What is FORS, and why should you get it?
The Fleet Operator Recognition Scheme (FORS) is an accreditation for any business that runs vehicles for commercial use.
FORS is a recognised badge of quality. Although it is voluntary, many organisations now insist that their third-party vehicle operators have a minimum silver level to bid for their work.
So, if you run a haulage fleet, you will be losing the opportunity to bid and win work by not having FORS accreditation.
How does FORS work?
FORS is for any business that uses vehicles for its commercial operations. It covers all vehicles from HGVs to vans and even mopeds. It doesn’t matter how many vehicles you have—one or one hundred, you can gain the FORS standard.
There are three levels of FORS—bronze, silver, and gold, and you have to progress from one to the next. So, for example, you can’t go straight for gold without first having bronze and silver accreditation.
The application process is pretty straightforward. This link will take you through the first step to register on the FORS website. If your application is approved, they will issue you a registration ID number then arrange an on-site audit for your bronze level. If you pass that audit, you will become FORS accredited at the bronze level, allowing you to apply for silver and gold.
What are the benefits of FORS accreditation?
Being FORS accredited brings benefits to every level of your business.
· Operational improvements by driving efficiencies across your business.
· Retain your customers who see you as committed to safety and sustainability.
· Gaining more business as you can bid for FORS-only contracts.
· Improving your recruitment as you’re seen as a business that does things right.
· CLOCS accreditation is automatic for FORS silver and gold level businesses.
· Monitoring your fleet more effectively and maintaining legal compliance
· Boosting performance as your team become more skilled and knowledgeable
· Saving money on fines, insurance, fuel, and maintenance.
· Developing everyone’s skills and creating a more engaged workforce.
· Your drivers become better as they learn more skills which improves their promotion and employment opportunities.
· Reduction in delays and costs by keeping up to date with the latest legislation
· Running more safely and reducing the risk of accidents for your staff, vehicles, and other road users.
· Improving your fuel economy reduces your carbon impact and helps you become a more environmentally conscious business.
· Reducing the number of accidents on the nation’s roads by installing equipment to make your vehicles safer.
· Better journey planning reduces travelling times and helps to keep our streets less congested.
How do you get FORS Bronze level?
FORS bronze is the basic level you need to have before you can progress to silver or gold. Bronze covers four key areas—management, vehicles, drivers, and operations.
· Create your FORS policies and procedures manual – documentation to cover all the mandatory requirements of FORS.
· Define your organisational structure – make sure you have clearly defined job roles and show the links between senior management and your operational staff.
· Appoint an official responsible person who is formally qualified and trained to run and control your transport operation.
· Make sure your regulatory licences are up to date for your industry.
· Communicate your policies and procedures to all your staff and prove that you have done so.
· Regular reviewing (every twelve months) of your policies by senior management.
· Develop a robust complaints procedure to show that your business is committed to improving its operations and not just ticking boxes.
· Create an investigation procedure for all fines or penalty charges the company incurs.
· Keep up to date with changes in legislation and industry best practice.
· Ensure all your information is stored securely in a digital system and can be easily retrieved.
· Document all your tyre wear and fuel consumption for each of your vehicles.
· Create a plan for inspection and maintenance of all your vehicles and safety equipment that documents all your repairs and servicing.
· Develop a procedure to check your vehicles before the first use of the driver’s shift.
· Make sure you hold a minimum of third-party insurance for your vehicles, as well as other insurances like public liability and goods-in-transit.
· Check that all your vehicles are appropriately taxed or have a SORN declaration if off-road.
· Ensure that your vehicles are correctly loaded with appropriate loading restraints in place.
· Protect vulnerable road users by having warning signs fitted to your vehicles, install side under-run protection, and use Class V and VI mirrors.
· Carry out risk assessments to ensure the risks to your personnel are minimised as much as possible, e.g. falling from height and seat-belt use.
· Assess the risks from manoeuvring the vehicle covering forward and backward movement, coupling/uncoupling, towing, and parking.
· Every six months, you should check your drivers’ licences (and agency drivers) against the DVLA database.
· Define a written policy for the standards your drivers should work to when running a company vehicle, with particular emphasis on vulnerable road users.
· Implement a robust induction process for all your drivers and staff, especially regarding health and safety and vulnerable road users.
· Create a professional development programme for your drivers and line managers to improve their skills and knowledge continually.
· Make sure your drivers are aware of and understand the regulations around using in-cab technology like mobile phones.
· Provide health and safety training for your drivers to reduce the risk of injury while carrying out their daily driving activities.
· Take a proactive approach to driver health and fitness, e.g. driver eyesight checks.
· Have a clear policy regarding the number of hours your staff can drive a vehicle and their total working time.
· Record and monitor all driver infractions, such as traffic offences, and introduce disciplinary action for persistent offenders.
· You’ll need to provide evidence that your vehicles are routed most efficiently and the most appropriate vehicles are used on the assigned routes. This may include using sat-nav equipment.
· Have a clear policy on transporting abnormal loads, dangerous goods, or hazardous materials and ensure your operating licences are valid.
· All incidents, collisions, and near-misses should be documented and analysed by management. In addition, insurance claims should be processed quickly and followed up.
· Implement a policy to reduce engine-idling.
· Maintain records regarding vehicle theft and unauthorised access to vehicles.
As you can see, bronze accreditation is no box-ticking exercise and involves implementing many different policies and procedures. While there are no requirements for electronic safety devices, installing cameras, audible warning systems, and GPS systems in your vehicles will help you achieve bronze level easier. In addition, you will be set up to advance to silver and gold levels and DVS compliance, where there are some mandatory requirements. At Jets GPS, we can supply and install all the equipment you need to achieve compliance.
Obtaining FORS Silver
You must first have FORS bronze in place to advance to the silver level, which places more focus on the safety systems of your vehicles. This is the main reason we see more companies insisting on their transport suppliers having silver level as a minimum.
As well as all the requirements of bronze, you will need to provide information around:
· Performance data
· Fuel, emissions, and air quality
· Road risk
· Professional development
· Vehicle safety systems
· Noise pollution
· Internal communications
· Sub-contracted services
Jets GPS can provide and fit the specific safety equipment you need to comply with FORS silver, which includes:
· Near-side vehicle camera
· Rear camera
· Side proximity sensors
· Audible left-turn warning
· Audible right-turn warning
· In-cab display screen
Obtaining FORS Gold
FORS gold accreditation focuses on your business, almost becoming an ambassador for FORS, setting the highest levels of standards.
As well as all the requirements for bronze and silver, you will also have to cover:
· Performance data
· A FORS case study in your business
· Recruitment and retention
· Training and professional development
· Sustainable operations
· Promoting FORS
· Staff travel
· Contracted services
If you’ve already installed the safety equipment listed above, the last part is to make sure you have a digital recorder to facilitate any insurance claims after an accident.
We recommend a live-streaming system that allows you to see what the driver sees and keeps your recorded data on your site for easy access.
At Jets GPS, we work with haulage companies all over the UK to understand their requirements and advise on the most appropriate solutions. Our team of highly trained installation engineers will fit all your equipment on-site to keep your downtime to a minimum.
Contact us on 01254 914 538 or email firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.