

this guide.

The operational benefits from

improving safe van operations are

often immediate and sustainable,

and include:

Improved safety culture – a culture

of safety will pervade all activities

and staff will be less likely to be

killed or injured.

Lower fleet support costs –

reductions in the number of

incidents will reduce the costs

associated with wear and tear, repair

and replacement.

Lower fuel costs – safer driving

practices are naturally more fuel

efficient, thus saving you fuel and its

associated costs (see Table 3.1).

Lower insurance costs – reduced

incident rate and severity will reduce

claim costs, ultimately allowing for

reduced premiums.

Benefits of Safe Van Operations

Benefits of Safe Van Operations

This section provides an overview of why it is

important to your business and the wider community

to run safe van operations.

‘Unsafe van operations can

result in loss of life and injury –

be this your drivers, other road

users or pedestrians.’

Improved staff morale – active

safety management creates a good

feeling amongst staff. The death

or injury of a member of staff may

cause upset and disruption within

your business, making it less

efficient and less able to deliver


Improved ‘off-the-job’ road safety

– by developing good driving

practices, the safety of your drivers

will improve when driving their own

private vehicles.

More effective van use – with fewer

incidents, the number and choice

of vehicles available for use within

the fleet will be greater. This will

enable your business to carry out its

activities more effectively by using

the most appropriate vehicle for the


Reduction in incident losses – with

reductions in the loss of life, loss of

equipment, injury and damage, you

can be more effective in undertaking

your work.

Reduction in staff time lost – any

incident will disrupt vehicle scheduling

and reduce your ability to provide

your service. Also avoids significant

costs in replacing and retraining




Van Best Practice


Safe Vans

In addition the following, wider,

business benefits can achieve:

Business reputation – your business

thrives on its reputation as viewed

by clients, employees and the wider

public. Causing death and injuring

other road users undermines this

reputation and image.

Improved environmental

performance – improvements in

fuel economy will lead to a reduction

in the amount of carbon dioxide

(CO 2 ) and other pollutants emitted

to the atmosphere.

Table 3.1: Realised annual savings as a result of SAFED training 3

(training undertaken during 2006/07)

Corporate social responsibility

– there is increasing customer

demand for companies to have

good safety and environmental


Compliance – by improving the

safe management systems and

safer driving standards among

employees, you are less likely to

face legal penalties (e.g. fines or

court action).

Organisation Vehicles in scope Fuel savings (litres) Cost savings 4

Period Property

Preservation Ltd

3 More case studies available at

4 Assuming these fuel savings are maintained for a year.

4 vans 3,240 3,000

Rentokil Initial UK 280 vans 212,000 190,000

Pegasus Waste


3 vans 920 880

Cottsway Housing 26 vans 12,234 11,745


Case Study

Leeds City Council

Benefits of SAFED for vans scheme5 SAFED the Safe and Fuel

Efficient Driving training scheme

was originally piloted in the

HGV sector, but has now been

established for van drivers.

SAFED for vans was developed

to improve the safety of van

drivers and develop their skills.

5 More case studies available at

Benefits of Safe Van Operations

Leeds City Council’s Fleet Services manages all vehicles used

in the City Council. To improve the safety of its employees, Fleet

Services put its drivers though the SAFED for vans scheme to reduce

CO 2 emissions, cut maintenance and running costs, improve risk

management and cut fuel consumption. It was also regarded as an

option that offered value for money.

The following benefits have been experienced by Fleet Services.

• Increased safety of drivers

• Raised driver awareness of safety and efficiency

• Reductions in fuel consumption with an average fuel efficiency

saving of 7% or 264,000 litres

• Cost savings of £253,000

• CO emissions reduced by 707 tonnes




Van Best Practice


Safe Vans

The Safety Review Process

This section highlights the key

stages in improving the safety of van

operations and shows how they link

together. References are given to

sections of this document that can

provide further guidance at each

stage. The process of improving the

safety of your van operations is a

simple cycle as illustrated in Figure

4.1. The flow chart should help guide

you through the stages that are

necessary and will point you in the

direction of relevant material and

sections of this document for further


It is important that there is an

individual or group of people in

your company who is familiar with

the process and can take a lead on

implementing the safety review and

that senior management buy into

the process at as early a stage

as possible. A diagram similar to

the one here will be a useful way of

presenting the information to your

staff so it is clear to them where they

are expected to get involved and

what they are expected to do.

It is important to bear in mind that

this is an ongoing process. For

example, monitoring your progress

towards safety improvements will

allow you to identify areas where

further work is needed to meet

targets, so you will need to go back

and review these to assess whether

they are too ambitious. In addition,

your business needs and, therefore,

fleet requirements may change over

time, thereby altering your priority

areas of risk and safety measures.

The Safety Review Process

Figure 4.1: Overview of the process for

improving the safety of your van operations

Stage 1

Collect Baseline Information

Section 5.1

Stage 2

Prioritise Areas for


Section 5.2

Stage 3

Assess and Implement

Safety Measures

Section 5.3 and 5.4

Stage 4

Monitor and Sustain Safety


Section 5.5



Assess and





Van Best Practice


Safe Vans

Improving Your Safety

You need to monitor and measure fleet safety

performance to find out how successful it is.

To be able to improve the safety

performance of your van operations

you need to know:

• Where you are now (e.g. how

many incidents do you have?)

• Where you want to be (e.g. what

improvement targets do you want

to set?)

• What is the difference – and why?

To be able to answer these questions,

it is necessary to collect and analyse

information on the current operating

performance of your fleet so you can

establish a baseline.


Understand: Establish Your


This section aims to show you how

to collect information so that you

can establish a baseline. As you are

gathering this information, you will

need to collate it in a spreadsheet.

Doing this will allow you to generate

graphs, which can then be used to

highlight key areas of risk when it

comes to the stage of identifying

problems with your vans.

Improving Your Safety

There are a number of methods that

can be used to gather the relevant

information, including:

• Vehicle checking reports

• Journey logs

• Driver time sheets

• Incident reports

• Workshop reports or invoices

• Refuelling logs

The Van Best Practice programme

has developed an easy-to-use

fuel economy calculator that you

can use to start the process of

collecting and analysing vehicle

mileage and fuel consumption.

Although this calculator does not

allow you to analyse specific safety

data, there is a general acceptance

of a connection between high fuel

consumption and high levels of road


The type and amount of information

collected during this process

depends greatly on your own

organisation, its working practices,

time available and cost. However,

the key areas to cover relate

to journey, vehicle and driver

management, and overall safe

management systems.



Van Best Practice


Safe Vans

Safe management systems –

has a policy on van safety been

developed? Has a safety action

plan been drawn up? Is fleet safety

performance of van drivers regularly


Record and analyse the performance

of drivers against safety targets.

Drivers – have drivers undergone

safer driver training? Have standards

been set for the use of mobile

phones and taking breaks? Are

drivers fit to drive?

