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Graham Hurdle's blog: 3 June 2014 - Lower bird droppings and the incidence of accidents

Date: 03 June 2014

Graham Hurdle is managing director of E-Training World

I recently heard a great story about excessive wear on the US's Lincoln Memorial from all the cleaning it was getting due to bird droppings.  

After trying different cleaners and brushes someone thought it might be better to keep the birds out, so they put up nets. However, tourists complained that the nets spoilt the attraction. 

So they went one step further and asked: "Why do we have so many birds?" After studying it they determined it was because of the insects that swarmed the monument in the evenings.

They tried different types of insecticides but nothing seemed to work for long. 

So they asked: "Why do we have so many insects?" They determined the bright lights that illuminated the monument in the evenings were drawing the insects.

By turning on the lights one hour later they could eliminate over 90% of the insects and the resulting bird droppings.

Now let me give you an example of a firm that runs a fleet of vehicles making multiple deliveries.

This company is growing quickly but, unfortunately, so are its accident rates. To combat this, they employ the services of a driver trainer - but the accident rate doesn't reduce.

Most accidents occur within a mile of the depot and early in the morning. The number of vehicles and drivers has also trebled, yet the number of loading bays hasn't changed.

Drivers are arriving in the morning, loading their vehicles and, to avoid holding up their colleagues, are moving away from their bay before they have sorted their delivery notes.

They are then trying to do some paperwork while driving, thereby losing concentration.

So, just like the problem with excessive wear on the Lincoln Memorial, it's vital to always get to the 'true' cause of the problem and not just focus on driver ability. So.

1) speak to your insurance company, because they should have the data and knowledge to help you identify risks

2) speak also to your drivers and listen to what they say - they will probably have most of the answers

3) ask drivers to write a statement of why an accident happened and how they think it could have been avoided, then discuss the accident with the driver

4) look at recent changes in the business and ask yourself if anything could be linked to
driver behaviour while out on
the road.

By doing so you may find the answer is simple, and some of the simplest answers can cost a lot less money - a bit like turning the lights off at the Lincoln Memorial, rather than wasting thousands on cleaning bills for bird droppings!

 


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