Case Study-North Yorkshire Fire & Rescue Service
||North Yorkshire Fire & Rescue Service
|Fleet Size Overall:
||60 Fire Appliances replaced at 15 years. NYFRS purchases 4 new appliances every year.
Maintained in house to CFOA Best Practice Manual.
||48 Utility vehicles (small vans; Land Rovers and medium 3000Kg vans) which are replaced at 7 years.
Maintained in house to Manufacturers' standards.
||58 cars on a 3 year Leasing Programme which includes maintenance with LEX AUTOLEASE
|Private vehicles used for business purposes:
The Fire and Rescue Services Act 2004 sets out the duties and powers of the North Yorkshire Fire Authority. An Authority must provide a Fire and Rescue Service to the standard set out in the Act in the area that they cover.
The North Yorkshire Fire and Rescue Service covers over 8,280 square kilometres, the second largest area of all the English Fire Services, encompassing the seven districts in the County of North Yorkshire and the City of York. The output of the North Yorkshire Fire and Rescue Service (NYFRS) to the community covers 3 distinct areas:
- Prevention - Prevention covers advice, education and community safety initiatives to reduce the incidence of fires, road traffic accidents and other life threatening hazards. The focus of effort is trying to stop incidents happening thereby reducing injuries and loss to the individual and community as well as reducing the cost of the emergency intervention aspects of the North Yorkshire Fire and Rescue Service's work. This work is not confined to fire related prevention and the Service works with partners on a variety of initiatives that contributes to overall community safety.
- Fire Protection - Fire Protection covers the enforcement of fire safety legislation plus statutory and non-statutory consultation concerning fire safety in buildings and workplaces. This work combines with that carried out in Prevention to create a safer environment for all, whether at work, play or in the home.
- Intervention - Intervention covers the immediate response to fire and other emergencies such as road traffic collisions, chemical spillages and flooding. Although not a legal duty, the North Yorkshire Fire and Rescue Service will respond to any potentially life threatening incident at the time of call.
The North Yorkshire Fire and Rescue Service was awarded the prestigious RoSPA Gold Award for Occupational Health and Safety for 2008. This award was based on the commitment of the North Yorkshire Fire and Rescue Service to delivering efficient management processes which ensure high standards of health and safety.
The Service understood that this commitment by its own management also delivered a better understanding of and ability to manage the risks to the people and communities of North Yorkshire for which it was responsible. The award continues to reinforce the Service's commitment to the achievement of high levels of performance in this crucial area.
It also sends a clear message that good management focussed on the economy, efficiency and effectiveness of an organisation will also deliver good health and safety standards for its employees. This is good for business.
The North Yorkshire Fire and Rescue Service plays an active role in the 95 Alive Road Safety Partnership. The aim of the Partnership is to reduce the number of people killed or seriously injured on the roads in North Yorkshire. Working from a baseline average of 1037 killed or seriously injured per year in the years 1994-1998, the Partnership agreed to work to reduce this figure by 40% by 2010. To achieve this, the Partnership carried out a full range of activities including educating children and young people at school and offering roadside advice to motorists. This has led to a reduction in those killed and seriously injured to 538 in 2009/2010, a figure just short of a 50% reduction. This success highlights the benefits of effective partnerships and the contribution of the North Yorkshire Fire and Rescue Service to its Community Safety partnership.
The commitment of the North Yorkshire Fire and Rescue Service to external partnership working is reflected internally in the Extrication Team which has progressed from a novice team to one of the top 5 teams in the United Kingdom in Fire Service rescue competitions. The Extrication Team is currently ranked 9th in the World, a remarkable achievement in the 3 years of its existence. The individuals involved in the team pass on the knowledge and skills gained in these competitions to North Yorkshire Fire and Rescue Service operational crews. This expertise enables these crews to become more effective in reducing the severity of the injuries sustained by casualties during the extrication process and increasing the chances of recovery once extrication has taken place.
Nature of Operation and Driving Activities
The North Yorkshire Fire and Rescue Service is committed to ensuring its workplace as an organisation is as safe as possible for all its personnel. That workplace could be anywhere in or adjacent to its area of operations, given the nature of the Service's obligations. Driving to incidents is one of any Fire Service's biggest risks. Getting fire fighters and support personnel to the scene of an incident safely, contributes significantly to the work they carry out once there. This, therefore, places work-related road safety high amongst those risks to be managed.
