Driving motor vehicles can be a significant part of a worker’s day.
The hazards when driving may include:
- poor weather or road conditions
- fatigue and driving when tired
- rushing due to tight timeframes and scheduling of work
- distractions within the vehicle (i.e. mobile phones, client behaviour)
- safely operating unfamiliar vehicles
- managing client behaviour when travelling in the vehicle (if client transport is undertaken)
- poorly maintained vehicles (for example tyres, brakes, lights)
- speeding and or not following road rules
- changes to usual route/s taken (i.e. roadworks) and traffic delays
- unrestrained equipment in the vehicle
- remote and isolated work.
What are the controls?
Possible controls that should be considered to reduce motor accidents include:
- selecting and purchasing safe vehicles (i.e. appropriate safety accessories/extras, airbags, bull bars, ABS brakes, tinted windows)
- ensuring vehicles are appropriately insured
- maintaining a safe vehicle by using an accredited mechanic for regular maintenance in accordance with vehicle requirements, daily motor vehicle checks by the driver (for example operational lights, condition of tyres), ensuring drivers report defective vehicles and all incidents resulting in injuries or damage
- maintaining a system of recording and monitoring incidents, monitoring each driver and vehicle (for example accident and service records)
- develop and implement a safe driving policy for the organisation, including road rules such as wearing seat belts, mobile phone use, and safe use of any other in-vehicle connectivity
- providing workers with information and instruction on how to operate the allocated vehicle safely
- encouraging workers not to drive on roads if visibility or the road conditions are poor
- ensuring drivers are competent and fit to drive by periodically confirming they are appropriately licensed, reporting any driving offences which may affect their ability to drive at work, and including this requirement in position descriptions
- notifying drivers of safe driving policy and the requirement to advise of any medications or medical conditions which may impair their ability to drive
- making information on road rules and defensive driving training available to all workers
- reviewing workload and timeframes to ensure adequate time to complete work and travel between clients
- reducing driving times
- providing workers with up-to-date information on changes to routes due to road closures and road works
- securing all equipment for transport (for example in the car boot or behind a cargo barrier) – ensuring staff transporting dangerous or awkward goods are appropriately trained for the task, have access to appropriate mechanical aids, and/or have appropriate assistance at the start point of journey and destination
- providing a reliable means of communication between the worker and their supervisor/manager and/or emergency services for the worker to access assistance (not requiring the use of personal mobiles).
How to tell if the controls are working
- Consult with staff and follow-up on issues raised.
- Conduct regular audits and observations to ensure controls are effective and being used by staff.
What should you do to start?
Get in touch if you need help implementing a procedure to manage safe driving within your organisation. Download our vehicle inspection checklist and have your workers complete it prior to using the vehicle or weekly to keep on top of any issues with vehicles.
Vehicle Checklist: Want a free prestart checklist to use for your vehicles? Download it here.