The fourth 2018 NRSPP Utilities Forum was hosted by APA Group from the 10th to the 11th of October in Sydney, New South Wales.

The National Road Safety Partnership Program (NRSPP) recognises the value of a national forum specifically for utilities from around the country. This sector is characterised by complex and diverse fleets and the forum provides an opportunity to identify common transport risks and how they may be mitigated. The aim is to provide a forum where organisations from the utilities sector can discuss their major transport risks, how they are mitigated, benchmark road safety performance and how KPIs are influenced.

On the 10th of October attendees participated in viewing a frontal ANCAP crash test followed by an interactive session facilitated by CEO of ANCAP, James Goodwin, and a range of vehicle engineering experts. Utility providers were able to ask the questions the burning questions specific to their interests relating to what makes the vehicle safer but equally how to balance this with performance and loading.

The ANCAP Crash Test was followed by a dinner event where Professor Ann Williamson and Dr Carmel Harrington lead a discussion regarding sleep and driver distraction. Of particular relevance is the release of findings from the recent Australian Naturalistic Driving Study which Ann was part of. The discussion focused on the key distractions, how sleep relates and can amplify effects and then how this can be managed by utility companies.

On the 11th of October the formal workshop was hosted by APA Group at their Sydney offices. Tim Roberts facilitated the day drawing on his utility sector expertise and personal engagement traits to get most of the attendees. Also joining this year’s forum was Ecolabs and Nestle adding to the discussion.

Several different road safety issues within the industry were discussed. Including:

  • Scope of the Problem and Risks;
  • Demographics of Organisations Involved;
  • Systems and Process Development;
  • Technology;
  • Lead Indicators; and
  • Lag Indicators.

Throughout these agenda items, several key topics emerged. Discussions tended towards the use of telematics, telematics thresholds, driver behaviour and mass limits for light commercial vehicles.

In the afternoon, a workshop session was lead by Essential Energy, regarding Mass and Weight Limits for Light Commercial Vehicles. Of particular interest was how certain additions can dramatically affect the mass limits on axel especially the front axle.

At the conclusion of the events, participants were asked to provide feedback on the event. A short questionnaire covering aspects of the profile template, workshop format, content and delivery was provided.

Overall feedback was that this has been the best of the forums since inception, the structure anchored the discussion which flowed effortlessly through the day. Attendees found the forum excellent, problems are common and provided a great opportunity to really explore the different approaches with many light bulb moments.

Forum partners identified a number of Question and Answer papers for NRSPP to develop with a few listed below:

  • What are the traits of safer drivers?
  • How does the technology work in a vehicle?
  • How to introduce an Alcohol and Other Drugs Policy?
  • How does lifestyle impact workplace road safety?
  • Culture and complacency and ensuring a continuous improvement approach.
  • How do you treat breaches?
  • What is the right measure for utilisation that drives both safety and efficiency?

This event was an excellent catalyst for discussion in road safety management within the Utilities industry. Many participants were open and honest about the risks they were encountering and all participants were happy seeking advice and providing guidance to other organisations.



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