If you work in the construction industry, you’ll almost certainly be familiar with CLOCS – a scheme that had its origins in a 2013 report by the Transport Research Laboratory, Construction Logistics and Cyclist Safety.
The report had major implications for the construction industry as it found that:
- Blind spots on construction vehicles could be larger than on general haulage vehicles
- While site safety was generally good, road safety did not meet the same standards
- There was little understanding of the impact of construction traffic on road safety
The role of HGVs, their drivers and operators in improving the safety of cyclists and other vulnerable road users has been a hot political issue in recent years. It’s little wonder when you consider these statistics relating to London alone:
- HGVs are responsible for less than 4% of miles driven
- 78% of cyclist fatalities in 2015 involved an HGV
- 20% of pedestrian fatalities in 2015 involved an HGV.
CLOCS is designed to address these worrying statistics by creating a unified standard for construction logistics – back in 2013, there were 11 industry standards, causing confusion for contractors, clients, logistics operators, regulators and vehicle manufacturers alike. What’s more, 85% of the industry wanted a single common standard.
‘The Perfect Storm’ that leads to construction compliance: is your city next?
CLOCS is already being used across over 5,000 sites, with over 350 member companies. Their vision is for it to be implemented nationwide and if your city meets the factors described by Derek Rees, SECBE Chief Executive and CLOCS Project Director as ‘The Perfect Storm’, then it is likely your company may need to comply – or find itself closed off from contracts.
“The population continues to grow and we need more housing, schools, hospitals and infrastructure. We’re seeing a five-fold increase in cycling and walking, plus a growth in construction work – and that has seen more accidents happen. But even though this modal shift is happening, the CLOCS National Standard is having an effect – accidents are reducing slightly even though construction activity has increased.
Councils therefore begin to adopt CLOCS as a way to reduce traffic congestion and emissions, and the accompanying safety issues that these present. Cambridgeshire County Council adopted CLOCS a couple of years ago and we anticipate that Greater Manchester is likely to follow suit.”
Derek Rees, SECBE Chief Executive and CLOCS Project Director
The commercial benefits of CLOCS
As we have seen, local authorities are increasingly insisting that construction firms meet CLOCS standards if they are to work on construction sites, and many developers are also insisting on the same. Gate checks have already seen non-CLOCS compliant vehicles turned away.
Membership of CLOCS can therefore assist with winning new contracts. Here are some of the other benefits it brings:
- Reduced insurance premiums. Tarmac in Manchester gained a 10%-15% reduction in its fleet insurance bill, which helped it recover investment in the right vehicles and skilled drivers.
- Reputational advantages. Safer operation means fewer accidents, and therefore less likelihood that your company receives negative publicity.
- Potential to reduce theft of fuel and load – thanks to more secure vehicles
- Potential to assist accident investigations and counter fraudulent insurance claims – due to better monitoring technology.
How CLOCS addresses safety issues in construction
CLOCS currently has three workstreams, which can be summarised as:
- Improving vehicle safety – both for existing vehicles and the design of new vehicles, particularly by reducing blind spots, installing blind-spot cameras and proximity sensors, plus better safety equipment.
- Addressing the safety imbalance – by ensuring road safety is recognised as being equal to construction site safety
- Encouraging wider adoption of best practice – by helping organisations keep up to date with the latest standards and procedures relating to road safety.
You can read more about CLOCS’s workstreams on its website – and we’ll be looking at them in more detail in a future post – but as you can see, companies will need to invest in the correct vehicle safety technology, along with driver training and other initiatives.
These investments may pay for themselves in organisations of a certain size. However, it still requires upfront capital investment and smaller companies may take longer to recoup their initial investment.
For that reason, many firms are turning to flexible hire to ensure they have the latest, safest vehicles that keep them compliant, keep costs low and manageable, and ensure they continue to win contracts under the new standards regime.
Find out more about the importance of sourcing compliant vehicles and the consequences of failing to do so with our guide: 'Why fleet compliance should be a top business priority'