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Babtie Jacobs ‘green’ transport!

by mel starrs on July 9, 2007

in Uncategorized

Among my (many) past employers, I have 2 stints at Babtie, both before Jacobs took over.  Reading this in the Times, it could easily be about any of the larger engineering firms in the UK.  There seems to be a certain size in a company’s life when common sense fails to prevail over corporate bureaucracy:

It (Jacobs Babtie) has told staff at its 36 offices across Britain that they must drive or use public transport. They can use bicycles only if they are working away from roads, such as on canal towpaths.

In an e-mail to all employees, a copy of which has been obtained by The Times, the company’s health and safety manager says: “It’s patently obvious that if you are struck by a wayward vehicle when you are on a bicycle or motorbike you are going to be more severely affected than if you were in a car. The reason for this policy is to protect our employees from other vehicles on the road.

There will be a few limited exceptions when employees will be permitted to travel by bicycle, but that would be when that mode of transport is required to undertake the job, for example, carrying out surveys along river banks and tow paths.”

The ban on cycling on company business has infuriated several staff, who have been cycling without any serious safety incidents for years. They believe the ban is partly the result of conditions in the company’s insurance policy. The e-mail acknowledges that staff are unhappy about the ban and admits it “could be construed as being at odds with our environmental policy and the requirement to be environmentally responsible”.

It also acknowledges the concerns among employees that the company will lose important contracts because the ban “will not please our environmentally friendly clients”.

Sadly, it’s not an April Fool nor a Dilbert cartoon.