Work Vehicles are a staple of many businesses, whether its a light truck, van, ute or anything else but do you know what your obligations are as a business when it comes to work vehicles? If you are wondering why work vehicles are a safety topic it’s because between 2003 and 2014, 65% of worker fatalities were due to incidents involving vehicles. Something to keep in mind while you read.

Buying the Vehicle

Like any other tool you buy in your business you need to think about it before you purchase and weigh up your options. Safety vs Performance vs Maintenance costs vs Capacity vs Economy and on and on. Fortunately in this day and age almost every new vehicle is 5 star safety certified or close but what if you can’t buy new? It’s important to take many aspects into your purchase but how safe the vehicle is should be at the top, always buy the safest vehicle you can. Things like ABS, Air Bags and ESC are great safety features that really make a difference. If you need to buy second hand, make sure the vehicle is well maintained including a log book, this evidence may be important proof, make sure there are no modifications that are not approved by the vehicle manufacturer and make sure it’s checked by a mechanic.

After the Purchase

Once the business owns the vehicle there are a few things that you MUST do:

  1. Maintain the vehicle, perform ALL required servicing and maintenance and get it done by a professional with a full paper trail.
  2. Perform regular checks on the vehicle. This can be simple prestart checks each day or week or month depending on how many km’s the vehicle does.
  3. Keep all your records. Having records of you maintenance and servicing along with checks is vital to prove you are holding up your side of the equation.

There really can’t be any excuses in this side of things, if one of your employee’s has an accident in a work vehicle and it hasn’t been maintained then you can be held liable depending on the circumstances.

The Paperwork

Yep there is always some paperwork. Anytime you are putting a work vehicle in an employee’s hands you need to protect your business and the vehicle. The first step is to have a Work Vehicle Policy that covers things like:

  • The employee’s obligations when driving the vehicle such as they pay fines, they must have a full license etc etc.
  • The employee’s obligations for looking after the vehicle, cleaning, pre starts etc.
  • What the business will do to maintain and look after the vehicle.
  • What can happen if the employee doesn’t uphold their side of the bargain.

Having this basic component in place allows you to maintain control of an expensive asset. It also makes sure the expectations are clear. If you fail to do these basics you can leave yourself and your business open to a number of unpleasant possibilities.

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