Company Vehicles = Risky Business

Company Vehicles = Risky Business

Company Vehicles = Risky Business

Many businesses today are mobile. This is great in so many ways and some industries rely on being mobile, such as that electrician you need to do those repairs at home.   With that however comes risk for the owner of the electrical business.  Sometimes it’s a risk that isn’t even on their radar until something goes wrong!

Company vehicles are great, they are full of advertising and for a mobile business that is all over the place it gives a large advertising exposure ….but with this come risk.  Some of the areas we would like to address are:

  • Is the worker licenced to drive?
  • Are they following traffic rules?
  • Are they smoking in the vehicle? (this is often forgotten, but the vehicle is the worker’s ‘’designated workplace’’.)

So how have you protected your business around the risks associated with the worker having a company vehicle? The areas identified below are typically overlooked from both an HR and Safety perspective.  Typically, a worker starts work, signs all the relevant paper work, gives a photo of their licence and is then handed a vehicle and off they go.  But that worker could get done for speeding next week in his own vehicle and lose his licence, or he could get done for speeding in the company vehicle but denies it was them and basically the list of scenarios can go on and on.

This risk can be mitigated by having clear expectations in your employees’ contract of employment, or indeed your policies and procedures. We recommend implementing the following legally binding requirements in writing:

I, the worker:

  • understand that the company vehicle is deemed my place of work and shall be treated as such.
  • am responsible for all fines incurred while driving the vehicle.
  • will not allow any friend of family member to drive the vehicle.
  • will provide updated drivers licence upon renewal.
  • will notify of any suspension or limitations placed on my licence and understand that failure to do so is grounds for termination of my employment.
  • will display the highest level of professional conduct when driving company vehicles.
  • will notify my supervisor of any condition that may impair my ability to operate the vehicle safely and understand if the condition is ongoing this may result in termination of my employment.
  • will be responsible for the insurance excess of any company vehicle where my restless actions have resulted directly to damage to the vehicle and/or an accident.

From a safety perspective, the following needs to be documented within the employment contact or separate document and signed and agreed on by the worker and immediate supervisor:

I, the worker

  • will not smoke in any company vehicle as it is deemed my workplace.
  • will ensure that any issues with the vehicle are reported to my supervisor immediately upon becoming aware of such issues.
  • will ensure I notify my supervisor when the vehicle is due for scheduled maintenance, e.g. a service
  • will ensure that the vehicle is always kept in a clean and tidy state.
  • will carry out daily visual checks on the vehicle to ensure it is safe to drive.
  • will not use my mobile phone unless the vehicle is fitted with a hands-free device.
  • will not drive when under the influence of drugs or alcohol, or when fatigued.
  • will drive within the legal speed limits, including driving for the conditions e.g. wet weather, fog.
  • will wear a seat belt at all times, and ensure the same for any passengers.

In some instances, the vehicle/s are assigned to multiple workers. In these cases, it’s important that you as the owner of the business have records of who was in the vehicle at any one time, so that if a fine is received or accident reported, you know who is responsible for this.

If you feel your business is at risk and need assistance in writing your employment contracts or policies to cover these requirements or embedding these safety requirements into your business, then please contact either Susan or Cheryl who will be happy to help.  They both offer a free 30-minute obligation free phone consultation.

Susan Carson – HR Specialist – 0405 261 257 – susan@harlandhansen.com.au

Cheryl Middleton – Safety Specialist – 0413 917 722 – cheryl@zeroexposure.com.au

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