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North Yorkshire Fire Service first 'blue light' business champion

21 July 2010

North Yorkshire Fire and Rescue Service has become the first emergency service to become a Driving for Better Business champion.

The Northallerton-based Service operates one of the safest fleets in the country and preventing road traffic crashes from occurring is one of its key roles. It is also recognised as a world leader in the extrication of people from such accidents.

It believes that its success in becoming the first blue light organisation to achieve business champion status will lead to an increased focus by other fire and rescue services on managing occupational road risk.

Chris Anderson, Deputy Chief Fire Officer, said, “It is very pleasing to be the first fire and rescue service to become a business champion. The scheme is an excellent way of promoting not only the importance of road safety to businesses and the public sector but also highlights the operating efficiencies to be gained as a consequence of implementing the good practice measures identified through the process.

“North Yorkshire Fire and Rescue Service is committed to delivering efficient management processes which ensure high standards of health and safety and service delivery.”

As part of its accident prevention work, the Service plays an active role in the 95 Alive Road Safety Partnership which is a partnership of local authorities, emergency services and other North Yorkshire agencies working together to educate, inform and train, with the aim of lowering the number of road casualties across North Yorkshire.

Dave McCabe, Group Manager for York and Selby North Yorkshire Fire and Rescue Service, added, “We can advise employers on occupational road risk management but we can also talk directly to staff about road safety and the hazards of modern driving.”

Mr McCabe, who was instrumental in the service becoming a Driving for Better Business champion added, “Becoming the first fire and rescue service to join the campaign shows we have in place a highly effective road safety strategy which other services and employers can follow.

“We are trailblazing the importance of occupational road risk management. When our colleagues in other fire and rescue services see that we have joined the Driving for Better Business campaign I believe they will want to follow suit and that will raise the profile of road safety in the workplace.”

The Service’s safe driving policies and procedures covering driving in support of training activities, in support of administrative activities and driving for operational purposes include: purchasing the right vehicles and associated equipment to carry out the functions of the roles in the service; adhering to regular maintenance and service schedules; implementing safety in all activities; providing teaching and practice in defensive driving techniques; risk assessing journeys and driving styles; and undertaking regular driving review checks. Additionally, each driver has an individual profile which records their complete driving history.

Michael Parish, programme consultant for the Driving for Better Business campaign, said, “The North Yorkshire Fire and Rescue Service prides itself on the fact that its ethos is based on a system of constant analysis, of improvement and of training development. This is a lesson that all organisations can learn from as it should be the aim of every employer to reduce their at-work driving risk exposure and eliminate all incidents.

“It is vital that our business champions take their occupational road risk management expertise to other employers and help them improve their safety record. That is exactly what North Yorkshire Fire and Rescue Service is doing through its community partnership approach.

For the full press release please click here.

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