Practices in a chemical road transport enterprise – technical and training measures, Switzerland/Germany

In document Managing risks to drivers in road transport (Page 56-62)

system to manage and supervise truck drivers’ work and rest hours, Finland

2.3.13. Practices in a chemical road transport enterprise – technical and training measures, Switzerland/Germany

Organisation(s): Bertschi AG, Europe Key points

 Targets set for accident reduction.

 Technical solutions, training, controls.

 Continuous checking of the observance of safety rules.

 Continuous on-the-job training to cover experienced as well as new workers.

 Public awareness-raising regarding OSH in chemical road transport.


The European Road Safety Charter, the annex of the Communication of the Commission COM(2003)311 – ‘European Road Safety Action Programme’, requires relevant institutions and enterprises to reduce the number of accidents within their area of responsibility by all means at their disposal.

In 2004 – shortly after the European Road Safety Action Programme was introduced – Bertschi AG subscribed to the European Road Safety Charter.

The new European Directive 2003/59/EC on the Initial Qualification and Periodic Training of Professional Drivers demands, among other things, a 35-hour period of training for each driver every five years. With the help of its sophisticated system of in-house training, Bertschi AG is able to comply with legal requirements for this sector.


Swiss-based Bertschi AG regards itself as the European market leader in chemical transport with more than 1,200 tractors and 12,000 containers. The enterprise has about 1,700 employees all over Europe. The German branches of the company are members of the BGF, the German institution for accident prevention and insurance in the vehicle operating trades.

In 2002, quite some time before the European aims for accident reduction were publicised, Bertschi AG’s executive director set a goal to reduce accidents during the following five years by more than 50%.


 The use of technical measures, continuous training and compliance methods to help achieve the accident reduction target.

 To achieve consistent and high levels of safety across all its multinational operations.


Following the targets set by the executive director, Bertschi AG’s Department of Quality and Safety introduced a number of measures within a safety management framework which covers its multinational branches.

Technical features:

 A high percentage of Bertschi AG’s heavy goods vehicles are equipped with driver assistance systems, such as electronic stability control (ESC) and the rollover stability system (RSS) to prevent truck rollovers.

 The vehicles also have blind spot mirrors and a supplementary mirror on the driver’s side to show the whole length of the tractor and trailer combination.

 Reflective markings are attached to the rear and both sides of the vehicle.

 Some vehicles are also fitted with a backing alarm that sounds when the vehicle is reversing.

Through the use of all these technical safety features, the number of road traffic accidents can be measurably reduced.


Statistics have shown that the older, more experienced driver can be involved in as many accidents as inexperienced drivers. Acquiring experience often leads to a more ‘relaxed’ way of working and, in some cases, an increased danger of injury. Bearing this in mind, Bertschi AG has developed a system of individual training for all activities.

Before the individual work assignment, new employees have to attend primary specific training – a practice that is not always found in the transport business.

Throughout their career drivers will attend regular individual training, structured around the Behaviour Based Safety (BBS) guidelines of the chemical industry. During these training sessions drivers are made aware of a number of policies Bertschi AG has developed to improve safety. The main topics covered are summarised below:

A. High quality of vocational and in-firm training

 Professional training of the drivers before their first assignment and individual periodic training according to the Behaviour Based Safety (BBS) guidelines of the chemical industry

 Zero-alcohol principle

 Continuous wearing of seatbelts

 No phone calls whilst driving

 Use of protective equipment during loading and unloading

 Use of daytime running lights

 Defensive driving principle takes priority over time pressure

B. Use of technical innovations

 Vehicles are equipped with driver assistance systems (ESC, RSS)

 Blind spot mirrors on all vehicles

 Reflective markings at the rear and on both sides of the vehicle

 Backing alarm

C. Continuous control

 Periodic individual checks (e. g. alcohol tests)


To guarantee the efficiency of the whole safety system of Bertschi AG, the Department of Quality and Safety has prescribed continuous control using various methods:

 Individual checks of drivers.

