Tips on fleet safety from expert organisations

Fleet managers can learn several useful tips and strategies from two reports put forward by a range of authoritative organisations. 

The first is a report titled Evaluating and improving fleet safety in Australia, written by the Australian Transport Safety Bureau and the Department of Transport and Regional Services. The second report was developed through a collaboration between the Transport Accident Commission and Work Safe Victoria, and is entitled Guide to safe work related driving. 

This article provides a key tip from each report, helping fleet managers to improve overall fleet safety. 

Evaluating and improving fleet safety in Australia

A key tip from this report is to keep in mind the range of statistics relevant to the fleet industry in Australia, and develop plans to use this information advantageously.

For instance, one third of all travel on Australian roads is work-related, according to the report. Fleet vehicles also travel around three times the distance of the average private car, completing 30,000 kilometres compared to 10,000 kilometres respectively each year. 

Moreover, around 30 per cent of all registered vehicles in Australia are work-related vehicles, including 15 per cent of cars. This equals approximately 3 million fleet vehicles nationwide.

Due to the prevalence of fleet vehicles, fuel consumption is a major concern. There are several ways to stretch fuel economy, and developing fuel saving habits in everyday driving can help reduce costs overall. 

Guide to safe work related driving

A major lesson from this report is to be aware of the Occupational Health and Safety Act 2004 (OHS Act) and to incorporate best practices for safety according to this legislation.  

Under Section 21 of the OHS Act, an employer has a duty or responsibility to not only provide but also maintain a safe and healthy working environment, insofar as it is reasonably practicable to do so. 

But what counts as being 'reasonably practicable'? Well, one of the major actions is to have a high 'state of knowledge' about any potential hazards or risks. In addition, the employer is expected to assess these risks and be aware of the ways in which they could lead to problems.

In the context of fleet management, the report notes employers should be up to date on the following:

  • information about safety features of vehicles and instruction on how to use them
  • knowledge about the causes and effects of fatigue
  • information about the safe use of the vehicle
  • information about safe maintenance of the vehicle 

With these tips on their radar, fleet managers can take the steps needed to improve fleet safety. After all, it is not only regular services and equipment upgrades that enhance safety, but also managerial processes and human behaviours.