The result of a court case, this week, illustrates how compliance the Boral way enables a large company, engaging multiple sub contractors to insulate the business from injury claims. The decision found Boral had provided gates on a brick trailer, ‘that would not subject experienced, adult users, taking reasonable care for their own safety, to an unreasonable risk of injury’.
The whole subject of compliance is a large part of the culture in the Boral organisation. Craig Guthrie is the National Compliance Manager at Boral and he reckons he has got one of the best jobs in the transport industry, being about safety and drivers, but also about the role of the regulators inside the business. He is all about co-regulation, working with the regulator and making sure the management resources, the tools are in place to allow Boral to comply within the rules.
“When you look at our fleet, we’ve got 3,000 trucks of our own, every day,” says Guthrie. “We’ve got tippers, tankers, agitators, bitumen tankers, tautliners, floats, lots of different bits of our own gear on the road. This means we have 3,000 drivers making decisions every day out on the road. It’s my responsibility to make sure those drivers are trained and fit for purpose. It’s also my job to make sure their equipment is fit for purpose, as well.
“One of the main tools we use is telematics. There’s a mobile data terminal (MDT) in the truck and it allows drivers to put information into a computer. The computer under the dashboard takes the information from the MDT, from the engine management system, also from PTO switches and other gauges on the truck, and also information from the GPS network.
“This information is packaged up and sent via the mobile phone network, every five or six minutes, into a telematics server. The information is then sorted out by the server to feed information into a telematics user interface through the normal web-based portal, but it also feeds information into the Boral platform.”
The Boral platform uses the data for a number of purposes, including allocation, payroll, compliance and the customer service department. These back office systems can then push information back to the driver of the truck.
Truck drivers do a pre-start check, log onto the system and enter the pre-start check data into it. This can feed the message back to maintenance, if there is a problem with the truck. The driver then enters their start time, work and rest times.
Then the allocation systems will send the driver the tasks for the day. The loads for collection and delivery will be listed. When the platform is told the goods have been delivered, the system will invoice the customer. The whole system is integrated into the way Boral does business.
“For the driver, they are also getting feedback about speed, their driving hours, it proactively manages their behaviour on the road,” says Guthrie. “Because we have such a reliance on the technology in our business, we have to train and induct the drivers to make sure they are competent in using the system and we take the opportunity to make sure they are competent in all of our management systems. It’s a two or three week induction process.
“What does it mean for the driver? It means it improves safety, drivers aren’t able to go over the work and rest hours options, they are able to know in advance when they are due for rest break. It also monitors the speeds of trucks and allows us to monitor driver behaviour.
“It also allows us to take the co-regulatory approach to the rest of the business. Because the telematics lets us see the behaviour, from a compliance perspective, we don’t have a conversation with the drivers, we have a conversation with the operations and the management people. Its a conversation about their accountability for the drivers’ behaviour.”
Aside from compliance officers feeding information into the business, management is now accountable for what happens to the information about drivers’ behaviour. Operations and field managers have their share of responsibility for the driver’s actions. All of this data is visible throughout the organisation.