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The Zero Incident Project


Suckling Transport has specialised in the provision of petroleum tanker haulage services since 1987. It operates 63 road tanker vehicles and employs 168 LGV tanker drivers at 11 operating centres in the UK and delivers around two billion litres of inflammable liquid per year. Customers include Shell, Phillips 66, GB Oils, Greenergy and Murco Petroleum.

The Company has a strong safety culture. It is registered to ISO9001:2008 and was the first UK firm to register to BS EN 12798, a European Standard that refers specifically to the transport of dangerous goods by road. It is also a Silver Level member of FORS.

The Freight Transport Association rates Suckling Transport’s performance on driver compliance ten times better than the national or sector average. VOSA rates the Company’s driver compliance in the top 10% of all truck operators in the UK.

In December 2008, Suckling Transport became a signatory to the European Road Safety Charter and identified the measures it intended to take to fulfill its commitment to reduce deaths on the road by at least 50%.



Suckling Transport launched its Zero Incident Project in June 2008 with the objective of eliminating road accidents completely. To achieve zero we adopted a four-phase approach:

  • Interrogate and audit our safety systems, policies and procedures
  • Identify technological developments and other improvements that could reduce accidents.
  • Improve near miss and potential incident reporting by the workforce.
  • Improve Journey Management controls and driver training arrangements.

The Company’s safety systems were subjected to audits by five major oil companies - Shell, Total, Phillips 66, Exxon Mobil and BP - to ensure its policies and procedures met the most stringent requirements.  Audits by Shell, Phillips 66 and ISO accreditation body WQA continue annually.

The workforce was consulted and a ‘fitness to drive’ process was put in place, including random and with cause drugs and alcohol tests, return to work procedures and we increased the frequency of driver medicals.

Staff formed focus groups and conducted cold case reviews of past accidents, enlisting the help of suppliers to identify any new technology that could have prevented those incidents.  Fourteen separate initiatives were launched to test items such as object sensors on vehicles, reversing aids and a lane departure warning system.  These Focus Groups have become an integral part of our safety improvement programme.

Because every accident, near miss, or potential incident is an opportunity to improve safety, drivers are incentivised and encouraged to produce potential incident and near miss reports in order to identify risks before accidents occurred. In 2012 748 such reports were submitted.  This recognises that, when the Company achieves zero incidents, the only way to maintain that status will be to prevent accidents through near miss and potential incident investigations.

Journey management procedures were improved. The Freight Transport Association analyse the Company’s tachograph records  but Suckling Transport decided to go beyond the legislative requirements by checking records to ensure that drivers were complying with local speeding restrictions and were not recording their rest breaks whilst delivering.  Accident black spot maps were provided at each Operating Centre and full Site Route Risk Assessments (SRRA) were conducted for each delivery location.  A list of Safe Havens was produced for each operating centre, which identified safe parking areas for drivers.


Vehicles are fitted with on-board computers which produce reports to identify any driving skills shortages in the workforce.Periodic driving skills assessments were largely replaced with targeted, intervention training.

Six drivers were selected as our Instructor Team.  They received intensive training from a U.S. Instructor in the Smiths System of defensive driver training. They were equipped with laptops and given access to the reports produced by the vehicle telematics.

In July 2009, the Company launched its 1mKm Challenge. Teams nominated their chosen charities and these received a donation each time a team completed one million kilometers without an accident of any kind.


Impact & Benefits

As a result of the Zero Incident Project, the severity of accidents fell by 76% in 2009 and the frequency of accidents fell from an average of 6.12 accident per one million kilometres of the previous four years to 2.88 in 2009.

The project-based management style of Suckling Transport has created award-winning initiatives like the Eco Guardian Project and TankShare. The Zero Incident Project will, we believe be recognised in the same way, as a route map towards eliminating vehicle accidents.

The initiative received the recognition of safety organization Brake, when Peter Larner received the Road Risk Manager of the Year Award in 2009. In November 2009, Suckling Transport then became the first transport company to win the Energy Institute Safety Award, an award normally reserved by the Oil Industry for its upstream activities of exploration and mining. And, in February 2010, the Company was the first UK company to be the subject of a European Transport Safety Council PRAISE (Preventing Road Accidents and Injuries for the Safety of Employees) Report. 

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