In response to the high risk nature of the service it provides and is measured upon, the North Yorkshire Fire and Rescue Service takes a robust and proactive approach to risk management. It reviews its policy and procedures constantly against current best practice. The North Yorkshire Fire and Rescue Service endeavours to keep this risk to a minimum through a strict process of reporting and of investigating vehicle accidents.
Driving activities within the North Yorkshire Fire and Rescue Service fall in to three basic categories. These are shown below and the requirements placed on all drivers will therefore vary considerably depending on the category of activity:
- Driving in support of training activities.
- Driving in support of administrative activities.
- Driving for operational purposes.
The North Yorkshire Fire and Rescue Service lays down clear policy and standard operating procedures to cover all elements of its driving activities. The standard operating procedures cover all the training requirements necessary to induct recruits and to maintain skill levels of serving personnel in detail. The standards for operational and administrative driving are also covered in detail.
A central pillar in this process is the requirement to obey the law. But drivers are also trained to understand where the special duties of the Fire Service allow flexibility within the law. All drivers are required to promote a positive attitude towards safe and good driving practices in all situations. They must also have a full understanding of current North Yorkshire Fire and Rescue Service policies and standard operating procedures.
North Yorkshire Fire and Rescue Service management is fully involved in monitoring and reviewing all driving activities. Responsibilities for all levels of supervision are clearly defined within the Service. There is an ongoing process of review to ensure that training standards are maintained and raised. This process also allows any deficiencies which are identified to be brought within the management process for resolution.
All North Yorkshire Fire and Rescue Service personnel are trained to drive and operate the vehicles and equipment to which they are assigned. The procedures for recording training, including refresher training, are clearly laid down and in outline the process for the management of drivers is as follows:
- Supervising Managers or their equivalent are required immediately to inform the Workforce Development branch of any changes to information relating to a driver for whom they are responsible. This ensures that the individual driver profile records are current.
- Middle Managers or their equivalent must maintain service level agreements for driver requirements (numbers and training standards). They are required to predict any short falls against these numbers or training requirements.
- Human Resource Station Managers (HRSM) will provide information on their driver training requirements as part of the training need analysis for each Fire Service District.
- Each Community Risk and Transport Department will provide information to the Workforce Development training team on new purchases, transfers of vehicles and on the driver training requirements / implications for each year.
The management of risk to personnel within the North Yorkshire Fire and Rescue Service is based on leadership from the top through all levels of management. It is based on a culture which encourages inquisitiveness and challenges the status quo. It reinforces the aspiration and desire to set and maintain best practice. It encourages a thorough and open investigative process for all incidents.
This ethos is echoed in the following statement from Chief Fire Officer Nigel Hutchinson;
"My statement of general policy on behalf of the North Yorkshire Fire & Rescue Authority is that I will put in place arrangements that will:
- Provide adequate control of the health and safety risks arising from our work activities;
- Consult with our employees on matters affecting their health and safety;
- Provide and maintain safe plant and equipment;
- Ensure safe handling and use of substances;
- Provide information, instruction and supervision for employees;
- Ensure all employees are competent to do their tasks, and to give them adequate training;
- Prevent accidents and cases of work-related ill health;
- Maintain safe and healthy working conditions;
- Review and revise this policy as necessary at regular intervals."
Chief Fire Officer
The Health and Safety Committee is chaired by the Assistant Chief Fire Officer (ACFO) of North Yorkshire Fire and Rescue Service. The role of the ACFO in this committee underpins the leadership and commitment of top level management to developing an organisation committed to the highest standards of performance in all elements of its operations and activities. These include health and safety.
The Health and Safety Committee consists of department heads and health and safety representatives from the representative bodies. Any and all accident trends can be discussed. The purpose of the committee is to identify safety issues which need resolution and to develop a joint approach to manage particular accident reduction strategies.
