Fleet risk can arise at any time. And, while you can sometimes handle it with few complications, some fleet vulnerabilities can quickly lead to legal issues.
As a PCBU (person conducting a business or undertaking) under the Health and Safety Work Act, you’re responsible for a number of situations that can leave your fleet liable, all of which threaten health and safety (H&S) compliance and can lead to major costs. For example, failure to keep workers from using dangerously defective vehicles could lead to a maximum fine of $300,000.
You might be confident in your fleet employees. They might be perfectly capable drivers, with seemingly no issues handling themselves and their vehicles on the road.
But when you’re faced with constant downtime, rising insurance premiums, and a ballooning budget for vehicle repair and maintenance, something needs to change. What is the right course of action? It may simply be driver training.
The benefits of a strong fleet risk management programme are obvious: less cost to the company, a lower chance of driver accidents, and fewer legal complications.
However, the advantages may not be obvious to the senior leaders of your company, whose approval and support you’ll need when introducing risk management to the corporate culture. Add to that the pressure of quickly understanding complex health and safety regulations, having company-wide compliance fall on your shoulders, and the task can seem pretty impossible.
The culture of any organisation starts with what’s happening at the top. Company leaders are the ones who set the tone for all employees to follow, and this is especially true when setting a culture of health and safety for a mobile workforce.
When it comes to lowering risk for any mobile workforce, there’s a lot you can have direct supervision over. For instance, you can create policies around driver safety that help lower accident rates and you can closely oversee fleet vehicles to maintain their condition and ensure uptime. But workers who use their own vehicles for work — also known as a ‘grey fleet’ — are also a crucial responsibility for any fleet manager.
Health and Safety regulations can feel burdensome to follow, especially when a mobile workforce is involved. The whole organisation needs to be on board, or any given fleet accident could spell serious legal trouble for your company.
A fleet is only as good as its drivers. With a careful driving staff, you'll have a much easier time lowering risk, lowering accident rates, fulfilling H&S duties, and making sure your fleet is as operational as possible.
One way to start is to have a policy that addresses distracted driving.
When managing a mobile workforce, risk can seemingly come from all angles. As a person conducting business or undertaking (PCBU), thoroughly making sure of employee safety can be an intimidating prospect. And, it can feel overwhelming to action risk awareness within a company that's set in its ways.
Any organisation with a mobile workforce must follow rules and regulations around employee safety. While it's a huge responsibility to oversee a mobile workforce, you can confidently manage risk by thinking about and tightening up compliance in every single part of your fleet.
An effective, competent, self-monitoring mobile workforce can be the key reason for a company's continued success. But when risk remains unchecked, a fleet and its drivers can also be the biggest source of unrecoverable costs.