Collecting the following information

is essential for the effective

management of driver risk:

• Driver identifier (e.g. name)

• Compliance with policies and


• Driving hours

• Mileage covered

• Driver fuel consumption

• Incident history

This information can then be used

to reduce the risks associated with

over-worked or poorly qualified

drivers. Gathering information

on whether a driver continues to

follow the organisational policies

and procedures and their incident

history, will enable an organisation

to highlight those drivers that may

be a high safety risk.

In addition, recording and analysing

driver fuel consumption will allow

you to identify areas of high and low

fuel efficiency for targeted action.

This should give an indication of a

driver’s habits as there is often a link

between high fuel consumption and

incident rates.

Vehicles – have standards been set

for vehicle safety specifications and

regular maintenance checks? How

many vans operate in your company

and what make, age and condition

are they? Are they roadworthy and

suitable for the nature of the job

being carried out?

Collecting the following information

is essential for the effective

management of the risk associated

with the fleet of vehicles:

• Vehicle identifier

(e.g. registration number)

• Vehicle numbers by make

and model

• Mileage covered

• Type of load carried

• Fuel consumption

• Vehicle condition

• Service and maintenance record

• Service schedule compliance

• Incidents

• Breakdowns

This information can be used to

better manage vehicle maintenance

schedules and highlight any potential

fit-for-purpose issues, thus reducing

the risks associated with poorly

maintained vehicles or issues relating

to load or passenger carrying.

In addition, recording and analysing

the types of load (weight and volume)

carried by each van will allow you to

understand whether using smaller

vans would be more appropriate.

Journeys – is the journey and

timescale given to your drivers

realistic? Do you use route-planning

devices such as satellite navigation


Collecting the following information

is essential for the effective

management of journey risks:

• Date

• Destination

• Vehicle used

• Driver identifier (e.g. name)

• Mileage covered

• Incidents

• Breakdowns

Recording and analysing mileage

patterns will allow you to manage

the fleet better and identify areas

of inefficiency and potential

safety risks (e.g. journeys that are

excessively long or take a long time

to complete).

Improving Your Safety

Incidents – how many incidents

occur each month? Which drivers

have the most incidents?

Traditionally, organisations have

relied on information collected

for insurance purposes following

incidents. However, this information

tends to neglect ‘near misses’

or ‘almost incidents’, which can

provide essential information to

better understand what risks are

arising in day-to-day operations.

Collecting the following information

is essential for the effective

management of incident risk:

• Date

• Location

• Type of incident

• Severity of incident

• Contributory factors

The information collected can help

you identify patterns in incident

types (e.g. reversing and high-speed

incidents) such that corrective

training or action can be taken

where necessary.



Van Best Practice


Safe Vans


Prioritise: Identify Areas for


Once you have collected the

baseline information, it is time to

start analysing the information to

identify some areas for improvement

in the daily running of your fleet.

It should be possible to identify

several priority activities to target

during the initial implementation of

your safety review.

A risk assessment involves the

careful examination of what activities

can potentially cause harm to

people or assets. The results of this

process can help your organisation

understand whether it has done

enough to ensure safe working

practices or should do more to

prevent harm occurring to staff or

damage to assets.

Fleet managers and other senior

managers should bear in mind that

failing to manage work-related road

safety may be more dangerous to

employees and others than failing

to properly manage on-site or officebased

risks 6 .

Indeed, the Management of Health

and Safety at Work Regulations

1999 7 state that employers are

responsible for managing health and

safety. This means carrying out an

assessment of the risks to the health

and safety of employees while at

6 ‘Driving Whilst at Work’, by Liverpool City Council.

7 Management of Health and Safety at Work Regulations 1999


8 Health and Safety Executive. Managing risk,

work and to those who may be

affected by their work activities.

Carrying out a risk assessment

will assist in helping you to identify

targets for improving and monitoring

fleet safety (see section 5.4). A

risk assessment is essentially an

aid to understanding and making

judgements about fleet safety.

Undertaking a risk assessment lies

outside the scope of this guide.

For more information and help on

how to conduct a risk assessment,

please refer to the guidance

provided by the Health and Safety

Executive 8 .


Assess: Root Causes and


This is a good time to consult

employees to get an insight into

the problems they encounter on

a day-to-day basis. An ad-hoc

brainstorming session to identify any

problems is a good way to approach

this stage of the process.

Problems may relate to vehicle,

journey or driver management and

may include:

• Outdated vehicles frequently

breaking down or requiring repair

• High mileage on vehicles

• Fuel inefficiency

• Non-essential activities that can

be reduced or eliminated

• Frequently caught in traffic

congestion – adding to driver


• Inexperienced younger drivers

or drivers requiring additional


Once you have identified at least three

priority issues, you should identify the

actions that will need to be taken to

address them. Actions may involve

training staff, changing operational

processes or making desk-based

changes to your systems, such as

reviewing contractual agreements

with delivery and servicing suppliers

and operators.


Implement: Making the Change

Once you have identified the key

areas for improvement and risks

(i.e. those marked high risk and high

impact in the your risk assessment)

affecting the safety of your vans,

you are ready to explore some of

the options for overcoming them.

It is a good idea to maintain the

involvement of drivers at this stage

so that the most practical solutions

can be put in place and ensure that

consensus is reached with regard

to the most appropriate method of

reducing or managing each hazard.

Improving Your Safety

The nature and amount of control to

be applied is a matter of judgement

– taking into account business

needs, available resources, the

potential benefit, the likely cost and

the difficulty of implementation.

In some instances, companies

may attempt to solve their poor

safety performance by introducing

‘one-off’ measures, such as

driver training. However, this sort

of reactive approach fails to

investigate why incidents occurred

in the first place and, therefore,

does not address the underlying

organisational weaknesses which,

if not remedied, will result in further

incidents occurring. Measures

focused on changing the behaviour

of employees through training are

likely to be much more successful if

the system includes ways to ensure


In all cases, managing and

controlling risk is a combination of:

• Eliminating or reducing hazards

at source

• Isolating or controlling hazards

• Creating safe behaviours

• Introducing protective measures

to limit the effects of incidents



Van Best Practice



Safe Vans

Safe Management System > Safe Management System > Safe Management System >



Figure 5.1: Interlinking nature of fleet safety

Table 5.1 suggests some possible solutions, but it is important that these are

tailored to the needs of your organisation and employees – and, of course,

the solutions chosen will depend on your financial circumstances.

Table 5.1: Possible solutions to problems identified

Category Area of improvement Solution

Therefore, the challenge is to find

the most effective combination

of measures, as it will rarely be

appropriate to rely on one single

solution. The aim should be to use

limited resources effectively to

achieve the best result. This will

always mean checking to understand

whether the expected fleet safety

gains have been achieved.

Solutions can be split into three

categories (as illustrated in Figure

5.1), the driver, the vehicle and

the journey, all linked by a safe

management system.

Driver Less experienced drivers Consider safer driving schemes

such as SAFED for van drivers

Vehicle Frequent breakdowns Adopt a rigerous maintenance


Often loaded to maximum


Journey Many long, time-consuming


Long hours spent in traffic


Invest in newer vehicles depending

on budget – purchase or hire

Ensure the vehicle is appropriate for

its purpose

Can tasks and/or loads be


Plan routes before setting off –

taking due consideration of peak

times. Use GPS where practicable.

