Managing Road Risk at Work – Case Study: Iron Mountain

  • June 23, 2014

Case study: Iron Mountain

ETSC’s PRAISE project addresses the safety aspects of driving at work and driving to work. Its aim is to promote best practice in order to help employers secure high road safety standards for their employees.

In this interview, Rory Morgan, National Logistics General Manager for Iron Mountain, a global information storage and management company, explains how investing in road safety management has brought major business benefits.

[divider type=”line”]


Company: Iron Mountain

Sector: Information storage and management

Fleet: 500 vehicles across Western European operations: vans; HGVs; articulated trailers; specialised vehicles for containers, bins and moving floors and compactors.

[divider type=”line”]

How are safety decisions taken at Iron Mountain?

We have a Fleet Safety Forum made up of transport specialists, risk managers, health and safety representatives, driver trainers, drivers and senior management. We have a fleet safety policy that under-pins our safety decisions.

Can you provide some figures tracking the improvements in your safety performance over the years? What are the trends or changes you can identify?

Since 2008 we have reduced vehicle incidents by 74%. A reduction in own damage and third party costs of 60%. Insurance premiums have been reduced in three of the last four years with 14%, 8% and 9% reductions respectively. The only year where there wasn’t a reduction the premium remained static.

Do you consider that there is a solid business case for Iron Mountain to invest in road safety?

Yes, we have worked very closely with our insurers and used best practice to reduce risk and of course reap the cost benefits from those initiatives.

We took the business decision to install a Driver Behavior Telematics System across our UK and Ireland fleets in 2011. The system reports on various aspects of driving behavior including; acceleration, braking, cornering, lane handling and speeding. There are over 100 different vehicle movements being captured by the system based on severity. The driver sees real time alerts in the cab via a small green, yellow and red display. The objective is to remain in the green during the drive. Incidents or violations are recorded and a report for the driver provided via a web based link for the manager to debrief with the driver. The scoring method is to aim to score below 20 which will suggest a ‘safer’ drive. 21-50 is Yellow and over 50 is red. We considered that <20 was too easy a target as our drivers had received one-to-one training and were very professional, so we created a target of <10. We have 99% of our drivers consistently achieving this target and we have seen excellent benefits in safety and reduced risk.

Our business plan delivered a return on investment within 8 months. We have now installed systems across the rest of Western Europe. Our telematics supplier informs us that we record the best results worldwide. We have also invested in five dedicated driver trainers across the UK and Ireland.

How do you maintain and evaluate progress in road safety?

We hold weekly conference calls to discuss and evaluate daily and weekly reports from our telematics supplier, our risk management team (vehicle incidents) and operational managers. We have numerous key performance indicators related to reducing risk, such as telematics scores and speed. We have personal objectives tied into our bonus scheme to reduce risk and each of the five dedicated driver trainers are tasked with incident reduction within their regions.

We introduced a ‘speed by speed zone’ daily report for all of our UK and Ireland vehicles, which reports any violation of more than 4 miles per hour above any posted limit. For example 35 in a 30, 45 in a 40 etc. We have worked with drivers to reduce the number of violations and within 6 months have reduced it by over 80%. We now average less than one violation per week, per vehicle. Given that we cover circa 200,000 miles per week we think this is a phenomenal effort by the drivers. Coincidentally our on time delivery service KPI of 99.97% has not been affected by the initiative. The drivers now realize that they don’t have to speed to get the job done and consequently feel more relaxed.

What would you say are the main drivers/reasons for your company’s effort in road safety?

Duty of care is very high on our agenda, and we have full support from the senior executive. We were experiencing high levels of vehicle incidents and had little process to manage the situation pre 2008. By working with our insurers and introducing processes and procedures along with several initiatives we have reduced incidents and subsequent costs significantly in the years since. We do not however feel we are finished and are constantly striving to reduce risk further.

We now have a ‘Driver Risk Profile’ for each of our fleet drivers and the driver trainers are tasked to reduce the scores collectively. The profile includes many areas of road safety; driving licence history, vehicle incident history, Telemetry scores are fed into the system, tachograph and road traffic violations along with on-line and in-cab driving assessments.

In your experience what are the main priorities for work-related road safety at Iron Mountain?

To reduce risk and ensure that our employees are working in the safest possible working environment. We provide a premium service to our clients but not forsaking safety.

How was the safety of employees considered in Iron Mountain when you started your program?

Initially we were aware that our costs were high and that we could reduce these significantly by introducing basic initiatives. As we have progressed and invested more we have seen further benefits. How did it change after the introduction of the management of road safety? Initially, as with all change management, we had to work hard, but over time these initiatives have become second nature. We use performance indicators and continual development to measure progress and help us to reduce risk and subsequent cost.

