Innovative London Irish waste disposal company O’Donovan’s is investing in training and trucks to bring down the death toll
A London Irish waste disposal business is taking the lead in making London’s roads safer for cyclists – at least as far as its own trucks are concerned.
Transport for London (TfL) says that eight cyclists have been killed on London’s roads this year so far – more than one a month. On June 22, a female cyclist died when she collided with a tipper truck near Bank underground station. Seven of the eight incidents have involved HGVs. Following the latest death, Leon Daniels from TfL said: “Every death on London’s roads is one too many and we are committed to making all roads safer for everyone.”
O’Donovan Waste Disposal Limited is making a reputation for itself by consistently adapted its safety measures to help cut the number of deaths and serious injuries suffered by cyclists on the road.
It trains its staff to the highest standard when it comes to health and safety, with managing director, Jacqueline O’Donovan, making it a top priority. It won the Health and Safety Award at the recent 2016 Construction Excellence in London Awards, where Receiving the award, Ms O’Donovan said: “We pride ourselves on our exceptionally high standards of health and safety training and are delighted that the judges have recognised the value we place on developing this area not only within our company, but across the industry.”
The O’Donovans work with TfL, the Metropolitan Police and others to encourage mutual learning and understanding between drivers and cyclists. In one programme, drivers work with cyclists away from the road before the cyclists climb into O’Donovan lorries to view the road from the perspective of those behind the wheel.
The company has also embraced the construction industry’s ‘Safer urban driving’ scheme which puts all drivers through a compulsory training course, where they spend time cycling on London’s roads to experience a two-wheeled viewpoint. Jacqui also introduced ‘Project Upskill’ – a workforce training programme designed and implemented to meet the needs of waste management lorries operating in a major, global city like London.
As well as giving the drivers appropriate training; the company is committed to improving the safety features of its trucks. It bought three new Mercedes-Benz skip loader vehicles, which offer the drivers a better view of vulnerable road users.
These specially designed trucks cost £25,000 more than industry standard skip loaders because they are fitted with a deep panoramic windscreen, a fully-glazed floor to ceiling ‘bus-style’ nearside door and a lowered driving position. Ms O’Donovan said she was happy to pay the extra money to ensure cyclists’ safety and plans to buy more of these trucks in the near future.
“We have got a situation that needs fixing and we have a joint responsibility to fix it together,” she said.
She urged cyclists to accept their share of responsibility and just as her truck drivers must make allowance for them, London cyclists could do simple things to improve their own safety on the road – like not wearing stereo headphones that cut out surrounding noise.
Too often headphones prevent cyclists from hearing the left-turn audible alarm. Left-turning HGVs are the biggest danger to cyclists because drivers can’t see them in a blind spot that can be up to eleven times the length of the bike itself.