Regularly check for road works and

resultant delays

Improving Your Safety

Figure 5.2 points you towards some of the potential measures available to

you to overcome the key risks you identified through your risk assessment.

Figure 5.2: Potential measures available to overcome key risks identified through

risk assessment

Driver management

Vehicle management

Journey management

Incident monitoring

Performance monitoring

Safe management systems, key

driving standards, speed, driving

training, driver health and security,

fatigue, drugs and alcohol standard

Vehicle assessment, vehicle

selection and specification, daily

checks, vehicle maintenance and


Senior management leadership

and commitment, driver training,

rate planning

Vehicle assessment, vehicle

maintenance and servicing,

incident analysis

Senior management leadership

and commitment, route planning,

vehicle maintenance and

servicing, key driving standards



Van Best Practice


Safe Vans

As a starting point, the following ten

essential elements will assist you to

begin to meet your duty of care for

employees who drive as a part of

their work.

Safe Management Systems

1. A senior manager must assume

responsibility for managing fleet

safety and driving at work

2. A fleet safety and driving for work

policy must be developed and


3. Routinely undertake, record

and act on findings of risk

assessments dealing with all

aspects of fleet safety

4. Ensure that every incident is

recorded, and that the data are

analysed regularly and acted

upon to reduce the likelihood

of recurrence

5. Organise the work, develop

work flows to establish the most

effective working methods

Driver Management

6. Provide drivers with relevant

information covering your policies

and procedures, including road

safety guidance and individual

driver responsibilities (e.g. what

to do in the event of an incident)

7. Ensure that drivers are vetted,

inducted and regularly assessed

to establish that they are properly

licensed, competent, suitably

trained and medically fit to drive.

Vehicle Management

8. When specifying vans, ensure

that they are suitable for their

intended purpose and are fitted

with appropriate safety and

security features

9. Ensure that all vans are regularly

inspected and maintained using

the manufacturer’s recommended

service schedules

Journey Management

10. Ensure that journeys are

scheduled to a realistic timetable,

practicable rate and are planned

to take into account the need for

adequate rest periods

More detailed information on safe

management systems, journey,

vehicle and driver management is

provided in the following sections.


Review: How Have You Done?

Monitoring and measuring is

the process by which you can

review and quantify the degree

of achievement made during an


Monitoring and measuring against

baseline conditions allows your

company to clearly identify the

progress made in relation to your

safety targets. Each target or action

that will be monitored and reviewed

must be assessed on an individual

basis. This information can then be

used to allow areas of success to be

highlighted and reported upon and

areas of weakness to be identified

so they can be addressed as


Reporting on progress towards

overcoming the problems identified

earlier will involve ongoing

monitoring and review of your

safety plan, the targets you have

identified and the effectiveness

of the strategies you have

implemented. These are described

below. It is important to maintain

the momentum when assessing

the success of your safety targets.

Those with the responsibility for

meeting targets or implementing

actions should report as

appropriate. This will help the plan

to stay on track and remain relevant

to your operations.

Improving Your Safety

This section aims to show managers

how to collate and present the

necessary baseline data, select

indicators and undertake ongoing

monitoring and measuring to allow

them to determine the success of a

van safety management system.


Selecting Targets

To monitor how your fleet safety

is progressing, it is important to

address the priority areas you

identified. This progress can be

monitored through the use of

targets. Targets should be chosen

so that they follow the principles

of SMART (specific, measurable,

achievable, relevant, time bound -

see box overleaf).

A range of targets will be required to

show the change and improvement

achieved in all areas of the business.

Having suitable targets will allow you

to clearly monitor and report on the

progress of your safe van operations

and allow your targets and action

plan to be adjusted as required.



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It is important to be realistic when

setting targets. Early successes will

be highly motivating, whereas early

disappointments may demoralise

employees. Think differently, in

terms of the implications of any

changes you want to introduce.

Brainstorming with colleagues is

an effective technique here, and in

identifying financial and operational

benefits, and any barriers to

success. Initially, discuss any ideas

for change with drivers to help

identify any potential problems or

barriers to implementation early

in the process. This also ensures

buy-in from users.

Definition of SMART Targets

What are ‘SMART’ targets?

Achievement of your targets could

be communicated to clients through

incorporation in annual Corporate

Social Responsibility statements

highlighting how the target was

achieved and the improvements

made. Table 5.2 outlines possible

targets that could be implemented

to help overcome your priority areas

of concern.

Specific: the target must be narrow enough to portray accurately

what you are trying to measure.

Measurable: the target should be able to be recorded with little need

for analysis.

Achievable: there is little point in setting a target that is overly

ambitious and unlikely to be met. An important

consideration will be to decide what the realistic level of

achievement can be.

Relevant: the targets should also add value within the context of

where they are set, ensuring they are aligned with other

strategies and higher goals.

Time bound: provide timescales by which the targets should be met

to give an idea of the priority of different areas, thereby

helping to prevent the process from carrying on


Improving Your Safety

Table 5.2: Example of targets that could be implemented in relation to various categories


Area of


Driver Large number of

inexperienced drivers

Vehicle High number of

vehicle incidents

Journey Time wasted in traffic



Performance Reviews

Ongoing performance reviews are

necessary to show progress made

towards meeting (and exceeding)

the targets you have set. Different

timescales will be required for

each target and this should be

defined in the target itself (e.g.

to cut the number of incidents

by 20% in one year). In addition,

you will need to decide how often

to review your targets during the

timescales you have set yourself.

Initially, some activities may need

to be monitored on a weekly basis

to ensure that they are working and

that employees aren’t simply paying

lip service to the changes. Other

targets may be suited to a longer

review period, such as monthly.

An annual review of your safe van

systems will allow your procedures

to be evaluated and changes to be

made based on your progress to



Increase number of SAFED

approved drivers by 30% in

six months

Reduce by 20% in one year

Cut number of hours spent in

congestion by 40% over one year


Measuring Progress

Indicators can be used to show the

progress or state of an activity or

project. There is a range of different

indicators that can be used to

represent your needs, and will be

required to show the change and

improvement achieved in all areas

of the company. For some targets

it may be necessary to have more

then one indicator. Having suitable

indicators will allow you to clearly

monitor and report on your progress.



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Where you find that your targets

are not being met, you should carry

out further information gathering to


• Why anticipated results have not

been achieved

• If employees have been

effectively trained in new


• If the reasoning for operational

changes has been effectively

communicated to employees to

ensure co-operation

• If targets and priorities have been


• If the timeframe allocated to

make changes and monitor

effectiveness has been

inadequate – either too short a

timeframe to be able to assess

the effectiveness for your

business or too long, which could

allow employees to lose sight of

the aims

• If sufficient resources have

been provided to optimise


On an annual basis, review the data

collected with the aim of feeding

back into your van safety system

and the activities that are carried



Communicating Results

Having a thorough reporting and

presenting procedure in place is

important. This will allow you to

keep track of the progress you are

making with your van operations

and enable identification of strong/

weak areas. It will also allow you

to communicate to your staff the

impact that their efforts are having

and, in addition, you will have the

ability to publicise this information to

your customers and clients.

