Keeping staff safe is essential for managers across all industries – but when you’re in charge of managing a mobile workforce, it’s easier said than done.
In New South Wales alone, nearly one third of all workplace fatalities are a result of road crashes. Vehicles are legally considered as part of the workplace and together with recent industrial manslaughter convictions in Queensland, this means that managers and operators need to be proactive in mitigating risks for their staff or risk facing serious charges.
As Unions WA secretary, Owen Whittle, says; “If a negligent driver causing a fatal accident can be charged with manslaughter, so too should an employer that badly mismanages a dangerous workplace.”
Here’s what you can do to keep yourself out of legal trouble and keep everyone safe.
Automated Vehicle Maintenance
In any workplace, it’s up to managers to ensure their facilities are in top condition for their staff. In a mobile workforce, fleet operators take on the responsibility of keeping their vehicles safe and secure.
Maintaining the condition of your fleet via paper pre-trip checklists and manual maintenance scheduling creates potential hazards for your staff if paperwork is lost or misplaced. It also means that new issues that arise are not always captured or flagged quickly with other staff, which opens yourself up for serious consequences.
By adopting a smart fleet management system, fleet managers are able to access engine and vehicle maintenance data in real-time. Back-office workers can create a comprehensive history of each asset without needing to physically inspect the vehicle or chase up previous paperwork. With digital pre-start checklists, maintenance staff know well ahead of time when things may need fixing or replacing. And if issues that arise are immediately flagged they can pull the vehicle off the road, do the necessary repairs and get it back on the road swiftly.
Smart fleet tracking systems can save you countless hours in chasing up vehicle conditions, previous schedule history or even diagnosing faults, while also offering you effective solutions to rectify issues and keep staff safe.
Road Safety Policies
Part of keeping your drivers safe while they’re out on the road is creating a road safety policy that’s available to everyone. When adopting a new fleet management system into your operations, it’s essential that you update existing policies and their practices to your company’s Work Health and Safety policy.
A physical policy document can be easily misplaced and needs to be updated manually. This makes it tricky for everyone across the fleet to access the updated paperwork. Making the switch from paper-based policy documents to in-cabin devices means that drivers, contractors, and operators don’t have any excuse for not being able to view or access the road safety policy.
You need to ensure all staff members are constantly reminded of the guidelines and where they’re located. It’s also important that you encourage your team to bring forward any confusion around the guidelines, as keeping these rules in the conversation will greatly help to mitigate risk.
Connecting With Staff
While advanced technology solutions greatly reduce the risk of incidents, a key part of creating a fleet-wide culture of safety is by communicating directly with your staff. Talk to each employee and take the time to understand any concerns they may have around driver safety.
Along with your fleet-wide road safety policy, it’s important that you look at the habits and behaviours of each driver, as some may be more prone to dangerous actions compared to their teammates.
Telematics lets you get to the heart of each driver’s habits, and you can use these insights to create a safer workplace overall. For example, if you notice that several drivers in your fleet have issues with speeding, you can create a custom driver training program tailored to their needs. This can be paired with custom driver scorecards based on each person’s personal behaviours.
Last year, 178 Australian workers lost their lives in the workplace. With trucks and fleets legally considered part of the workplace, it’s up to managers and operators to do everything in their power to keep staff safe, or risk serious jail time. By digitising your maintenance checklists, creating a road safety policy and using driver scorecards, you can mitigate potential risks and ensure the safety of your fleet safe all year round.