How to ensure you meet all of your compliance and risk management requirements.
We know that running a compliant fleet poses challenges. There’s a legal minefield you have to navigate and risk assessments that need to be filled in; but most importantly you need to understand what is expected of you, and what needs to be done to meet those all-important management obligations. Do these things, as you are more likely to avoid costly fines and reduce your accident rate.
What is compliance?
Compliance is a requirement for you and your drivers, often driven by a growing number of local regulations, as well as demands of insurance providers. You may view it as a burden, but it is crucial to the running of your business.
For fleet operations, compliance produces benefits in lower costs for accidents, fines and violations and expenses for insurance, replacement vehicles, workers’ compensation and legal fees.
What is risk management?
Risk management is the practice of identifying issues that could make your fleet non-compliant or unsafe and determining a framework of programs and practices for making improvements. The ultimate goal of any risk assessment is to ensure safety.
It’s fair to say that, much like other highly debated fleet topics, there is no ‘one size fits all’ solution when it comes to compliance and fleet risk management. However, adopting a common set of tools, programs and practices is a very good place to start.
What makes a compliant fleet?
In order for your fleet to become (and remain!) compliant, there are four key variables. These are:
Any vehicle that is used for business must be fit for purpose. Additionally, it must be inspected regularly, maintained correctly and equipped with the correct safety provisions.
All employees who operate a vehicle for business purposes, no matter how infrequently, must be fully trained to operate the class of vehicle to which they are allocated. You must make your staff aware of your company’s safety policies and standards before they even set foot in a vehicle, they must also be in good health and hold a valid driving license.
Trips involving both company and personal vehicles must be planned in advance, routed and structured to help ensure safety and minimise risk.
Make sure that all vehicles used on company business, all drivers and operations are based on pre-established and documented rules and regulations. Your documents should outline responsibilities; routines; tasks and processes, while employing effective monitoring and analysis capabilities.
Identifying the right tools
We know that compliance and risk management are daunting, but they don’t need to be. Technology is your friend, if you put the right tools in place. For example, tracking solutions can be highly effective for monitoring driver behaviour and vehicle activity – information that can then be used to identify compliance with schedules, routes and regulatory requirements.
Fleet management software also plays a key role too, as it can integrate data from tracking systems, making it possible to generate detailed analyses. In turn, that information can form the basis of compliance management processes that are implemented by companies looking to minimize risk. This data can include employee license information, medical certificates, training and competencies.
Remember though, tools that take control of compliance should be easy-to-use, both on the road and back at the office. They should also enable ease of access to required documentation, for roadside enforcement activity.
And risk, how should this be assessed?
In our experience, the best way to approach this is to apply common-sense thinking! Don’t make this process complicated, overly technical or time-consuming. Make sure your efforts cover:
- Taking a close look at work activities that could potentially cause harm, especially those involving vehicles and drivers.
- An evaluation of whether your safeguards are enough to prevent harm or injury
- An analysis and regular review of your findings and a process for implementing revisions to practices
- Having a competent, knowledgeable person who manages your risk assessment and compliance processes
Bringing it all together
In our opinion, you won’t go too far wrong when it comes to implementing an effective risk management and compliance policy if you do this:
- Make sure you have a responsible person in charge of overseeing all fleet risk management activities and programs
- Ensure you are highly informed about common vehicle and driver related workplace risks
- Develop a risk management policy for all vehicle and driver-related activities in the workplace
- Carry out risk assessments to fully identify, understand and measure levels of risk and exposure
- Establish and implement procedures to eliminate and control known risks associated with workplace activities
- Train drivers and other employees on how to work safely
- Record data on risk and compliance, before analysing information to enable actionable results