Both personal and vehicle accident statistics are shared with other regional Fire Service partners (South Yorkshire, West Yorkshire and Humberside Fire Services) and discussed at quarterly regional health and safety meetings. The North Yorkshire Fire and Rescue Service is also duty bound to report these statistics to the Communities and Local Government Authorities (CLG).
At these regional meetings the Fire Services share best practice and discuss joint approaches to any new external guidance. Guidance can also come from within the Fire Services, for instance from the Chief Fire Officers Association (CFOA) which has a committee dedicated to health and safety. An example of this type of guidance covers an issue such as "Blue Light" driving by personnel with diabetes . CFOA is to issue further guidance on this subject.
Work Related Road Safety Policy & Procedures
The North Yorkshire Fire and Rescue Service Health and Safety at Work policy includes a section which lays down its policy for all aspects of driving. The Driving Policy focuses on the management of risk and its implementation is a key activity for North Yorkshire Fire and Rescue Service drivers, supervisors, middle and strategic managers.
The North Yorkshire Fire and Rescue Service is committed to raising awareness of and creating a safety culture in all occupational road risk situations by:
- 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.
- Undertaking regular driving review checks.
The Head of the Workforce Development Branch is responsible for ensuring that the Driver Training Policy meets current legislation and National Occupational Standards.
Responsibilities of Drivers
The North Yorkshire Fire and Rescue Service Driving Policy applies to all personnel who are required to drive its vehicles or lease vehicles as part of their role. This policy also applies to personnel who use their own vehicle to travel, when engaged on Service business during normal or response conditions, although this is a very rare event. All such personnel must have received training to standards determined by legislation or by the North Yorkshire Fire and Rescue Service competence requirements prior to driving.
All North Yorkshire Fire and Rescue Service drivers are to drive safely while carrying out driving duties. They are to operate within the guidelines and requirements laid down within the Road Traffic Act, its associated legislation, the National Occupational Standards and the North Yorkshire Fire and Rescue Service Policies and Procedures.
Education and Training
The North Yorkshire Fire and Rescue Service has a legal duty to ensure that all employees who are required to drive its vehicles or lease vehicles as part of their role hold the relevant category on their driving licence. In addition, the Service ensures that they are competent to drive the associated vehicle under current legislation.
The North Yorkshire Fire and Rescue Service is committed to raising and maintaining the standards of driving skills and safety awareness of its members through education and training. By adherence to procedures developed through experience and on the basis of best practice, it aims to reduce the risks faced by its members in the course of their duties.
As part of the induction process to the North Yorkshire Fire and Rescue Service, all personnel required to drive a "Blue Light" vehicle as part of their role undergo a "Blue Light" vehicle driving assessment. A requirement of this assessment is that personnel produce their driving licence for examination and recording. Further details on the licence checking process are given below.
Training for individuals to drive North Yorkshire Fire and Rescue Service vehicles and to use trailers and associated equipment is provided or sourced by the Workforce Development Branch.
The Workforce Development Branch carries out Quinquennial Driving Review checks on all North Yorkshire Fire and Rescue Service personnel. All Large Goods Vehicle (LGV) and Emergency Fire Appliance Driving (EFAD) Instructors are registered to the Driving Standards Agency (DSA) voluntary register for LGV instructors. North Yorkshire Fire and Rescue Service EFAD Instructors take an advanced test of driving ability and register with the Institute of Advanced Motorists (IAM) after attending the EFAD instructor course. They are also part of the DSA Approved Driving Instructor (ADI) register for car instruction.
All car instruction must be carried out by a qualified ADI or an instructor in the process of registration. This requirement is for category B vehicles only. Where instruction is given for B&E vehicles or during a car assessment, the ADI qualification is not required. Special vehicle driving skills are maintained under the competency based training system. Where necessary, a watch based instructor will facilitate on watch training.
The Workforce Development Branch produces an annual driver training programme for courses requested which commences on 01 January. The programme also allows for urgent training requirements which may not have been foreseen. The Workforce Development Branch actively monitors the outcomes of courses and assessments and amends the proficiency criteria as required to meet the needs of the North Yorkshire Fire and Rescue Service.
The process for training is given in the schematic below.