The Business Case

Have you calculated or do you have an idea of the financial costs/benefits that have resulted or will result from your approach to safety in work areas?

Yes, we have seen huge cost reductions in own and third-party damage reducing annual costs by over £200k p.a., and lowering subsequent insurance premiums. On top of those savings, we have seen significant fuel savings that represent circa 7% improvement on fuel efficiency as defensive driving directly correlates to fuel efficient driving. We have also seen maintenance costs reduced by 4.5% in the first years’ initiatives but increase to over 30% since the telemetry was installed, as the vehicles are driven more considerately. There are other un-quantifiable cost savings through service and reputation. We have been awarded several road safety awards over the last few years based on our initiatives and subsequent results.

What are the main drivers/reasons for your company’s efforts in road safety? What are the biggest benefits? 

In terms of competiveness, duty of care and risk reduction were the main drivers for us. The investment and other initiatives were collated into business plans based on safety. The plan included close liaison and advice from our insurers and consisted of a project group to identify best opportunities by implementing best practice and exploring various initiatives. The plan was and is continually reviewed, with further opportunities then discussed and explored. Our customers often ask what we are doing regarding road safety management along with sustainability. We are very pleased to be able to demonstrate and share our approach. We are only too glad to assist other companies to work on their risk reduction and happy to share initiatives and ideas.

Under the business case to invest in road safety how would you rate the importance of organisational efficiency?

As previously stated we have a fantastic speed by speed zone reporting mechanism that endorses the fact that you don’t have to speed to get the job done. Our routes are arranged through a routing package and set to precise parameters taking into account road speeds and time required at each client location.  The drivers know that by driving within the posted speed limits they will comply not only with road legislation but also the planned route.

What is the business case for managing the key risks: speed and fatigue? Have you tried to calculate them?

As previously described we manage speed not only from a top speed view (all vehicles are restricted – vans to 70 MPH and >3.5t to 56 MPH), but also by posted limit.  We have a driver handbook that is issued daily to drivers and has a section on driver well-being. We also use the handbook for regular communiques (hence the daily issue) that provides updates and refreshers on various aspects of driving.

How can vehicle procurement and maintenance contribute to the business case and safety?

We work closely with our vehicle lease providers on the specifications of the fleet. We hold regular meetings and reviews with the post OEM body builders and invite drivers along to discuss with their fitters the best options for vehicle safety and security. Simple things like where to position a grab handle can be very important to the driver.

Do you have a CSR programme? If yes, is your road safety policy rooted in your CSR programme?

We do, and our Fleet Safety Policy is included.

Are you involved in national level Work Related Road Safety forums? How can they help?

Yes, we are accredited to the FTA Van Excellence scheme in the UK and Ireland and were the first company to be accredited a few years ago. I attend the Van Excellence Governance Group and have done since its conception. I have recently been elected chairman for the group for the next two years. We also have accreditation with Transport for London’s ‘Freight Operators Recognition scheme’ and have accreditation to deliver our in-house Driver CPC courses in the UK. I am regularly asked by several organisations to present case studies on our road safety ‘journey’. These range from conferences held by our insurers through to large transport/fleet journals seminars and congresses (Fleet News for example). We are always looking for best practice opportunities.

What lessons have you learned and what would you advise the other employers in terms of managing the business case internally and externally?

The basics are relatively easy and not cost or resource prohibitive. Work on getting the fundamentals right first and see the benefits before increasing investment. If you do decide to invest in driver behavior telemetry, do NOT consider it a ‘silver bullet’, you have to adjust based on the information delivered to manage and increase benefits. The system will solve all ills on its own and employers have to learn to use and work with the data reported.

Risk Assessment and Monitoring

Is responsibility for developing and implementing a road safety programme clearly defined within your company? Please provide details in relation to who is responsible, including how top management (including CEO) is involved as appropriate.

We have been supported by the Senior Executive right from the start and Road Safety is high on the agenda. We have a Fleet Safety Policy which underpins everything we do regarding risk reduction and road safety initiatives. We also have a suite of global standards and policies that support the main safety policy.

Do you collect data for monitoring and evaluating the organizations work-related road safety and if so, what does this involve?

Yes, as previously detailed, we use all the reports we can and build collated reports for monitoring and targeting areas.

Looking ahead

Will you consider being accredited to the upcoming ISO39001 certificate on road safety management?

We have explored the certificate and have attended an introductory course held by British Standards Institute. So yes, we have it on the agenda for 2014.

Will you expand your programme in the future?

We have spent much of 2013 migrating many of the processes and procedures from the UK and Ireland into our operations on mainland Europe.

Download (PDF)