Over the past few years, there has been much focus in the UK and Europe alike on vulnerable road users, mainly cyclists because of the disproportionate amount of deaths and severe injuries to them when they come into contact with a large goods vehicle.
It could be true to say that irresponsible behaviour and lack of knowledge on the part of the cyclist is to blame, but in fact, no matter what the case, a cyclist has never killed a truck driver, but the converse often applies. In the Netherlands for example, much of the cycle network is segregated from cars and trucks alike, but in the UK, except for Motorways the congested highways are shared by all, and many cyclists disobey even the most fundamental rules, but as a responsible operator it is our duty to protect the public.
As a result of this, organisations from all sides got together and brought about the Fleet Operator Recognition Scheme (FORS).
Basically many organisations including Nijman/Zeetank operated to a certain standard but none of them were universally recognised, which is the main reason why FORS accreditation came about. Many city councils will not even consider companies which are not FORS registered and the same goes for individual companies.
From a physical point of view this means the vehicles need to be fitted with appropriate mirrors, signage and side underrun protection, whilst from a company point of view compliance and training have to be undertaken and documented in the correct way. As a responsible operator working to the OPCOM gold standard for the past fourteen years, our transition was not too difficult having spent hours training our drivers but also following up that training.
Although none of our customers has yet demanded that we operate to FORS standards, we are ready for when the need arises.