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Cogent Breeding Ltd awarded at Fleet World Honours

Each year RoadSafe are asked to nominate the winners of the Fleet Safety Awards in the annual Fleet World Honours, presented at the Royal Automobile Club on Pall Mall.

There are two awards - one for large fleets and one for small, and the nominees should represent organisations which have made a particularly noteworthy effort to improve the safety record of their fleet.

In this year's small Fleet Safety Award Cogent Breeding took the top spot.

The company, was recognised with the award because of the best practice measures it has taken as a small and medium enterprise (SME) with employees clocking up thousands of miles on rural roads.

Critically, the company's inclusion of own car drivers - the so-called grey fleet - within the all-embracing at-work driving policy was applauded by campaign managers.

Its award and future Driving for Better business champion status also recognises that risks highlighted in the Department for Transport's THINK! campaign which highlights rural roads as the deadliest in the country. Three people die every day on country roads and a third of fatalities occur on bends notably due to drivers braking too late or cutting corners.

Cogent Breeding launched its safe driving initiative after identifying that that the highest workplace risk for its sales teams, delivery drivers and artificial insemination technicians was driving; placing it on the company risk register alongside working with bulls and handling livestock.

Of the company's 180 UK staff more than 70% drive due to the nature of their daily work duties and, furthermore, they are classed as lone workers. Most journeys undertaken are on rural minor roads often leading to remote farms with some employees clocking up around 40,000 miles annually. It promotes improved driving skills among its workforce by ensuring that all employees driving a vehicle on business have completed a 20-minute online risk assessment, which includes driving licence validation with the Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency. Results are analysed and acted upon by the fleet manager Ann Moore and group distribution manager Graham Ruddick with drivers identified as 'medium' or 'high' risk completing additional e-learning driver training modules.

Driving for Better Business champion campaign manager Melvyn Hodgetts said, "The systems Cogent Breeding have in place have been designed to manage its complete fleet risk, including its grey fleet which is rare in an SME of this size.

"The company has recognised that driving to and from farms on rural roads can be as dangerous as dealing with livestock. Few SMEs recognise that the road risk facing their employees is equal to or greater than the occupational risk in the work they do".

"While it is too early for tangible business benefits to be identified, the company's at-work driving policy could play a pivotal role in influencing other SMEs to follow suit particularly in respect of recognising reputational risk."

"For me recognising and placing at-work driving on the company's risk register as one of its highest occupational risks, is a fantastic illustration of Cogent Breeding's approach to safeguarding the health and safety of all of its employees".