Friday, March 1, 2019

From Truck Driver Shortages to Safety in the Transport Yard Logistics Group Has it Covered

Training Academy Upgrade Encompasses Full Suite of Essential Education Aids
Shipping News Feature
UK – Anyone involved in logistics will be aware of the shortage of skilled staff in the sector, particularly the road haulage industry where there are great concerns at the paucity of HGV drivers. In 2009 the specialist container group Pentalver founded a Driver Training Academy to cope with the increased demand and with the intention of enhancing commercial driver skills, improving driver behaviour and reinvesting profits into the next generation of truck drivers.

Now, following the acquisition of Pentalver by Genesee & Wyoming (G&W) in 2017, coupled with the inclusion of another G&W subsidiary, Freightliner, the training academy has undergone a complete transformation for 2019. Now known as G&W UK/Europe Region Driver Training Academy, the training facility offers the capacity for both internal and external trainees, covering a wide range of driver, safety and first aid courses.

Due to rapid growth in demand, the newly, purpose built Academy, still has the on-going ability to create and develop bespoke tuition. If the wide range of IAM RoadSmart-approved services does not meet a business’s needs, G&W’s UK-based Learning and Development team are on hand to create a tailor-made solution. Shaun Allen, Road MD for G&W UK/Europe Region companies, explains:

“Our driver behavioural specialists are the key to offering road safety training solutions which are targeted at reducing risk and ensuring compliance within the business partnerships we build. We recognise a ‘one size fits all’ approach is not an effective strategy, which is why we focus on the human factors which influence the fleet quality. That means understanding the choices a driver makes behind the wheel and how these choices lead to actions which affect their risk levels.”

Taking varied expertise and an improved safety focus from parent company G&W, a globally recognised transportation services provider, the academy has ensured that each course offered has a greater impact on improving road safety across the UK. Richard Gladman, Head of Driving Standards for IAM RoadSmart (IAM), comments:

“One of the difficulties we find is getting driver buy-in, but at the G&W Driver Training Academy, we have found that the trainers and the trainees are committed to demonstrating high levels of safety. New technology is improving driver safety, but we cannot be reliant on new technology alone. It is vital that drivers have the right attitude, alongside quality training which improves their awareness and space management skills.”

Unsurprisingly, one of the most popular courses the training academy offers is the driver Certificate of Professional Competence (CPC), the mandatory qualification for LGV (large goods vehicle) drivers who drive professionally in the UK and Europe. It has been developed under EU Directive 2003/59, which is designed to improve the knowledge, skills and ultimately safety of professional LGV Drivers. Many training providers offer this course, but the G&W academy also offers a bespoke CPC course writing service, working with transport operators to fulfil their requirements. Billy Simpson, Training Manager for G&W UK/Europe Region companies, says:

“We currently have a suite of 10 JAUPT approved, seven-hour classroom based training courses plus two on-road modules. We also offer initial CPC and can conduct CPC Module 4 examinations. We offer a huge range of courses run by the best trainers in the industry, so we are prepared for the future and the changes we expect to see in the road haulage industry in years to come.”

The training academy also offers all categories of LGV and PCV (passenger carrying vehicles) licence acquisition across the UK, utilising its network of experienced instructors and Dave Baldwin, Group Fleet Manager for UK/Europe says the flexible programmes can assist companies and individuals through the complex licensing requirements. Meanwhile the transport yard is not neglected, that particular part of the logistics environment harbouring a multitude of health and safety hazards.

For companies looking to expand their training to yard staff, the driving academy offers a half-day Yard Safety Training course which covers: pedestrian walkways, Forklift truck (FLT) and LGV awareness, loading and unloading procedures, load restraints, curtain security and safety, curtain straps, central poles, safety in bad weather and relevant manual handling techniques connected with all aspects of the course. Dave Mackreth, Operations Director, Group Haulage Operations, for G&W’s UK/Europe Region, elaborates:

“The safety of yard staff and drivers is important to everyone in the logistics industry. Those who work around commercial vehicles know that drivers and workplace safety don’t stop at the yard gate, and that it takes more than the drivers’ mess room bulletin board to promote safety. Falls from vehicles, forklift incidents and trips happen too often in the industry, and most are avoidable. That’s why we designed our half-day Yard Safety Training course. It helps employees and employers meet their legal obligations and reduce the risk of accidents in transport yards.”

Across the logistics industry, manoeuvring and reversing vehicles on site is a major cause of workplace collisions and can lead to serious or fatal injuries. The Shunter Training course offers driver training to ensure safe practices with the aim of minimising the risk of collisions. After this training course, employers will be able to demonstrate that they have met their duty of care under Health and Safety Legislation as each delegate is formally assessed with the results communicated to employers by way of a detailed assessment report.

Not all courses that the training academy offers are aimed at new employees; many companies are utilising the training offered to ensure best-practice across their staff and in turn, reduce incidents and improve efficiency. One such course is Truck Driver Risk Profiling which helps to identify situational, behavioural and poor coping factors which are known to increase a driver’s risk of being involved in a collision.

For companies wishing to improve their safety record and reduce their environmental footprint (and who doesn’t?) the Be Green – Be Safe course offers drivers training in eco driving, fuel consumption reduction, driver fatigue, speed awareness and more. G&W is committed to reducing its impact on the environment and communities it operates in, which is why it has invested in research to better understand how those in the transportation industry can be more eco-friendly.