ISO 39001

Anybody running a large fleet has a duty of care both for the drivers themselves, and the wider public, to reduce the number of people killed or injured on the road.

ISO 39001 sets out the best practice drawn up by global industry experts to define the minimum requirements for a robust Road Traffic Safety Management System [RTSMS].

How do I get ISO 39001?

ISO 39001 is, rightly, a demanding standard, and places significant requirements on a business. However, don’t be put off by thinking it is too complex a thing to do. We aren’t saying it’s simple, but with us doing the bulk of the work for you, including managing the whole process, it is achievable.

There are the following stages to becoming and staying certified to ISO 39001:

  1. Establish a system that complies with the standard
  2. Address specific requirements made by the standard such as identifying and use road traffic safety performance factors from a pre-determined list of risk exposure factors
  3. Make everyone aware of the system and any changes in ways of working that have come about
  4. Operate the system to
    a. Make sure it works efficiently
    b. Build evidence of compliance with the requirements of the standard
    c. Get staff familiar with it
  5. Appoint a “certification body” to independently assess whether you comply with the standard. We recommend you choose a UKAS accredited body (see below)
  6. Keep using the system once it has been certified (to keep the certificate)

There is more detailed information below about the various stages you need to go through.

Your ISO 39001 certification journey

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Getting Started

  1. Provide a comprehensive briefing of what the standard asks you to do in simple to understand terms
  2. Begin to understand in detail how you operate
  3. Set a timetable and stick to it
  4. Decide what you want covered by the certificate – which sites, which operational activities.
  5. Put the right resources in place
  6. Collect all existing documentation
  7. Establish a dedicated client portal on our collaboration and document sharing platform
  8. Begin to capture how you meet specific requirements:
    a. having specific roles within the business responsible for road traffic safety
    b. identifying which of the 13 RTS Performance factors in 3 categories apply to you, how you deal with them, and
    c. specify elements and criteria in appropriate detail to set, monitor and measure RTS objectives and RTS targets.
  9. Establish a dedicated client portal on our collaboration and document sharing platform
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  1. Establish a detailed project plan in our online project management platform (and stick to it)
  2. Decide with you what you need operationally
  3. Map out your business processes
  4. Conduct gap analysis between what the standard requires and what you have/do already
  5. Implement the system, including completing
    a. Job descriptions in line with required roles & responsibilities
    b. Statement of Applicability regarding the RT Performance Factors
    c. elements and criteria in appropriate detail to set, monitor and measure RTS objectives and RTS targets.
  6. Submit the system to Episode Head Office for final QC checks
  7. We return it to you for your final approval
  8. Brief staff on what they need to know & do
  9. Separate consultant Internally audits the system
  10. Address any issues found
  11. Carry out a management review
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  1. Work with you to select and appoint a UKAS accredited certification body.
  2. Be onsite throughout the certification process
  3. Address any issues that arise during the audit
  4. Brief you on post-certification activity
    a. 3 year cycle of annual surveillance audits and
    b. what you need to do throughout the year to maintain the system
  5. Agree where the finished, certified system should be housed

Episode guarantees certification


Is it a demanding standard?

Due to the seriousness of the subject it is addressing, ISO 39001 is a very demanding standard to adopt. Most major fleet operators will have operational systems and processes in place (vehicle maintenance, driver selection, training and monitoring, etc. but the 13 performance factors you have to consider are detailed. This may lead to more comprehensive systems and processes than currently exist.

Will it create red tape and take too much time?

Done wrong, absolutely. Too many systems we see have a form or document to cover every aspect of the standard. That’s the easy way to build a system, and an equally easy way to cripple you operationally. You know when this is the case when you spend a  month “updating” (i.e. creating false) records, etc. before the auditor next comes.

Done right, as we will make sure it is, the system should be at the core of how you work. Remember, we make ISO work for you, not the other way around.

How long will it take?

It is difficult to give precise timescales, as it depends on a number of things such as how complex the business is, how close you are to complying with the standard already, and so on. We recommend planning for it taking at least 3 months.

Why should I choose Episode?

For a fixed cost we will do as much of the work as possible, and guarantee certification. As much of the work is done onsite as possible to get it right, and to coach you to allow you to be self-sufficient following initial certification.

Episode has worked with over 40 clients, many of whom have more than one standard they comply with (one has 5). All have been successfully certified and many  subsequently ask us to help them maintain certification, and get more out of the system.

How much will it cost?

There are the following costs that will arise

  1. External consultants

Episode always gives a fixed fee proposal for a project, and we include guaranteed certification. A typical single standard project is about £4,550, but this does depend on the size and complexity of your business.

  1. Certification costs

You will need an external company certify the system as being compliance with the standard. There are over 100 UKAS accredited bodies in the UK, and a range of prices. All UKAS accredited bodies will get you to where you need to be (i.e. issued with a UKAS accredited certificate). We will manage this process for you, and typical costs for a single standard range from £1,800 to £2,500 for a single standard, depending on size and complexity of the business.

  1. Internal business costs.

Sometimes, but rarely, you may have to invest in things such as having machinery serviced &/or calibrated.

To speak to an expert to discuss your requirements call us on 0113 801 9001

What is quality management and ISO 39001?

ISO 39001:2012. Road traffic safety (RTS) management systems — Requirements with guidance for use, specifies requirements for a road traffic safety (RTS) management system to enable an organisation that interacts with the road traffic system to reduce death and serious injuries related to road traffic crashes which it can influence. The requirements include development and implementation of an appropriate RTS policy, development of RTS objectives and action plans, which take into account legal and other requirements to which the organisation subscribes, and information about elements and criteria related to RTS that the organisation identifies as those which it can control and those which it can influence.

ISO 39001 is also fully aligned with the Safe System approach to road safety, which is embedded in the UN Global Plan for Road Safety, and the UN Sustainable Development Goals.

The ultimate goal under the Safe System approach goal is to eliminate road fatalities and serious injuries, supported in the interim by periodic, quantitative targets to reduce deaths and serious injuries, as well as those factors that are causally linked to them. Safe System intervention addresses all elements of the road traffic system and their linkages - road infrastructure, vehicles, the emergency medical system, and road users. ISO 39001 provides a management tool to ensure the best possible results from these endeavours. Inspired by the reframing of road safety as a societal health issue in the best performing countries, the core of the ‘Safe System’ approach is the design and management of a road traffic system better able to accommodate human error and recognize the physical vulnerabilities of road users. This is primarily through managing crash energy, so that no individual road user is exposed to crash forces likely to result in death or serious injury.

When done correctly, gaining and maintaining ISO certification is not as complicated as most think. Trust Episode to make ISO work for you, not the other way around.

Contact us today on 0113 8019001 or click here to email us


It was only by utilising the expert guidance and experience of ‘Episode Ltd.’ That Thurston Group was able to attain certification within an exceptionally challenging time frame. We therefore offer our thanks to Episode Ltd. For the diligent and professional services provided. We also look forward to working with them again soon and would not hesitate to recommend their services."


Peter Spieight, Senior Divisional Director, Thurston Group, Wakefield

Roger's support was invaluable in terms of gap analysis, recommendations for improvement, and facilitation of the certification process. I would strongly recommend Roger to any organisation wishing to develop or improve its management systems, in a way which minimizes bureaucracy, and focuses on best serving the needs of the organization.

Gary Evans, Flour Corporation, Abu Dhabi