Over the past three years, the Chartered Institute of Logistics and Transport (CILT) has been demystifying FORS and CLOCS. It all started with a series of funded workshops in 2016 which progressed more recently to a webinar format. To date, over 500 construction and logistics professionals have had the perceived confusion explained.
For the logistics sector, the explaining is easy – If CLOCS is the question, FORS Silver is the answer – It’s as simple as that. For planning authorities, property developers and construction contractors it’s a little trickier.
Those who sign up as CLOCS Champions, commit to actively promote and implement the CLOCS Standard. This means taking ownership of work related road risk beyond the minimum legal requirements and helping ensure the safety of the most vulnerable road users such as pedestrians and cyclists. However, in my experience and having delivered all of the ‘demystifying’ sessions, many CLOCS Champions merely see their responsibilities as requiring FORS in the supply chain.
The construction sector has one of the most complex supply chains. Not only is the location of projects constantly changing, each project itself moves through a dynamic process. Starting at site set up, through to demolition, excavation, sub-structure, super-structure, cladding and fit out – each phase affects the physical conditions for logistics operations.
The CLOCS Champion’s role is to ensure that site conditions support safe logistics operations. This means considering vehicle access and egress points, loading and unloading facilities, the condition of the ground and managing traffic around the site to minimise congestion. The latter being the point of failure in the tragic incident when Nicola Berridge was killed by an HGV delivering aggregate to the redevelopment work at Bedford bus station in 2015.
The site area was frequently congested with buses, pedestrian visibility was limited and HGVs delivering to the development were regularly parked within the working part of the bus station. The fact that someone was killed as a result of this is evidence of inadequate traffic management and co-ordination.
The investigation, trial and sentencing for this case took four and a half years. Both the bus operator and Bedford Borough Council were convicted of failing to discharge a duty to a non-employee under the Health and Safety Act. They were fined £350,000 and 300,000 respectively.
During the trial the HGV operator was acquitted, a demonstration that it’s not always the vehicle operator or driver who is at fault. In this case, the shortcomings lie with the physical conditions that were created by the client.
Let’s hope lessons are learned from this incident. With planning authorities, property developers and construction contractors adopting the full CLOCS Standard – not just the fleet operator requirements.