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What should we include in our driver safety policy?

Q: Our NSW-based organisation wants to draft a driver safety policy to help eliminate or minimise risks to our workers’ health and safety from driving-related accidents and injuries. The reason behind this is because our workers travel regularly to Queensland regions after major weather events like cyclones to assess damage to properties and infrastructure. We hire vehicles for these purposes as we do not have fleet vehicles.

What are the requirements for this type of policy? What relevant legislation, codes of practice and guidelines can we follow or include?

A: Under s19 of the Work Health and Safety Act 2011 (NSW) (WHS Act), employers have a duty or responsibility to ensure so far as is reasonably practicable, the health and safety of their workers. Employees also have a duty under this legislation to take reasonable care for their own safety and for the safety of others, as well as a duty to comply with workplace policies and procedures. Any workplace safety policy should be designed with these primary duties in mind.

Additionally, policies pertaining specifically to driver safety should also bear in mind the road safety laws.

A driver safety policy may cover topics such as:

  • fatigue management:
  • employers should schedule work in such a way that manages the risks of fatigue;
  • employees should refrain from driving when tired and take regular breaks;
  • ensuring all drivers have the requisite drivers’ licence and qualifications specific to the tasks they are carrying out; a commitment to ensure regular training;
  • a commitment by drivers to abide by all road rules including:
  • speed limits;
  • wearing of seatbelts;
  • not driving while intoxicated;
  • ensuring drivers are adequately informed about the safe use of the particular vehicles being used;
  • a procedure for ensuring the vehicles are adequately maintained and inspected; and
  • procedures for incident reporting.

Please note: The answer is correct at the time of publishing. Be aware that laws may change over time. Refer to Vehicle safety for current advice.

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