Good maintenance is important but, with so many other things to focus on, you might not always give it enough attention. With upcoming legislative changes sharpening the focus on maintenance requirements, it’s time to make sure your practices make the grade.
The Chain of Responsibly (CoR) holds all decision makers involved in the packing and consigning of goods responsible for ensuring the safe operation of heavy vehicles. Offences like speeding, failing to take sufficient rest breaks or exceeding vehicle mass currently trigger a prosecution. If an incident occurs, you need to demonstrate that you took reasonable steps to prevent it.
From next year there doesn’t need to be a specific event for prosecution, just proof that there was a foreseeable risk and appropriate steps weren’t taken. The new wording of the legislation also means that everyone it covers has a duty of care for all activities relating to heavy vehicle transport. The maintenance and repair of vehicles will be heavily scrutinised if there are any concerns about the safety of your operation.
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When this legislation comes into force, the penalties for failing to meet CoR obligations will also rise. They will start from $50,000 for an individual, with a maximum of $300,000 or prison time. Corporate fines start at $500,000 and climb to $3 million. Clearly, this is an issue worthy of your attention.
The gap between the passing of these new CoR laws and when they come into effect is designed to let you put appropriate compliance in place. So, as you prepare for the changes, take time to look at your fleet management maintenance schedule.
Risk Control Plan
The obvious first step is an audit of your current maintenance practices. Identify any shortcomings that create hazards and assess the risks that they create. Ask your drivers and maintenance staff for their opinions. Once you’ve done this you can immediately put in measures to address any urgent safety issues.
With maintenance under greater scrutiny, you must be able to show you have procedures in place and that they’re followed in practice. Nobody wants more paperwork so it’s important to look at how you can do this without making everyone’s workload more onerous. Fleet management systems that collect data automatically or with minimal input from staff enable real-time insight. They also collect historical data for evidence without the time-consuming process.
Preventative Maintenance Schedule
It’s exhausting to lurch from fixing one problem to the next. Implementing a preventive maintenance program shows you’re taking maintenance obligations seriously and creates many benefits for your business. These range from lower running costs to minimising the risk that a vehicle will be unexpectedly out of commission. Automatic alerts when a vehicle is due for a service, or a specific part is needed, will make managing maintenance easier.
New CoR obligations give all parties a primary duty to ensure safe road transport activities, so it’s important that everyone knows their responsibilities. The transport industry relies heavily on contractors so you need to be confident their vehicles are in the same excellent condition as your fleet. Getting everyone on the same page presents challenges but using GPS fleet management to push out the appropriate documentation or implement a pre-management checklist will help.
Next year might seem like a long way away but it will creep up before you know it. With the right education and systems in place, you can get your maintenance schedule ready to meet changing compliance legislation. You’ll also derive all the safety and productivity benefits that flow from developing good policies.