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  1. #1

    Vehicle Inspections

    How often should commercial vehicles be inspected?

    I have checked with manufacturers, with my service provider.

    Perhaps I should be asking how to get a business to actually do vehicle inspections

    I have done safety inspections and found vehicles with zero oil, vehicles 20K overdue for a service.

    No cargo barriers in vehicles (with heavy equipment in the back)
    Headlights and other lights not working.

    I have told the owner that we could have a vehicle seize an engine while on the freeway and that would be a huge hazard (to which he answered"That has already happened to us")

    I am tired of continually asking for this to be done with no result (yes I have put it in writing)

    What would the more experienced Safety Managers do?

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Dec 2012
    carrum downs Victoria, Australia

    Back again - noted you are in WA.

    Normally you follow the Manufacturers recommendations regarding services but a lot of the better Companies have a daily / and or Weekly and or / Monthly vehicle check list that has to be filled out by the driver.( as you would for a forklift or other moving plant )

    You have two sets of rules in place - raod rules for a roadworth vehicle and OHS rules that requires identification of hazard / risk and eith remove the hazard control it.
    A cargo safety barrier is a control.

    Yes put it in writing but keep a dairy for yourself.

    Tracker ( again )

  3. #3
    I received an email from IFAP promoting a talk from lawyers outlining managers and directors liability in safety matters .
    I have urged the owner to send his worst safety offender (manager)

    I have had no reply.

    I think the owner might think that the manager may take all the pain in case of a serious accident, however a review of Worksafes prosecution data base shows that the convictions will on the business and the manager.

    I just dont want to be sharing any of that pain, and I certainly dont want any of my staff being injured.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Dec 2012
    carrum downs Victoria, Australia

    If the owner had knowledge of serious safety issues then under OHS law in all States he could be prosecuted for a breach . He may have a Manager but who has the utimate responsibility - OHS law starts at the top and works it's way down. Did he tell the Manager to fix it and did he follow up ( monitor ) to see a serious OHS issue was resolved.
    I was in the Inspectorate for 27 years in both NSW and Victoria and I can tell you, after 1000's of investigations following serious incidents, the majority of prosecutions are against Owners, Directors and Senior Managers who were aware of a Safety issue but failed to take appropriate action.
    The Regulators have about about a 98% sucess rate in prosecutions but would rather see a Company take safety seriously than take them to Court.


  5. #5
    This is great feedback for me.

    Do you think as long as I have put in writing that a cargo barrier should be fitted to the vans I will be in the clear.

    One of our staff had been hit in the head by tools moving forward under heavy breaking already.

    But the whole vehicle safety is also about no one checking roadworthyness.

    The managers expect me to do all the vehicle checks, not really practical when I don't see the vehicles for weeks on end some times.
    I do check vehicles when I can, thats how I found the empty sumps the 20K overdue service, the lights not working etc.
    And yes I have put my concerns in writing to the owner.

    I am finding this safety business a bit too stressful, having to fight for every single problem, getting abused by managers and ridiculed at every turn.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Dec 2012
    carrum downs Victoria, Australia

    I cannot see why you, as Safety Manager, have to do vehicle checks - this is a responsibility of drivers and trained mechanics under the direction of Managers & Supervisors. Your job is to provide advice and monitoring and to ensure any OHS Management System is being implemented. You should not be directing employees, unless you are directly supervising them - again this is the role of Management & Supervisors. Look at your Job description - what are your responsibilities ?
    Regards the cargo barrier - again look at the Legislation, and in consultation with employees that could be struck, you first identify the hazards involved, the risk to them and either eliminate the hazards or put in appropriate controls ( ie: the cargo barrier could be one control ).
    Best practice would suggest that this process is in writing and signed off by persons involved.


  7. #7
    A vehicle without a cargo barrier ran into the back of a car at the stop lights, no injury to our staff.
    Manager still not embarrassed into fitting a cargo barrier.

    I have found suppliers and costs and given them to the manager.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Dec 2012
    carrum downs Victoria, Australia


    Like many Company OHS officers you are feeling frustrated - it is common as many Managers do not understand workplace safety or are willing to take a risk that a seroius accident will happen and they could be held responsible. Many smaller Companies have gone to the wall from the trauma & expenses involved in a major incident - legal costs , fines, directions by the Inspectorate or Courts to implement changes, workers comp premium rises, loss productivity and cost of hiring and training replacements and most of all the loss of a worker / mate from the business.

    A fatal incident can take around a year + to get to the Coroner then another year + should the Regulator decide to prosecute.

    All you can do is keep recommending, but remember consult with the employees, document accurate hazard & risk assessment ( keep personal thoughts out of it ) and look at similar Industries to see what they do and always bring to the Managers attention any reported court actions related to safety.

    One question - what are the workers feelings on safety as they are the best indication that positive change / culture can be achieved and that is why consultation is important.


  9. #9
    Everyone on the ground is happy with the safety, the owner is happy.

    Its the dreaded middle management that don't actually pay the bills and have never run a business that are the problem.

    The safety management is working as the LTIFR is significantly down.

    I have taken on your advice, I keep a paper trail.

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