The driver has to pass an individual check at regular intervals – either on the road or at the loading or unloading places. To carry out this test, the relevant head of department follows the heavy goods vehicle with his own car and observes the mode of driving and loading/unloading of the driver in question. The drivers are also tested for alcohol at regular intervals.

 Appraisal interviews.

The head of department has a conversation with each driver once a year to discuss the implementation of safety measures. This is documented in the relevant staff report.

Public and customer awareness

Road transport is not a ‘closed system’ for management. It has to interact with clients and clients’ awareness and cooperation affect its operations. One measure Bertschi AG has taken is to organise regular Safety Days at customer enterprises

Outcomes and evaluation

 From 2002 to 2007 workplace accidents fell by a remarkable 50% at Bertschi AG.

 The acceptance of safety measures and the readiness to put them into operation has increased noticeably among the company’s drivers.

 The Safety Days at customer enterprises have increased the public awareness of the safety problems associated with chemical transport and have led to other, similar projects.

In 2007 Bertschi managers performed 5,152 individual checks of their drivers on the road or during loading or unloading. In total, satisfactory results were obtained for 97% of these checks.

The success of the safety measures undertaken by Bertschi AG can also be measured by the following indicators:

 the accident rate in road transport within Bertschi AG

 the costs for repairs of the vehicles

 the days of absence of the employees due to injuries.

There are also a number of ‘soft’ factors that are difficult to quantify, e.g. the number of dangerous and near-miss situations avoided.

Problems faced

Human resources:

Safety and quality cannot be guaranteed without the existence of control systems. Bertschi AG’s control system requires certain employees to perform individual checks and appraisal interviews.

National legislation:

Because Bertschi AG has branches all over Europe and national legislation differs from one European country to another, the overall implementation of safety measures can sometimes be difficult.

To find solutions that meet both the safety objectives of the company and the legal requirements of the country concerned demands a high strategic competence of the safety managers involved.

Success factors

 Implementation of common safety management system and procedures for all employees despite the varying legal background in the different countries.

 Combination of different measures, e.g. training, technical systems and control instruments, helped ensure the success of Bertschi’s safety endeavours.

 Recognition that training needs to be continuous and cover experienced as well as new workers.

 Covering clients and public in awareness of work safety through various presentations (safety days).


Many companies in the road transport sector all over Europe could apply these safety measures in the same, or a similar, way.

Further information Bertschi AG Hutmattstraße 22 CH-5724 Dürrenäsch Switzerland Web:


Safe Driving Project, Greece

Organisation(s): Heracles General Cement Co.

Key points

 Coordinated actions covering risk assessment, policy development, equipment controls, site safety management and defensive driving.

 Ongoing training covering new and experienced workers.

 Involvement of contractors


Heracles General Cement Co. is a cement production and distribution company with more than 2,500 employees in Greece. It is a member of the LAFARGE group. The company started a two-year safe driving programme for all contractor drivers and drivers employed by the company. In a coordinated approach, the programme included defensive driving training, assessment, policy development and equipment control.

Aims and objectives

In early 2005 the CEO of Heracles announced a ‘road safety’ programme with the following specifications:

 a company-wide programme

 affecting all employees and all contractors

 leader: supply-chain direction

 target: 0 road fatalities starting 2005.

The objective was to have all the subcontractor drivers (around 740) trained by the end of 2006 and for 50% of the drivers employed by the company to have completed a second phase of training by the end of 2008.


The company’s cement silo-truck fleet comprises 350 vehicles travelling about 7,000,000 km per year all over Greece. Moreover, in 2004 there were two contractor fatalities in silo- trucks in the Ptolemais and Megalopoli areas, respectively. This provided the impetus to start a safe driving programme at Heracles.