There are a number of ways that

allow you to present the results to

employees and clients. Examples


• Driver league tables – could act

as an incentive (e.g. for most

fuel-efficient driving)

• Company newsletters – provide

a good tool by which results can

easily be shared across the whole

company. Individuals and groups

can be recognised for their

efforts and information can be

communicated on any updates or


• Email updates – provide

occasional updates on new

procedures that have been put in


• Charts and graphs – displayed

in the office allow results to

be easily visible to staff and


Improving Your Safety



Van Best Practice


Safe Vans

Options for Improvement

This section provides you with

descriptions and examples of the

activities that you can put in place to

improve the safety of van operations

within your organisation.

The measures have been split

into four key sections outlined

below. The information under these

headings includes descriptions,

methods and comparisons between

the various options and case


Safe Management Systems

• Driver Management

• Vehicle Management

• Journey Management

You will need to assess each option

to see which works best for your

type of organisation.

Options for Improvement


Safe Management Systems

A management system is a proven

framework for managing and

improving your policies, procedures

and processes, by having:

• Strong and visible leadership

and commitment to fleet safety,

including a dedicated senior

manager with fleet safety


• Designated staff responsible for

developing and implementing

the procedures, communicating

the fleet safety information,

monitoring performance, dealing

with non-compliance and

incidents, and preparing and

implementing improvements

• A documented set of policies,

standards, rules, procedures

and management roles and

responsibilities relating to fleet


• An effective monitoring system,

including an incident analysis


Gaining Senior

Management Commitment

For a fleet safety management

system to be effective, it is essential

that senior management within

the organisation actively takes

responsibility for fleet safety. Senior

management should back each

stage of the process, from gathering



Van Best Practice


Safe Vans

baseline data to identifying fleet

requirements and implementing

the fleet safety policy. In addition,

they must support the process of

continual improvement.

Such commitment will demonstrate

to all staff that the highest levels

of management are concerned

about fleet safety and that they are

adhering to the organisational fleet

safety procedures. Securing senior

management commitment will help

to ensure that fleet safety is taken

seriously at all levels within the


The Fleet Safety Policy

The fleet safety policy is key to

maintaining an effective safe van

system. The policy is the main

way in which an organisation can

demonstrate to employees and

customers its efforts to improve the

safety of its fleet as well as reducing

environmental impact. This should

help achieve compliance with legal

and other requirements.

An effective policy for fleet safety

will cover a number of areas. This

guide has signposted you through

the process of determining your

fleet requirements and risks, and

setting targets for overcoming

these risks. Based on the needs

and risks you identified, you will be

able to produce a fleet policy which

is suitable for communicating how

you aim to meet these needs and

overcome any risks.

Organising the Work

The risk of an incident happening

increases as the length of time

drivers and vehicles are on the road

increases. Therefore, reducing this

exposure is an important aspect in

improving safety performance.

Therefore, the first question to ask at

this stage is, ‘what are the needs of

your business?’ For example, does

your business use vans primarily

for distributing goods, delivering

a service (such as repair work) or

simply for allowing employees to

visit clients?

Once you have established the

main service of your business, it is

important to ask ‘are all journeys

required?’ If the answer to this is

‘no’, could some be combined?

Changes in route, schedule or

timing can reduce exposure to risk

without impacting upon your overall


In addition, can the work be

organised in such a way that

the journey can be eliminated or

substituted, perhaps by a different

van type?

Case Study

Central Auto Supplies

Central Auto Supplies is an

independent company that

supplies branded products to

the automotive aftermarket. The

company has 19 branches based

in the Midlands and East of

England. The van fleet consists

of 96 vehicles, made up of car

derivatives and panel vans that

cover over 4 million miles a year.

Options for Improvement

The business recognised that improvements were needed with its

road safety record. In 1998, it was recording one incident every 90,000

miles of which 75% were considered to be the driver’s fault.

Central Auto Supplies started this process by including road safety

assessments for all job applicants and a safety training day as part of

the induction process. Each of its branches has a senior driver who

carries out this work and conducts annual assessments of all drivers,

keeping comprehensive records along the way. The company:

• Has banned the use of all mobile phones in vans, including

hands-free kits

• Reviews driving performance through telematics

• Conducts random drugs and alcohol tests

Road safety is further promoted through monthly good driving

newsletters and good driving guides. As the fleet has been renewed,

ABS and reverse parking sensors have been fitted to all new vans.

Central Auto Supplies has embraced road safety and seen the

benefits, primarily avoiding incidents but also making financial savings.



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Example of a Fleet Safety Policy

In [Name of Organisation], we are committed to:

Safeguarding our employees, clients and the wider

community wherever we travel

• Managing road safety as a critical business activity

We will strive to achieve this through:

• Compliance with the law related to our safe van operations

• Continuous improvement in our safe van performance

• A systematic approach to van safety management by

establishing minimum standards and processes for:

- Driver management

- Vehicle management

- Journey management

• Training, education and motivation of all our employees to

follow safe driving practices

• Conducting planned inspections and reviews on a regular

basis to identify and eliminate sub-standard practices

• Reporting and conducting thorough investigations of all


• Reporting and learning from near misses and potential


• Communicating this policy to all employees, customers

and other relevant stakeholders

To be signed and dated by:

Chief Executive Officer/Managing Director

Who is Responsible for


The simple answer is, everyone in

your organisation is responsible for

ensuring the fleet safety policy is

implemented effectively. The number

of people involved depends on the

size of your organisation.

Responsible authority Responsibilities

Options for Improvement

Indeed, it is vital that the fleet policy

has the backing of management

and directors. These people are

accountable for achieving the

objectives set out in the policy

by communicating with the

relevant employees in their line

of responsibility.

Table 6.1: Responsibilities for ensuring implementation of fleet policy, according

to department

Van drivers • Be familiar with driving standards and codes of conduct

• Ensure codes of conduct are complied with

• Inspect vehicles daily and report any faults

• Keep records of health up to date (e.g. change in

eyesight or medication prescribed)

• Report incidents promptly

Managers • Ensure all vehicles are fit for purpose

• Ensure ongoing maintenance and inspection are

carried out

• Provide or advise on training in safer driving standards

• Monitor effectiveness of the fleet safety action plan

and policy statement

Health and safety • Auditing of fleet policy and fleet safety action plan

• Advise on improvements needed to the fleet policy

and fleet safety action plan

• Recommend how these improvements can be made

(e.g. through guidance and training of employees)

Operations • Ensure that roles and responsibilities are communicated

to all employees

• Ensure incidents are reported in a timely manner

Risk and insurance • Monitor the number of incidents and claims via the

relevant database

• Highlight areas of particular concern to fleet managers



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Safe Vans

However, tasks can be delegated

to various departments, as it is the

people working in these areas on

a daily basis that have a greater

understanding of the issues

surrounding fleet safety:

• Van drivers

• Managers

• Health and safety team

• Operations team

• Risk and insurance

Table 6.1 (see previous page)

highlights the key areas of

responsibility for each department

within a business.


