Going For Gold - FORS Accreditation
Proteus Waterproofing, based in Rayleigh Essex, offer market-proven and cost-effective waterproofing solutions for both refurbishments and new builds. Whether you require a watertight flat roof system or looking to waterproof a communal walkway, we provide the highest performance waterproofing systems to protect your building. We are innovative, forward thinking and committed to excellence.
Rozalind Richardson, Operations Manager, explains the value of the development of both Proteus’ ethical business relationships and corporate social responsibility along with the increased organisational training; and how these have been the key result areas associated with Proteus’ FORS accreditation.
Proteus has been FORS accredited since July 2017, having had the scheme introduced by our Consultant Transport Manager, Steve D’Silva about eight months prior to that. As a restricted O-License holder Proteus are not obliged to have a Transport Manager; nonetheless we are keen to demonstrate our professionalism in all areas. Although our fleet is only small, we only have one HGV and four vehicles under 3.5T, Proteus want to be seen as leaders in all areas of our business; our fleet is no exception.
Our initial Bronze audit took place in July 2017. The auditor looked a little surprised when our FORS team of four entered the meeting, all carrying various folders and paperwork. In attendance was Steve, both our outgoing and incoming FORS administrators and myself. We were well prepared and ready for any questions. We were thrilled to achieve our Bronze status as a result of that first audit, and with only five minor action points. It was reassuring to know that our systems were robust and easily stood up to the scrutiny of the audit and the FORS standard. We were delighted when, at our second audit 2018, we passed with no action points whatsoever; a real credit to the Proteus team. The decision was then taken to go for Gold!
Achieving FORS Bronze enabled us to develop working relationships with other businesses that see the benefit of working alongside a company as committed to excellence in our fleet development as we are to all areas of our business. We proudly display the FORS logo on all our fleet vehicles and promote the accreditation wherever possible. The FORS logo is displayed on all of our literature, our website and throughout our social media presence.
The FORS principles also fit perfectly with our company ethos, as an environmentally and socially responsible business, committed to reducing our environmental impact and working as efficiently as possible. Proteus found that the FORS performance management processes were substantial enough to contribute heavily to our ISO 14001 application and subsequent accreditation.
“The FORS principles fit perfectly with our company ethos, as an environmentally and socially responsible business, committed to reducing our environmental impact and working as efficiently as possible.” Rozalind Richardson, Operations Manager
As an organisation we have found the training associated with FORS to be a particularly useful way of improving knowledge; not only for our drivers but also for the office staff that administrate FORS. Ongoing training is a vital part of our business and within the last five months our six members of staff that are involved in our FORS scheme have completed twenty-eight training courses, both classroom and online. The classroom-based SUD course was particularly beneficial in raising the awareness of our LGV under 3.5T vehicle drivers about the issues faced by vulnerable road users, while the online courses proved to be easily accessible and useful for all.
“Ongoing training is a vital part of our business” Rozalind Richardson, Operations Manager
Given the synergy between FORS and Proteus’ values and our ambitions as a business, in relation to safety, environmental impact and efficiency our reasons for progressing from Bronze to Gold accreditation in less than six months are twofold. Proteus are keen to always be seen as innovative industry leaders, always being one step ahead. Being accredited to a FORS Gold standard cements that perception, not only within the construction industry, but also within the road transport industry. Additionally, as a business with an ambitious growth strategy, and given the gathering pace of the FORS scheme, we also want to ensure that we do not miss out on future opportunities through not giving the FORS scheme our full commitment.
Another facet of our corporate social responsibility is the importance Proteus places on both the physical and mental health of all our employees. A pleasant working environment is not only seen as important within the office, but for all employees. Due to the hours spent behind the wheel, our truck is no exception and was specified to promote driver comfort, both mentally and physically. The cab is both air conditioned and is equipped with a small fridge for driver refreshments, not that unusual but not something you would typically expect in a day cab. These added extras were in addition to the features that would be expected as standard on a truck that met not only met the Euro VI standard but was also specified to meet FORS Gold requirements at point of purchase.
In addition to an audible left turn, our current 26T truck is also fitted with side marker lights, running down both the left and right side of the vehicle, that are linked into and work as additional indicators providing additional visible awareness. This ensures that our vehicle can be easily identified as wishing to turn, both audibly and visually, by all other road users; reducing stress and providing reassurance for our driver as well as other road users. Our driver also has the use of a camera system that, when indicating to the left, provides a full side view to the left-hand side of the vehicle via a small TFT monitor which also contributes to blind spot reduction. A side scanner system, down the nearside of the vehicle, detects objects when indicating left, activating a warning buzzer for the driver in the cab should it detect any objects within approximately 1.25m of the left-hand side of the vehicle.
For future vehicle purchases Proteus will investigate the all available options, including low entry cabs and alternatively fuelled vehicles, to ensure that we stay at the forefront of transport technology.
Our recently implemented driver fitness programme asks for self-assessment, by all drivers, through completion of a guided assessment form to notify us of any physical or mental health conditions which would impact their ability to carry out day to day work activities. As there is an increase in awareness in relation to the importance of good mental health, Proteus strive to create an open and accepting environment, so employees feel they can talk about any health issues without fear of judgement or impact on job security.
As a FORS accredited company, Proteus’ commitment to our stakeholders is evident, simply by the logo displayed on our vehicles and promoting it throughout our business communications. Maintenance of our FORS accreditation shows our commitment to our corporate social responsibility, whilst ensuring our responsible approach to fleet management is upheld; in turn facilitating an increased rate of business growth.