Road safety in New Zealand is an urgent concern. Earlier this year, over a one week period, 26 people died as a result of fatal collisions. Deadly incidents are too frequent on our roads, and it’s up to everyone, including businesses, to be part of the solution... especially companies that employ fleets. Your drivers must be aware of the dangers of irresponsible driving and should be empowered in every way to stay safe behind the wheel.
After hours one night, you hear the report that you never want to hear: one of your fleet drivers has gotten into a collision. You’re relieved to hear that there were no injuries. But now, you must deal with a damaged vehicle. Should it be repaired or replaced?
Fleets can be tricky to manage - there are so many moving parts that must work together, and work well. You need a strong driving policy, vehicles constantly on the road, a plan to bring accidents (and the associated admin work) to a minimum, and ways to control costs and risk factors.
Even for the most diligent fleet manager, it’s hard to keep tabs on everything that poses a risk to the company fleet. Get everything ‘right’ and you can still find yourself awakened by late-night road incidents, only to deal with the costs and admin from vehicle downtime, liabilities, and third-party negotiations.
Through the holiday season, is your fleet in great working order, ready to face the new year? If not, now’s the time to take corrective action.
Managing the health and safety of the drivers in your vehicle fleet can be challenging. Some accidents - like unknown vehicle faults or car park mishaps - aren't considered preventable. But front- and rear-end collisions, improper lane changes, inappropriate parking, and carelessness at intersections are usually avoidable by skilled fleet drivers, even when the other, non-employee party is at fault.
Complying with health and safety rules should be top of mind when you have a fleet to supervise. With the responsibility of keeping your drivers safe, you are likely imagining every way possible to reduce road accidents.
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.
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.