Driver Management

The next stage is to understand

whether your drivers are

performing well in relation to safe

driving practices and the number

of incidents they have. Some

businesses have found additional

training has helped to hone driving

skills, whilst others operate in such

cultures that league tables are able

to guide drivers in developing their

own programmes. In addition, do

you have the appropriate driver

incident review process?

Driver management relates to issues

such as safe driving standards

(speed, fatigue, alcohol, drugs

etc) and driver understanding.

Standards for these issues should

be established and communicated

to staff and customers to promote

an understanding of the seriousness

with which you view safe driving.

Driver management can be achieved

through a variety of means, as

described on the following pages.

Case Study

British Gas

Key Driving Standards

A list of ‘key driving standards’

can be produced for display in and

around the company to alert van

drivers to some basic standards

they should follow. These should


• Always stay alert and do not be

distracted by music, passengers

or scenery

• Know how to control your vehicle

under all conditions and for all

manoeuvres, taking into account

the hazards that may be faced

and allowing for other road users,

especially the most vulnerable

(children and the elderly)

Options for Improvement

British Gas supplies gas and electricity to UK residential and business

customers and provides central heating and gas appliance installation

services. The fleet comprises some 10,200 vans (mainly light vans and

panel vans).

British Gas has implemented a duty of care programme, based around

detailed incident analysis, which allows engineers to be categorised as

Green, Amber or Red depending on a number of factors, including: the

number of incidents they are involved in, the number of points on their

licence and the number of driving complaints received. This scoring

system allows British Gas to target specific training at those high-risk

engineers as a priority and thus achieve a greater initial impact.

Through the implementation of its duty of care programme, British Gas

has reduced incidents by 18% over the course of three years. This

has had the added benefit of reducing costs to the company through

reduced incident damage, repair costs and fuel costs.

9 From ‘Driving Whilst at Work’, Liverpool City Council.

Safeguard yourself, passengers,

your load and your vehicle

• If you become tired or unwell,

get help or stop at the first safe


• Ensure you adhere to the

recommended number of breaks:

one 15-minute break every

two hours

Table 6.2 is useful for characterising

those drivers who can be classed

as ‘safe’ and is based on research

by the University of Huddersfield 9 .

This should be used when assessing

driving standards in your initial

review and can be used as a

standard for drivers to aspire to.



Van Best Practice


Safe Vans

Table 6.2: Characteristics of safe drivers

Characteristics of safe drivers


Organised, law abiding








Observant of others and a team player

The Van Best Practice programme

has produced a wallet of driverfocused

top tips and information

called ‘Driver Essentials’. This

resource contains a wide range

of advice for drivers covering

such safety factors as speed

limits, fatigue, drugs and alcohol,

driving tips and safe loading. It is

recommended that this resource

should be used to reinforce your

own safe driving standards.


There is a range of laws that govern

the speed limits of vans. These

vary according to the type of van

being driven.

For more information on van speed

limits, visit the Department for

Transport’s (DfT) guidance pages 10 .

Not only does slower driving

improve a van’s controllability, thus

increasing safety, but driving at

80 mph uses up to 30% more fuel

than driving at 65 mph. It is vital that

drivers are aware of the importance

of sticking to speed limits and also

driving at an appropriate speed for

the road and weather conditions.

Purchasing vans with speed limiters

or fitting existing vans with such

devices can help foster a safer

driving speed, as drivers are unable

to drive above a given speed.

However, restricting a van to 70 mph

will not prevent the driver speeding

in areas with lower speed limits.

It is important to note that certain

van based vehicles, based upon

their date of registration and/or

Gross Vehicle Weight (GVW) may be

required to be fitted with a calibrated

speed limiter. Further details can be

found at

Fatigue Standard

Fatigue, or driver tiredness, reduces

a driver’s ability to recognise hazards;

slows reaction times and impairs

judgement. This combination of

factors can be lethal because drivers

may only spot a hazard at the last

minute (if at all) and may not have

time to brake before the collision.

Therefore, the results of any incident

involving driver fatigue are likely to

be more serious.

10 DfT, Speed Limits for Vans (

It is recommended that any driver

fatigue standard should include the

following topics:

• Drivers should present

themselves as well rested for

each shift

• Drivers should have breaks

every two hours

• Ventilate the vehicle

• Breaks should be included

in journey plans

• Breaks should include the


- A short walk and limb stretch

- A short, seated sleep

(if necessary)

- Overnight stops where necessary

Alcohol and Drugs Standard

It is recommended that any alcohol

and drug standard should include

the following topics:

• Drivers to present themselves

for duty free of drugs or alcohol

• No use of drugs or alcohol

while working

• Report others who use drugs

or alcohol while working

Managing compliance of such a

standard can be difficult. Therefore,

it is essential that some degree of

compliance monitoring is carried out

to ensure that drivers are adhering

to this standard.

Drivers and managers need to

be aware of any side effects of

prescription drugs that affect

safe driving.

Options for Improvement

Driver Knowledge

Driver knowledge is key to ensuring

the safe operation and efficiency of

a vehicle. Even if the vehicle itself

is safe and efficient, it will be made

unsafe if the driver is unsafe.

Driver training is provided for

fleets that operate vans by the DfT,

through the Safe and Fuel Efficient

Driving Programme. Visit for more


For additional information on

improving driver knowledge please

refer to the ‘Driver Essentials’

resource, which includes a range of

driver focused top tip cards, which

can be distributed to all your

van drivers.



Van Best Practice


Safe Vans


Vehicle Management

It is important to examine whether

your organisation is using the right

vehicles. What size of van do you

require and could you afford to

invest in newer vehicles that may

offer greater protection to drivers?

Vehicle management refers to

standards and activities that should

be established as being mandatory

within your company (e.g.

undertaking vehicle maintenance

checks on a regular basis). The

following examples describe how

you might implement such systems.

Vehicle Selection and Specification

Promote the use of vehicles that are

best suited for the job. For example,

an independent florist may require a

single van, whereas a parcel delivery

company would require a fleet with

many different types of van. For

more information on choosing the

right van for your needs, please

refer to the accompanying ‘Van

Specification’ guide.

Case Study

Kaba Door Systems

Kaba Door Systems has a

fleet of over 100 vans, but

these are distributed in a

number of depots throughout

the country in groups of

about nine vans. To remain

within the legal weight

restrictions for their vehicles,

Kaba has implemented a

standard equipment list for

their technicians and has

carried out test weighing of

vans to obtain an accurate

additional loading capacity.

In addition, the company test

weighs two vans a month

from each depot on local

weighbridges. This costs

less than £10 per vehicle,

using either public or private

weighbridges. Kaba keeps

the weight certificates on file

as proof of compliance.

Vehicle Maintenance

Vehicles must be properly

maintained. Poorly maintained

vehicles are not only potentially

dangerous, but may also be illegal

and have higher fuel consumption

and emission levels. Regular

servicing helps keep the engine

at its most efficient, while making

sure that tyres are inflated to the

correct pressure for the vehicle also

increases safety.

