“Transport is one of the highest risk activities in the industry for gas companies and their providers of transport services,” is how Bernd Eulitz, the European Industrial Gases Association’s (EIGA) President, opened EIGA’s 2018 Winter Seminar today in Brussels, Belgium.

Every year, the industrial gas industry experiences vehicle incidents on the road. Vehicle incident investigations have shown that most of these incidents are avoidable and that the causes include a lack of training or knowledge, people’s ability to react to high risk situations, human behaviour and inadequate organisation or management processes.

Under the theme of Transport Safety, this year’s winter seminar focused on practical approaches to improving liquid bulk, package gas and homecare distribution practices, presenting state-of-the-art techniques and industry best practices.

The count of registrations was higher than years before, with more than 200 delegates from 33 countries in attendance at the event, held at the stunning Le Plaza Hotel Theatre, which Eulitz said showed transport safety was being taken very seriously.

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Session one

Rainer Wysotzki, Director of Safety, Health and Environment for Praxair Europe, said transport safety is a complex topic, and it is not only a technical issue. His presentation provided an overview of the different elements of transport safety including: the vehicle, the driver, transport management and support and quality assurance. He also revealed that driving was the number one reason for fatalities at Praxair.

The Linde Group’s Carlos Eduardo Santos described the challenges of delivering a behavioural change in transport safety from a leadership perspective. “The root or basic causes of the majority of all incidents in the industrial and medical gases industry are unsafe behaviours by people, employees, contractors, managers, not failures of plant or equipment.”

“Transport is one of the highest risk activities in our industry and causes for incidents are often attributed only to the drivers prematurely. However, unsafe driver behaviours are often the consequence of a poor safety/transport management system, lack of leadership focus and commitment and poor safety culture,” he explained.

Santos said senior management shall provide leadership, influencing others by setting examples of appropriate behaviour and/or decisions. “Only when the drivers realise the risks involved in their activities, as well as the potential injuries, will compliance become a personal commitment and will be reflected in the driver’s behaviour. Recognition is an effective way of motivating drivers to work safely and depends on their mindset and the cultural background.”

Offering a completely different viewpoint was Martin Clark, Driver Risk Manager for Tesco Maintenance. Tesco is a British multinational grocery and general merchandise retailer.

Having spent a career in road safety, Clark outlined his background to delegates, which included 22 years as a Road Safety Officer for Cheshire Police. His presentation highlighted the dangers of distracted driving and what a business can do about driver distraction. He began with the hard-hitting question, “is a phone call more important than a life?”

He outlined the three types of distraction: visual – anything that takes your eyes off the road; manual or mechanical – anything that takes your hands off the steering wheel; and cognitive – anything that takes your mind off driving; and noted that mobile phones are the most well-known distraction. “Driver safety has to be a top priority,” he concluded.

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Training and incident prevention

Opening session two, Pere Cucurella, General Manager of Carburos Via Augusta (CVA) Logistics, covered the approach CVA takes to the different elements of induction and refresher training for drivers, including recruitment and training for new drivers, theoretical and practical training and refresher training. He highlighted the benefits CVA has seen from their approach.

Up next, The Linde Group’s Elias Chowdhury discussed roll-over training and prevention identifying a roll-over as, “a vehicle crash in which a vehicle tips over onto its side or roof”. A video shown to delegates, which was released some 10 years ago, said The Linde Group experiences a major traffic incident every five days, of which more than half of these are roll-overs.

“To put it into context,” Chowdhury explained, “In Linde we drive over one billion kilometres per year. Roll-overs are a significant risk but happen for several reasons and specific targeted training is required to prevent them.”

Following the clip, and in addition to putting it into context with the number of kilometres covered annually, he stated the numbers have greatly improved.

At The Linde Group, Chowdhury said more than half of the roll-overs are single vehicle roll-overs and the main causes are inappropriate speed, distraction, lack of hazard perception and fatigue.