Schematic 1 - Driver Training Flow Chart
The North Yorkshire Fire and Rescue Service process for checking driving licences is as follows. Each licence is checked by a North Yorkshire Fire and Rescue Service driving instructor. Details of the licence are recorded onto a separate form and this is placed in the driver's "Driver Profile" which records all the driving history for each individual. The driver's details are also entered into a database which shows when the last licence check was completed.
Driving licences are then checked each year. At the moment this is done by North Yorkshire Fire and Rescue Service driving instructors, but this process will in future be completed by a manager. All drivers attending driving courses throughout the year are also required to produce their licences as an additional check.
The North Yorkshire Fire and Rescue Service also contacts DVLA to verify a driver's licence if any queries arise. This is not used too often as the procedures work.
Below is an extract from the Service's Standard Operating Procedures with regard to licence checking which ensures that drivers are aware of their own responsibilities in regard to driving licences.
1.43 "A driver will be required to provide evidence of competency when requested.
1.44 Individuals have a responsibility to notify their line manager and workforce development of any change of circumstance in relation to their driving licence. This should include additions of classes, restrictions, fixed penalty points, disqualification and renewal.
1.45 It is an offence to cause death by driving whilst unlicensed, disqualified or uninsured under the Road Traffic Act 1988 section 3ZB. This states:
A person is guilty of an offence under this section if he/she causes the death of another person by driving a motor vehicle on a road and, at the time when he/she is driving, the circumstances are such that he is committing an offence under -
- driving otherwise than in accordance with a licence
- driving while disqualified
- using a motor vehicle while uninsured or unsecured against third party risk.
1.46 At the commencement of all assessments, training or when required by the Workforce Development Branch, personnel will produce their licence for inspection as a check of validation to drive NYFRS vehicles or lease vehicles. Failure to do so may result in the training or assessment being cancelled or the driver being taken off driving duties until such time when licence details have been confirmed with the DVLA."
Work Related Road Safety Guidance for Drivers
The North Yorkshire Fire and Rescue Service defines the responsibilities of its drivers very clearly. The Service is keen to fulfil its Duty of Care responsibilities under Sections 2 and 3 Occupational Road Risk - Health and Safety at Work Act; other legislation including the Road Traffic Acts and Regulations; and the advice given in the Highway Code.
A driver must not drive an unfamiliar vehicle until vehicle familiarisation has been received. This will identify technical information and the location, use and function of all driving controls. On completion of the vehicle familiarisation the driver must drive the vehicle with caution to gain knowledge and understanding of the vehicle's handling characteristics. This programme covers:
- Pool Cars/Light vans - The trainee is directed to read and understand the manufacturer's handbook on first use.
- Flexible Duty System (FDS) Cars - The trainee is given a familiarisation briefing on delivery and is directed to read and understand the manufacturer's handbook on first use.
- Medium/Large vehicles (above 3500kgs Gross Vehicle Weight) - Familiarisation training for the trainee is delivered by a driver training instructor and the trainee is directed to read and understand the manufacturer's handbook on first use. When a driver is required to drive a Medium/Large vehicle and previous competence has been shown, only reference to the manufacturer's handbook will be required. Medium/Large size vehicle drivers must be accompanied by a driving instructor during the initial drive to ensure the driver demonstrates an understanding of vehicle length, size, width, wheel base, handling characteristic and limitations.
All North Yorkshire Fire and Rescue Service drivers have a responsibility to ensure that any vehicle to be driven is in a legal and roadworthy condition prior to use. Drivers must always carry out pre-journey safety checks in accordance with the Vehicle Routine Maintenance Checks - Standard Operating Procedure. The driver of the vehicle being used will record in the appropriate recording system (Vehicle Log Book) that a vehicle check has been completed prior to use.
Where a vehicle is likely to be used at short notice under response conditions with time being of the essence, checks will be carried out during:
- Change of shift
- Commencement of duty
- Community fire station drill day/night
On return to station all necessary checks and replenishments must be made in order to maintain operational effectiveness.
If a North Yorkshire Fire and Rescue Service or lease vehicle is legally non-compliant, or unroadworthy and has a defect which may contribute to a dangerous occurrence or injury, the vehicle must be taken off the road until such a time when repairs can be carried out or the problem has been rectified. All defects must be reported and recorded through the appropriate channels and entered in the Vehicle Log Book in accordance with Transport Policy and Procedures.