A daily vehicle check should

be completed regardless of the

vehicle’s size or age. The driver is

required to complete a checklist

(see Appendix 8), which should be

submitted to his/her supervisor.

Supervisors should retain these

completed checklists in case they

are needed in the future.

Vehicle-check training sessions

could be run on a regular basis to

enable drivers to identify defects

and be aware of how to go about

reporting them.

Reporting Defects

Drivers should notify their manager

immediately of any fault that

might affect the vehicle’s safety or

roadworthiness. Defects should be

entered on a vehicle defect form

(see Appendix 8) and this should

be sent to the appropriate repair

contractor straightaway to allow

repairs to be made.

Options for Improvement

Vehicle Security

Whether factory fitted or after

market, there are a variety of

systems to keep your van and its

contents safe. Such systems range

from electronic alarms to highsecurity


Immobilisers and quality door locks

are standard on all modern vans.

In addition, the extra security of

full-height bulkheads and solid

(instead of windows) rear doors

can be offered as a no-cost option.

However, if you carry goods likely to

attract unwanted attention, you may

want to improve the van’s security.

The Thatcham New Vehicle Security

Ratings offer comprehensive,

objective information, rating new

vans available in the UK on two

scales of 1-5 stars (theft of and theft

from). To find the security rating of

the van you are interested in please


In addition to the standard security

features, there is a range of options

available to further improve the

security of your van fleet:

• Alarms of varying sensitivity are

available, for instance, some are

set off by body heat alone

• Identification – consider making

your vans stand out so they are

less likely to be stolen

• Immobilisers can be integrated

into your existing alarm system

• Items on the roof should be

securely locked



Van Best Practice


Safe Vans

• Security locks – deadlocks can

only be opened with a key;

security locks that lock the van

several seconds after it has been

left are available

• Trackers help the police to track

the whereabouts of your vehicle

and its goods

In addition, ensure travel

remuneration policies (if in place)

are environmentally sensitive –

do not have business mileage

reimbursement rates that encourage

drivers to cover excessive miles.

Understanding Vehicle

Safety Issues

• Ensure that all passengers

comply with the organisation’s

policies while in the vehicle

• Always have regard for the

stability of your vehicle if

towing or carrying heavy loads.

Vehicles should be loaded safely

to minimise the risk of load

shedding should an incident


• To increase the safety of you and

your vehicle, always remove keys

from the ignition and lock your

vehicle when not in use

• Do you possess the relevant

documents (e.g. MOT, vehicle

excise duty disc, vehicle

maintenance records)?


Journey Management

It is important that you develop

policies to manage specific journeyrelated

risks (e.g. weather conditions

and driving at night) and put in

place procedures to control them. It

is also important that the journeys

are planned to ensure safe working

hours are maintained and that

drivers are rested to avoid tiredness.

Journey Scheduling and Planning

Journey scheduling and planning

need to take account of a range of

factors such as:

• Planning journeys with realistic

and achievable schedules that give

consideration to driver rest periods

and adherence to speed limits

• Avoiding times of day that lead to

higher risk. For example, driving

at night should be reduced if

possible and, ideally, should be

avoided in the high-risk hours

when a driver is most likely to fall

asleep (early morning, between

midnight and 6am and early

afternoon between 2pm and 4pm)

• Allowing for drivers to meet

the driving hour limits and

rest periods set down in the

appropriate regulations

• Making allowances for conditions

that could affect vehicle speed

(e.g. adverse weather and road


• Schedules should allow time for

unexpected delays and move

away from strict time routing

• Monitor and plan for annual leave

to reduce driver shortages

It is important to monitor the

effectiveness of journey planning.

For example, monitor the number of

deliveries that arrive as scheduled,

record the number of incidents that

occur each week and examine why

these incidents are occurring.

Options for Improvement



Van Best Practice Safe Van VansOperations



of Terms

Fleet Safety Review

The formal information gathering,

analysis, and planning process

by which fleet operators seek to

identify and resolve potential fleet

safety issues.


Markers or values which

demonstrate standards of

performance or compliance.


Establishing standards of

performance, for example, miles

per gallon or miles per incident or

perhaps miles per delivery.


The ongoing management function

of observing, measuring and

recording performance.

Safe and Fuel Efficient Driving


A formal training programme for

HGV and van drivers which delivers

reduction in fuel consumption and

road risk by encouraging greater

levels of driver skills and awareness.

Safe Van Systems

Working practices or internal

conventions which support safety.

Systems might include, for example,

driver training through SAFED or van

loading protocols.

Safer driving

Improved standards of driving

typically witnessed by less injuries

and deaths, less damage to

vehicles with lower repairs costs,

Glossary of Terms

reductions in downtime, and, in due

course potentially lower insurance



An acronym for the qualitative

standard of targets or objectives,

specific, measurable, achievable,

relevant and time-bound.


Clarifications of what outcome is

expected to result from a specific

course of actions. Can be referred

to as objectives and are usually

presented in a SMART form.


A car-derived or light goods vehicle

of up to 7.5 tonnes gross vehicle


Van driver

The person responsible for driving

the vehicle whose job role may

be specifically as a driver or as a

tradesman, for example, a plumber,

who requires the van to carry tools

and equipment.

Van requirements

The particular requirements of the

business of its van fleet in terms of

size, capacity and number.

Van safety policy

The statement of intent of the

business which clarifies how it

will manage the issue of safety in

relation to its van fleet.


Van Best Practice


Safe Vans


Useful Forms and Documents

Safe Van Operations

Van Best Practice

Appendix 1: Suggested Policy and Driver

Handbook Statements


• Always stay alert and do not be distracted by music, passengers or scenery

• Know how to control your vehicle under all conditions and for all manoeuvres, taking into

account the hazards you may face and allowing for other road users especially the most

vulnerable (children and the elderly)

Safeguard yourself, passengers, your load and your vehicle

• If you become tired or unwell, get help or stop at the first safe location. Ensure you

adhere to the recommended number of breaks: one 15-minute break every two hours


• Ensure that all passengers comply with the organisation’s policies while in the vehicle

• Always have regard for the stability of your vehicle if towing or carrying heavy loads.

Vehicles should be loaded safely to minimise the risk of load shedding should an incident


• To increase your safety and that of your vehicle, always remove keys from the ignition and

lock your vehicle when not in use

• Do you possess the relevant documents (e.g. MOT, vehicle excise duty disc, vehicle

maintenance records)?


