Safety Solutions for METS

A Melbourne trucking operator has achieved some major safety improvements after a campaign to improve performance. Metropolitan Express Transport Services has a fleet which has grown from twelve vehicles in 1986, to now running in excess of 200 vehicles, ranging in size from small courier vans, to semis.

In recent years a key objective for METS was to improve the management of their work-related road risks in order to reduce, the risk of harm to employees and others, the number of incidents and claims as well as reducing costs, improving WHS performance and meeting corporate social responsibility objectives.

Three areas of heavy vehicle road risks were assessed, the driver, the journeys they make and the vehicles they use. An assessment by a Zurich Insurance advisor provided an insight into the risks faced, allowing METS to prioritise where action was needed and what interventions were required.

As a result of the changes introduced after the full assessment had been carried out the improvement in the insurance claims performance over the last 6 years has seen claims frequency reduced by 44 per cent and the average cost of a claim has reduced by 12 per cent.

These improvement came about as a result of the following changes:

Use of agency drivers has ceased

  • A driver and load audit program introduced with 50 per cent of loads audited every week and driver and vehicle audits also conducted with these load checks. The audit plan is provided to the customer and a formal visitation schedule is developed.
  • The driver handbook has been rewritten with formalised testing for the content and annual refreshers for inductions.
  • Six-monthly checks of driver licenses for demerit points
  • Driver health management enhancements including pre-employment and on-going driver medical assessment program adopted and identification of drivers with sleep disorders found. Focusing on improvement, these cases have undergone successful treatment and then undertaken job reallocation.
  • Performance (service and safety) based, graduated pay structure for drivers including an internal demerit point system
  • Saliva based random drug and alcohol testing randomly every month.
  • Driver assessment and training resources boosted from a single, in-house, non-certified driver assessor-trainer to a Driver Support Team of 7 people (2 x trainer-assessors and 5 x senior drivers)
  • BFM accreditation focused on safety management has been introduced for all drivers (even though work schedules do not trigger a regulatory requirement for such)
  • Safety Assist program (general safety in short haul trucking) supported by WorkSafe Vic, the TWU and the VTA now delivered to drivers annually
  • Improved document controls
  • Driver team turnover reduced

“The Victorian Transport Association has been working with Sam, Tony and the Team at Metropolitan Express Transport Services for many years,” said Peter Anderson, VTA CEO. “We have seen this company grow and prosper. Like any business, METS has huge risk exposures but given the attitude of the two directors we have seen them tackle in risk migration head on and work via Zurich Insurance to help achieve a win, win outcome.”