The safe driving programme lasted two years, from 2005 to 2007. The programme had four elements:

1. Training and communication:

 Defensive driving training

 Awareness presentations to all employees – contractors

2. Policies, procedures & control:

 Driving policy

 Rules and practices

 Performance monitoring

3. Equipment:

 Technical specifications

4. Contractors relationship management

Defensive driving is based on proactive driving; drivers need to predict potential unsafe behaviour of other drivers and other types of road hazards.

Several actions were scheduled for each year. In 2005 preliminary actions took place. Letters were sent to contractors and the programme was presented to the 300 silo truck owners. Then a road safety consulting company provided the first phase of ‘Defensive Driving’ training for 450 contractor silo-truck drivers. A first assessment of 450 silo-truck drivers was also made, in terms of categories such as:

 use of vehicle controls

 concentration

 observation

 coping with danger

 straightening the vehicle / position on the road

 utilisation of vehicle warning signs

 utilisation of mirrors

 behaviour

 manoeuvring ability

 maintaining a safe distance.

Each driver was given an overall grade for road safety behaviour before and after the training, from 0 to 5. From this grade the total risk category was calculated. There were 3 levels of danger: LOW risk =1.00–2.35, MEDIUM risk = 2.36–3.25, HIGH risk = >3.26. A communication kit set was distributed to managers to be given to all employees. Inspections were also carried out to investigate the existence and operation of safety devices (e.g. tachographs and speed limiters). Random visual checks were also made of the safety behaviour of truck drivers (use of seatbelt, use of mobile phone, etc.).

New drivers were also given intensive training that included 25 trips with an instructor, defensive driving training and assessment.

A database was created to record all accidents and reports of near-misses. In 2006 a system ofVehicle Minimum Standards was developed that included:

 front mirrors

 seatbelts

 prohibition on use of steering wheel handle/ball

 beeper warning (moving in reverse)

 site barriers

 vehicle age.

Defensive driving training and assessment of a further 476 contractors and employees was carried out. The training was addressed to managers, sales employees, in-site material transportation contractors, packed cement transport contractors and quarry truck drivers.

A driving policy and rules were developed which included speed limits, prohibition of use of mobile phones and alcohol, etc.

Meanwhile regularcommunications and letterswere sent to truck owners presenting data from accidents, key points of the programme, next steps, etc.

In 2007 the first group of 440 contractor silo-truck drivers (trained in 2005) received the

second phase of their defensive driving training and a second assessment took place. A further 246 employees (managers, head office staff, quarry truck drivers) received defensive driving training and underwent the assessment.

A risk assessment of head office entry and exit routes was performed. A leaflet was distributed to all employees, contractors and visitors to communicate safe entry and exit procedures.

The parent company, Lafarge, has amended its OSH policy and introduced a Mobile Equipment Advisory leaflet with basic safety requirements. Also, an obligation for drafting circulation plans for all sites was announced. This advisory was implemented for all silo- trucks in the company.

Outcome and evaluation

The initial target for zero road fatalities starting 2005 was achieved. All the training objectives were also achieved. Drivers’ safety awareness increased; this is reflected in their behaviour (observing safety rules) and their participation in company-run safety events.

For 2008 several further actions were planned:

 2nd phase ‘Defensive Driving’ training and assessment for the second group of contractorstrained initially in 2006.

 Implementing Lafarge Mobile Equipment Advisory and related circulation plans in all sites.

 Regular audits of:

o Vehicle standards (checklist) and

o Driver qualification and behaviour (on-site & on the road)  Plan training on anti-skid and anti-rollover of vehicles.

Success factors

 Multi-method prevention approach including risk assessment, policy development, site entrance ands exit safety and training.

 Active involvement of contractors.

 Assessment of training activities to ensure their effectiveness.

 Continuous training covering both new and experienced workers.


The whole ‘safe driving’ programme can be transferred to other companies and countries. The approach for training and communicating safety to contractors is particularly appropriate for transferral.

Further information:

Haroula Malami

Safety Development Coordinator AGET Heracles



Safe opening and entry of gassed sea containers, the

In document Managing risks to drivers in road transport (Page 56-62)