• Van managers and drivers must acknowledge the impact of their vehicle and driving

standards on health and the environment. Safe driving standards reduce fuel consumption,

cut costs, reduce emissions and reduce the depreciation rate of your vehicle

• Always plan your journey before you set off. Using simple online route planners or

satellite navigation systems can identify the best route in terms of distance, approximate

time and condition of the road (i.e. motorway, country roads). Doing this can reduce time

spent in congestion and thereby reduce frustration

• Promptly report incidents and be involved with any subsequent investigation

Safe Van Operations


Van Best Practice


Appendix 2: Draft Road Safety Policy

In [Name of Organisation], we are committed to:

Safeguarding people

• Managing road safety as a critical business activity

We will strive to achieve this through:

• Compliance with the law related to road safety

• Continuous improvement in our road safety performance

• A systematic approach to road safety management by establishing minimum

standards and processes for:

- Driver management

- Vehicle management

- Journey management

• Training, education and motivation of all our employees to follow safe work


• Conducting planned inspections and reviews on a regular basis to identify and

eliminate sub-standard practices

• Reporting and conducting thorough investigations of all road incidents

• Reporting and learning from near misses and potential incidents

• Communicating this policy to all employees, customers and other relevant


To be signed and dated by:

Chief Executive Officer/Managing Director

Safe Van Operations

Van Best Practice

Appendix 3: Safety Action Plan

Individual responsible



Outputs Target


Target Planned




March 2010 Health and safety officer

An agreed safe driving


Meeting with

fleet safety team

e.g. 1 e.g. Develop and launch a

safe driving standard


with driver


Safe Vans

Review date:

Completed by: Date:

Agreed by: Date:


Van Best Practice


Appendix 4: Initial Review Checklist

Safe management systems: (circle as appropriate)

Has a policy on fleet safety been developed? Yes No

Does it include objectives and targets? Yes No

Has the policy been communicated to all staff? Yes No

Does senior management actively support the policy? Yes No

Was it developed through consultation with staff? Yes No

Has a date been set for a review of the policy? Yes No

Has a fleet safety action plan been drawn up? Yes No

Has it been communicated to all relevant staff? Yes No

Is a named senior director responsible for fleet safety? Yes No

Are staff members who are responsible for drivers held accountable for fleet safety


Safe Van Operations

Yes No

Do they have the resources (e.g. time, budget, staff) to carry out their fleet safety role? Yes No

Is the fleet safety performance of staff and drivers regularly assessed

(e.g. as part of staff appraisals)?

Risk assessment: (circle as appropriate)

Yes No

Are fleet safety risk assessments carried out? Yes No

Do they include journey, vehicle and driver risks? Yes No

Are responsibilities for carrying out risk assessments defined? Yes No

Are the results of risk assessments properly recorded? Yes No

Are they communicated to relevant staff? Yes No

Have the results been used to prioritise actions? Yes No

Van Best Practice

Driver management: (circle as appropriate)

Have any of the following measures been introduced?

Selecting appropriate drivers Yes No

Providing driver development programmes Yes No

Controlling drivers’ hours Yes No

Have any of the following fleet safety standards been set?

Driver fitness (e.g. eyesight, health) Yes No

Driver competence Yes No

Driver breaks Yes No

Maximum driving hours/miles Yes No

Alcohol and drugs Yes No

Speeding Yes No

Mobile communications Yes No

Are data collected on the following?

Experience Yes No

Incident involvement Yes No

Training achievements Yes No

Vehicle management: (circle as appropriate)

Have any of the following fleet safety standards been set?

Vehicle safety specifications Yes No

Vehicle maintenance Yes No

Vehicle checks Yes No

Are data collected on the following?

Numbers and make of vehicles Yes No

Vehicle condition Yes No

Vehicle maintenance Yes No

Journey management: (circle as appropriate)

Have any of the following measures been introduced?

Eliminating unnecessary vehicle mileage Yes No

Specifying safer routes Yes No

Have any of the following fleet safety standards been set?

Night/adverse conditions driving Yes No

Safe journey planning Yes No

Are data collected on the following?

Length of journeys Yes No

Cumulative journey mileages Yes No

Journey purposes Yes No

Appendix 4: Initial Review Checklist

Safe Vans


Van Best Practice


Incident management: (circle as appropriate)

Have any of the following measures been introduced?

Incident reporting Yes No

Incident analysis Yes No

Incident follow-up Yes No

Have any of the following fleet safety standards been set?

Incident response Yes No

Incident follow-up Yes No

Are data collected on the following?

Numbers Yes No

Causes Yes No

Locations Yes No

Date and time Yes No

Injury and damage Yes No

Performance monitoring: (circle as appropriate)

Is regular monitoring carried out to assess compliance with fleet safety standards? Yes No

Are the results analysed/recorded/disseminated? Yes No

Have appropriate targets been selected? Yes No

Are there clear reporting procedures for incidents? Yes No

Do these include ‘near misses’? Yes No

Is there a procedure in place to investigate incidents? Yes No

Are lessons from incidents fed back to promote fleet safety improvement? Yes No

Are the conclusions fed back to assist in fleet safety improvements? Yes No

Status review carried out by:



Status review assessed by:



Date review carried out:

Date of next review:

Appendix 4: Initial Review Checklist

Safe Vans

Van Best Practice

Appendix 5: Example Safe Driving Standard

My Personal Commitment to Improve Road Safety

I (full name) will:

• Wear a seat belt whenever I drive or travel in a vehicle

• Switch my mobile phone off while driving a vehicle

• Ensure that the lights of the vehicle I’m travelling in are switched on when

visibility is poor, especially at dusk and dawn

• Not drive a vehicle while under the influence of alcohol and/or drugs

• Only overtake when the road ahead is clear with enough distance to safely

complete the manoeuvre

• Drive at all times with a courteous manner with due consideration for

pedestrians and other road users

• Not speed and will drive within the applicable speed limits

• Allow a safe following distance between the vehicle I am driving and the one in

front (at least 2 seconds following distance, 4 seconds in wet conditions and 10

seconds in icy conditions)

• Ensure that the vehicle I’m driving or travelling in is roadworthy:

- Lights work

- Washers and wipers work

- Brakes work

- Tyres are undamaged and have at least 2 mm tread across whole surface

- Horn works

• Report without prejudice all incidents that I am involved in on the road



Safe Van Operations


Van Best Practice


Appendix 6: Driver Recruitment Checklist

Driver details


First name(s):

Date of birth:

Driving licence details

Driving licence number:

Vehicle categories:

Valid from:

Valid to:

Date driving test passed:


Date of offence:

Type of offence:


Details of any traffic incidents during the last five years


Brief description of incident:

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Driving courses attended

Have you taken any form of advanced/defensive driver training: Yes No

If Yes give details of date, programme and provider:


Are you in good health: Yes No

Is your vision impaired: Yes No

Is your hearing impaired: Yes No

Have you ever received treatment for:

Diabetes: Yes No

Epilepsy: Yes No

Do you suffer from any other illness/disability which could affect

your driving ability:

If Yes give details:

Yes No

Are you willing to take a medical examination by a doctor: Yes No

How regularly do you drive:

Every day: Once a week: Occasionally:

I certify that the above details are correct and I have provided a true

copy of my driving licence as held by the DVLA:



For official use only

Driving licence checked by:

Driving experience and medical checked by:

Permitted to drive: cars/vans/LGV

From (date):


Appendix 6: Driver Recruitment Checklist

Safe Vans


Van Best Practice


Appendix 7: Driver Monthly Vehicle Maintenance

and Condition Report

General information

Date: Vehicle registration:


Odometer reading:

