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Is your vehicle up to speed?

Unfortunately for many workers, driving a motor vehicle is an accident waiting to happen. In 2014 alone, 49 truck drivers and 18 workers in cars were killed while working.

Sydney, Australia – WEBWIRE
Two thirds of workplace fatalities involve a vehicle
Two thirds of workplace fatalities involve a vehicle

Many businesses utilise the humble motor carriage to shuffle their staff from A to B, preferably with as little fuss and bills as possible. Unfortunately for many workers, driving a motor vehicle is an accident waiting to happen. Statistics over the past 10 years show that in Australia two thirds of all workplace fatalities involved a vehicle. In 2014 alone, out of the 188 fatalities that occurred in the workplace, 61% (116) of fatalities involved a vehicle.

Needless to say after reading the above statistics, your business has an obligation to ensure that staff that utilise motor vehicles are kept safe. Senior WHS Consultant Scott Bruce says: “I find it quite surprising given these numbers when I visit businesses; most don’t factor in vehicle safety in any form. Sure, there are the odd licence checks upon employment, but other than that? Not a lot. This is despite the fact that on average, half of all new motor vehicles purchased in Australia are bought by businesses.”

So what should we be doing as a business?

There are the processes that should be in place at the outset. For example: licence, registration and insurance. These need to be checked regularly and to ensure the process is systematic, it is recommended that a software program be utilised to keep track of all staff and ensure monitoring is occurring.

Then we get into more complicated matters that often are not being implemented by businesses. These could include:

  • Advanced driver training;
  • Drug and alcohol testing;
  • Lone worker provisions (or procedures for working in isolation);
  • GPS tracking on vehicles; and
  • Training in basic vehicle maintenance etc.

Mr Bruce states: “The highest priorities might not always be what you think, for example, drug use is now a more prevalent factor in road accidents than not wearing seat belts.”

By the very definition, a workplace is “any place where a worker goes and includes a vehicle.” While reading this you might be thinking ”I’ve trained our staff in Safety Data Sheets and Manual Handling!” but have you trained your staff on how to change a tyre?

Safety Australia Group highly recommend that you start with an analysis of your current practices and procedures, and then develop a framework for future improvement. Safety Australia Group has developed a vehicle safety program which is able to be implemented in your business.

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