A member of the Service driving their own vehicle when engaged on North Yorkshire Fire and Rescue Service business must adhere to the Own Vehicle Standard Operating Procedure.
A driver must only drive a vehicle for the purpose for which it has been designed. He must not carry loads which will affect the safe handling of the vehicle or pose a potential danger to the occupants or to other road users.
Specific Examples of Procedures
Driver Competences and Behaviour
See the extract below covering the response to incidents:
"NYFRS Driving Policy - Proceeding at speed to incidents - Appendix 3:
All vehicles must not be driven in a manner that is careless, reckless or dangerous endangering the safety of the driver, passengers, other road users or animals. The driver of the vehicle must drive within their own capabilities and that of the vehicle being driven with emphasis being on arriving at their destination safely with no injuries being incurred and no damage to the vehicle.
Drivers must DRIVE TO ARRIVE in all situations.
You are in a privileged position when driving to or from incidents and assume a role of enormous responsibility. Never abuse the exemptions. The fact that you may be responding to an incident call does not mean that there is an automatic right to claim an exemption. You, the driver, must always be able to justify the need for the exemption. Flexi-duty officers must restrain from the need for speed when an appropriate level of command is already in attendance at an incident. They should attend as Phase 2 unless there is not an appropriate level of control where Phase 3 should be applied. None urgent calls should be attended as Phase 1 describes.
Use of Private Vehicles and the Vehicle Leasing Scheme
The North Yorkshire Fire and Rescue Service has introduced a Vehicle Leasing Scheme to replace the use of private vehicles for official purposes. This scheme is also available to those officers who are currently provided with a duty vehicle under the Provided Car Scheme. The scheme leases vehicles on a 3 year lease from a lease firm which retains ownership of the vehicles. Employees who participate in the scheme receive a fuel allowance for business usage paid monthly at a rate revised in line with the National Joint Council for Local Government Services fuel cost index.
The North Yorkshire Fire and Rescue Service pays for the lease of the vehicle, which includes the maintenance, road fund licence, breakdown recovery and repair costs (other than neglect or abuse or accident damage as a result of negligence of the user). The North Yorkshire Fire and Rescue Service makes a fixed contribution per year and the user pays the balance between this contribution and the basic cost of the lease. The user is subject to an additional personal taxation liability.
The North Yorkshire Fire and Rescue Service stipulates certain safety standards as a minimum (airbag and ABS), as well as ensuring that the vehicles selected conform to its environmental policy. The leasing charges take in to account the Service's requirements for business mileage. The Leasing Company provides maintenance and servicing to an agreed standard. Insurance cover for the vehicle is provided by the North Yorkshire Fire and Rescue Service.
Auditing and Review
The North Yorkshire Fire and Rescue Service has a good record in road safety. A key element in maintaining this record is the meticulous analysis of all situations which might increase the risk of an incident and the identification of Lessons Learned from them.
All vehicle accidents and near misses are investigated by the Health and Safety Unit (HSU), Transport and the Workforce Development Branch in accordance with the brigade accident investigation policy. As a result of these investigations, procedures and individual performance standards are reviewed with the aim of improving safety output. In the event of a failure of individual standards, re-assessment leading to further development training is a possible solution. Where procedures need to be changed or improved, this is done immediately.
The North Yorkshire Fire and Rescue Service has developed a safety culture in which accident reporting is seen as a norm.
Personnel are encouraged to report all incidents affecting personnel and equipment as well as any process or procedure which might lead to an incident. The North Yorkshire Fire and Rescue Service also encourages "Near-Miss" reporting and Causes for Concern (CFC) which are actively managed through the dedicated Health and Safety Unit (HSU).
Vehicle accidents are reported and managed in the same way as personal accidents. As a result, the reporting system provides information on a wide variety of vehicle incidents, including the slightest of damage which might result from a minor collision. This process allows the Health and Safety and Driver Training staff to analyze these incidents; to identify and draw lessons; and to implement a training process which prepares staff to drive safely.