Monthly checklist

Date of odometer


Item Checked Comments

No instrument panel warning lights showing

All lights, indicators and horn operational

Windscreen and other glass (including mirrors)


Wiper blades and washers serviceable

Tyre condition and tread OK

Tyre pressure OK

Spare wheel serviceable

Wheel brace, jack and tool kit available

Roof rack and/or tow bar secure

Engine oil and other fluid levels adequate

Emergency equipment serviceable

(e.g. first-aid kit, fire extinguisher, hi-vis jacket)

Seat belts operational

Generally clean and tidy

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Servicing/repairs during month

Date Odometer reading Brief details/cost Name of garage

Bodywork condition

(list details of any damage and mark position on diagram)

Any other comments

Driver’s signature: Date:

Manager’s signature: Date:

Appendix 7: Driver Monthly Vehicle Maintenance and Condition Report

Safe Vans


Van Best Practice


Appendix 8: Driver’s Daily Vehicle Checklist

and Fault Report

Checks to be conducted before use of the vehicle

Date: Vehicle registration:


Vehicle make/type: Odometer reading:

Marking Key:


X Defective/missing

External vehicle condition

Item Mark Comments

Condition of vehicle bodywork, windscreen,

windows, lights

Condition of windscreen wiper blades

Cleanliness of windscreen, windows, mirrors,

lights, number plate

Security of load, trailer, roof rack

Condition of tyres, tyre pressures, tyre wear

Availability of spare wheel, jack and tools

Under-vehicle inspection: leaks, loose parts,

foreign material


N/A Not applicable

Item Mark Comments

Engine oil level

Coolant level

Windscreen wash level

Brake/clutch fluid

Power steering fluid

Condition of battery, acid level, fixings and connections

Oil or other fluid leaks

NB: If any items are deemed

defective/missing, report the

fault to line management prior to


Safe Van Operations

Van Best Practice

Vehicle interior and equipment

Item Mark Comments

Condition and function of seat belts

Tax disc

First aid kit

Fire extinguisher


Warning triangle

Vehicle handbook

Functional checks before starting the journey

Item Mark Comments

Head restraint adjustment

Mirror adjustment

Warning lights in instrument panel


All lights


Washers and wipers



Trailer connection and functioning

of trailer lights

Functional checks during the journey

Item Mark Comments

Warning lights in instrument panel off

Abnormal noise

Abnormal vibration

Abnormal smell

The driver of this vehicle has confirmed they are aware that

vans are subject to lower speed limits than cars. Please tick:

All the items above have been checked and any defects and omissions reported.

Driver’s signature: Date:

Manager’s signature: Date:

Appendix 8: Driver’s Daily Vehicle Checklist and Fault Report

Safe Vans


Van Best Practice


Appendix 9: Journey Schedule

Driver name:

Vehicle registration:

Passenger details

Number of passengers:

Names of passengers: Destination:





Load details

Total weight of load:

Specific loads: Destination:





Journey details

Departure date: Departure time:

Arrival date: Expected arrival time:

Destination details







Arrival time Departure time Driver break?

Manager name:

Signature: Date:

Safe Van Operations

Van Best Practice

Appendix 10: Incident Data Collection Form

Type of incident

Windscreen damage

Fire damage

Theft of vehicle

Theft from vehicle – radio

Theft from vehicle – excluding radio

Malicious damage

Damage by storm/flood

Bodily injury – pedestrian

Bodily injury – cyclist

Hit in rear by third party

Hit rear of third party

Hit while parked

Hit parked third party

Collision with oncoming vehicle

Multiple collision

Entering main road

Third party entering main road


Third party reversing

Crossroads collision

Door opened into path of third party

Door opened by third party

Roundabout – entering

Roundabout – leaving

Driver fault?



Total incidents

Safe Van Operations



Van Best Practice


Type of incident

Traffic lights collision

Turned across third party

Third party turned across

Damage by tipping

Damage due to overturning

Collision with animal

Hit lamp post/traffic sign

Hit fixed object – excluding above

Lost control – hit fixed object

Skidded on slippery surfaces – no other



Avoidable incidents: % of total

Accounting for: % of total claims cost

Theft related claims accounting for further: % cost

Total of avoidable thefts: % of total claims costs

Driver fault?



Total incidents


Appendix 10: Incident Data Collection Form

Safe Vans

Van Best Practice

Appendix 11: Priority Actions

To help prioritise the actions that

need to be taken to increase van

safety, the table below lists the most

important measures, which should

be in place. These are recognised as

more or less universally applicable

and effective. Therefore, they are

Suggested minimum van safety systems



Safe management systems

Senior management





Difficulty to


Cost to


seen as a minimum requirement for

safe van use. For each item, a simple

three-level indication is provided

of its likely effectiveness, its level

of implementation difficulty and its

implementation cost.


H M L It is crucial to gain senior

management commitment

when undertaking fleet safety

management. This may include

a company director leading the

investigation into serious and fatal

road crashes.

Fleet safety policy H L L This is a vital document.

See Appendix 2.

Regular safety


H M L A number of techniques can be

used (e.g. meetings, leaflets,

stickers, posters and manuals).

(continued overleaf)

Safe Van Operations


Van Best Practice


Driver management

Establishing safe driving


H M M Providing a written standard

on safe driving standards is

an essential first step. Such a

standard should include details

of fatigue, drugs and alcohol,

speeding, mobile communications,

etc. See Appendix 5.

Driver monitoring H M M Monitoring driver performance

can help you identify the high-risk

drivers and those that may be

performing badly. This allows a

more targeted and cost-effective

approach to be adopted.

Screening and testing of

new drivers

Driver training


H M M The first and most effective

step towards ensuring that

safe drivers are employed. Will

need collaboration with HR, see

Appendix 6.

H M H/M A useful tool in improving driver

safety, especially if targeted at

poorly performing drivers.

A driver training programme will

only be truly effective if combined

with other safe fleet management

techniques, including senior

management demonstration of

safe driving practices.

Driver briefing sessions H M L A regular meeting between drivers

and managers to discuss and

resolve problems/hazards/near


Vehicle management

Vehicle selection and


Vehicle maintenance

and servicing

Pre-journey vehicle


H M H/M The key is to make sure all existing

vehicles meet a minimum safety

requirement. It is important to

choose vehicles that are appropriate

for the task to be carried out.

H M L An essential way of ensuring vehicle

roadworthiness and overall safety.

H L L An essential way of ensuring

continued vehicle roadworthiness

and safety. See Appendix 8.

Appendix 11: Priority Actions

Safe Vans

Van Best Practice

Journey management

Route planning M M L An effective way of eliminating

high-risk driving activities/areas.

Incident management

Incident procedures H/M M M It is essential that written

procedures are in place and that all

staff comply with them.

Incident investigation

and reporting

H/M M M A crucial step towards obtaining

useful incident data.

See Appendix 10.

Appendix 8: Priority Actions

Safe Vans


Fuel Management Pack

Efficient Vans

Van Specification

Safe Vans Case Studies

Carrying Goods Safely

Driver Essentials

VBP1004 January 2010

Printed on material containing 100% recycled fibre

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