The use of a motor vehicle for business, whether company-owned or privately-owned, should only be undertaken according to a clear set of guidelines. If used for business, vehicles are deemed to be an extension of the workplace, and the same risk and OH&S obligations apply.
All businesses need to have a clear and up-to-date policy outlining the use of motor vehicles for business purposes. This should be included in the induction kit for new employees and distributed to existing staff (if not already). Obtain signed acknowledgement that the policy has been read by all employees.
To help you meet your OH&S obligations and ensure employee compliance with your motor vehicle policy, we have compiled some useful guidelines.
- Registered and Roadworthy: If an employee is using their private vehicle for business, obtain a roadworthy and a copy of the registration papers.
- Servicing: Ensure the vehicle is serviced regularly according to the service schedule. A quarterly check of the vehicle and its service records is recommended.
- Insurance: Obtain a copy of the most recent insurance certificate and ensure it is noted in the policy that the vehicle is used for private and business purposes and that it has third party liability cover.
- License and Driving Records: Ensure all employees' licenses are current and that each employee provides a copy of their driving record from the State Licensing Department. This can provide an indication of driver's risk as it shows infringement points incurred.
- Safe driving: Make sure each employee is aware of and understands the policy relating to safe driving, especially when it comes to the use of mobile phones – i.e. engine on, phone off.
- Maintenance: Ensure the vehicle is maintained to a clean and presentable standard. Even though it is a private vehicle it is undertaking business related tasks and represents your business.
Where a large number of vehicles are involved it makes sense to automate the process so that the follow-ups are actioned in a timely manner. While managing multiple, privately-owned vehicles may be more costly and time-consuming than managing a company fleet, the cost can be far greater if the appropriate guidelines are not in place and an employee using his/her own vehicle is involved in a serious incident.