All these incidents are reported to the HSU which prioritises, manages and monitors the outcomes. A bi-monthly report on accidents, both personal and vehicle, is compiled by HSU and presented to the Health and Safety Committee. The process this committee follows has been explained above.
In the 4th Quarter of Financial Year 2009-2010, the North Yorkshire Fire and Rescue Service received 10 vehicle-related incident reports in comparison with 20 for the same period in 2009. Given the unusually bad weather conditions in early 2010, the Service believes that this reduction in the number of accidents stemmed from the management processes put in place to address the issue of driving in snow and ice. Of the 10 incidents, 6 were reportable to CLG and one resulted in slight injury to a Service driver. One incident caused moderate damage to both vehicles involved.
The North Yorkshire Fire and Rescue Service accident and incident rating is low. It is, therefore, difficult to demonstrate continual improvement by examining statistics and performance figures alone. In order to demonstrate the Service's proactive approach the North Yorkshire Fire and Rescue Service looks to review and improve its management systems.
In order to satisfy its insurers, the North Yorkshire Fire and Rescue Service attends claims meetings every six months where the actual costs of accidents are quantified and the strategies introduced to reduce accidents are appraised. This effective and continuous working relationship with its insurers allows the North Yorkshire Fire and Rescue Service to keep its insurance premiums to the minimum.
Financial and Other Benefits
The North Yorkshire Fire and Rescue Service is committed to achieving best value for money in managing the resources which it is allocated.
Given the relatively length replacement cycle for its vehicles, the North Yorkshire Fire and Rescue Service delivers this commitment through its strict maintenance procedures and its avoidance of unnecessary damage. Its performance is subject to continually scrutiny within the existing processes for governance.
As a result of its performance against these criteria, the North Yorkshire Fire and Rescue Service enjoys an excellent reputation for the economical use and husbandry of its equipment.
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. Lessons are learned from every incident in which the North Yorkshire Fire and Rescue Service is involved.
These lessons are carried thorough into amendments to policies, management processes and Standard Operating Procedures. The Standard Operating Procedures, in particular, are a summary of best practice. An example is given below:
Reversing Fire Service vehicles is the driving manoeuvre most likely to lead to an accident. To assist in eliminating this risk a series of simple procedures clarifying responsibilities and signals has been devised. On all occasions when a Marshall is being used the following signals should be used by the Marshall and the driver of the vehicle must have an understanding of their meaning.
Current and Future Developments
The North Yorkshire Fire and Rescue Service is keen to review all aspects of the way in which it uses its vehicles.
Consideration is being given to a review of processes which might contribute to the reduction of business mileage and may lessen the impact that the service has on the environment. For example the Service is actively engaged in:
- Reducing business mileage by 10%. The processes under review include considering how the use of video and tele-conferencing might eliminate the need to travel to meetings.
- Changing the way the service delivers both technical and community fire safety by using smaller vehicles that use less fuel than a traditional appliance.
- Bringing about environmental benefits by encouraging cycle to work schemes within the Service. Twice a year the North Yorkshire Fire and Rescue Service offers its personnel the ability to save over 40% against the cost of a new bicycle.
- Introducing incentives to encourage personnel to purchase greener vehicles under the Vehicle Leasing Scheme.
- Identifying schemes for car sharing/pooling tied in to discount schemes offering tyre and maintenance checks which might bring considerable safety benefits to its personnel.
The North Yorkshire Fire and Rescue Service has provided the references listed below to RoadSafe.
- North Yorkshire Fire and Rescue Service - Integrated Risk Management Plan 2005-2010.
- North Yorkshire Fire and Rescue Service - Driving Policy Framework.
- North Yorkshire Fire and Rescue Service - Driving Management Procedure.
- North Yorkshire Fire and Rescue Service Driving Policy Framework - Trailer Coupling/Uncoupling.
- North Yorkshire Fire and Rescue Service - Vehicle Leasing Scheme.
- North Yorkshire Fire and Rescue Service - Standard Operating Procedure - High Speed Driving and Emergency Response Driving whilst attending Training/Incidents.
- Health and Safety Unit Statistics 4th Quarter 2009-2010.
- NE FRS Management of Occupation Road Risk (MoRR) Policy - Draft.
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