Managing Vehicle Risks in the Workplace

Between January 2019 and January 2020, there were a total of 40 fatalities caused by work-related vehicle incidents, according to data analysis presented by WorkSafe NZ. Moreover, during this same time period, there were over 1160 injuries from vehicle incidents resulting in more than a week away from work. The data proves just how harmful vehicle risks are if they aren’t managed appropriately in the workplace.

Work-related vehicle incidents can be extremely costly for businesses. A survey of 85 New Zealand organisations taking part in a road safety workshop showed:

  • on average they had 33 crashes or collisions per year, involving one in four work vehicles
  • the annual cost of motor fleet insurance claims averaged $57,915
  • the average number of road injuries or fatalities per year was 10 (more)

Section 20 of the Health and Safety at Work Act makes it clear that a vehicle, when used for work purposes, is a workplace. Thus PCBUs must do all that is reasonably practicable to manage the risks associated with the use of vehicles, both on public roads and on private property.

Employers have a responsibility of ensuring vehicles used for work are fit for the road and comply with the NZTA standards. It’s also the employer’s responsibility for workers to be fully inducted and trained on how to correctly operate mobile plants before being allowed to use them.

Safety on the road does not only depend on the individual behind the wheel, but more importantly on the actions and controls put in place to to ensure risks a fully managed to prevent harm from occurring.

This involves:

  • identifying the hazards (sources of risk) in your road traffic operations
  • where necessary, assessing the risks (considering the likelihood that an incident will happen and the consequences)
  • controlling the risks (making sure the right procurement, training, maintenance, safety guidelines and other measures are in place to reduce the risks)
  • reviewing the controls (regularly checking to make sure your controls are still relevant, effective and up to date) – (more).

To learn more about employer’s responsibilities, click here.

Implementing a vehicle use policy or safe driving policy is a one effective way to protect your staff and business. The policy should include standards and procedures for managing vehicles and risks, and be incorporated
into your company’s health and safety policy to ensure all staff know about it – especially those who drive as part of their jobs.

Do you have a vehicle use or safe driving policy? If not, there’s a useful sample available from NZ Transport Agency here. Working Wise can also work with you to create a comprehensive policy and supporting systems that apply to your company’s mobile plants. Contact us to learn more!

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