“The driver is the single biggest factor that can be influenced in order to minimise or eliminate roll-overs from happening. Making a change in the driver’s behaviour through adequate training is essential to preventing this type of accident from happening,” he concluded.

Jens Stadler, Technical Manager for IndustrieGaseVerband (IGV), and Dirk Vogel, Learning Supervisor and Driver Trainer for Wimmer Transportdienst and the Hoyer Group within Germany and Europe, presented the roll-over recovery training course for emergency services and gas company members that has been developed and organised by the German gases association (IGV).

In 2016, IGV’s working group for tanker technologies orgnisded a two-day training course on roll-over recovery. It was divided into a theoretical part with classroom presentations on the theory and hands-on practical training with an old air gases trailer and two appropriate cranes. The participants could position the lifting straps on themselves and give insturctions to the crane drivers for lifting and righting the trailer and afterwards ‘rolling it over’ for the next group. Experts from the gases companies and carriers assisted during the training. The feedback was so positive the course was repeated in 2017.

Rounding off the session, The Linde Group’s Stewart Edgar illustrated a progressive approach to investigating transport incidents and accidents to establish root cause, management, and process failures. His presentation then focused on developing appropriate action plans and consequence management to correct and prevent recurrence.

“Organisations need to look deeper than police do when an accident occurs. Police look for signs of breaking the law and criminal acts. Often the cause of the incident and the key to unlocking problems, learning and preventative measures lies deeper,” Edgar explained. “An operationally focused approach with an understanding of drivers, vehicles and the environment in which we operate allows the analysis of outcome and contributory factors to identify the obvious and underlying causes to incidents.”

He told delegates the use of electronic data, camera footage and gathered information helps piece together the story of the incident. Only when cause has been established can appropriate actions be identified; individual contribution be assessed and appropriate consequence management be taken.

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Driving improvement in vehicle safety

The day’s final session focused on the vehicle technologies and set-up that can help drive improvement in vehicle safety. Henar Angulo, Praxair Europe’s Bulk Distribution and Customer Service Manager, provided an overview on how the Tier One company manage the information coming from the on-board computer in a way that helps to prevent incidents. Anguolo explained to delegates that having technology installed in the entire fleet is a good way of collecting data, but this data on its own is not enough to reduce the number of incidents related to driving.

“Therefore, a system should be implemented to control the data, review KPIs and establish coaching sytems. The system is based in a scorecard that provides an overview on each driver’s behaviour, that also allows management to review trends and to understand where they should focus their attention and training,” she said.

“We want to be the safest industrial gas company in the world,” is how Graham Hall, Air Products’ European Logistics Manager, then opened his presentation. He shared Air Products’ experience of using event recording technology alongside telematics to influence behaviour.

Air Products worked in partnership with leading telematics provider and a video event recording technology provider to develop a combined system which has been implemented first in the UK and Ireland, and is now being introduced in several other European countries. The system uses traditional telematics and a video event recorder to track the driving style of the driver, then through video coaching, this data is shared with the driver to help him improve. The system also has an iPhone application that drivers can use to track their own performance. Use of this system has seen a significant improvement in driver safety.

Christian Zimmerman, Vice-President of Sales and System Engineering at Robert Bosch GmbH’s Commercial Vehicles and Off-Road unit, then outlined the technology advancement in development, their safety benefits and probable timelines for OEM production, current status and future perspectives.

Outlining the company’s ‘Path to Automated Driving’, Zimmerman said it could be as soon as 2025 that we see fully automated driving vehicles on highways with no supervision required by the driver.

Day one ended with poster session’s from various companies including Driving Simulators by Develter Innovation, Truck of the Future by Robert Bosch and Incident Investigation by The Linde Group.

Day two of EIGA’s Winter Session 2018 continues here in Belgium tomorrow. A full review of the event will be published in the upcoming March edition of gasworld magazine.