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Osh Act Now Applies To Work Vehicles

Osh Act Now Applies To Work Vehicles

>From the 5th May, the Occupational Safety and Health Act will explicitly state that a business vehicle is a place of work and when you are driving a vehicle as part of your job, you are at work. This heralds big changes for employers and big fines if they get it wrong, according to AA Driver Education Foundation CEO, Peter Sheppard, at the Foundation’s conference today

“Employers will have to take a serious approach to fleet safety by establishing a formal written vehicle safety policy or they will find themselves exposed in the event of motor vehicle accidents in work vehicles”, he says.

“For the first time”, he says, “the OSH Act will recognise fatigue and stress as contributing factors to road crashes that an employer can be culpable for”.

Keynote speaker at the AA Driver Education Foundation Conference and fleet management specialist from the UK, Dr Will Murray, says the changes to the Act will require some work for businesses to comply with.

“Good fleet management policies should include vehicle selection, vehicle maintenance, driver education (including the use of vehicle safety equipment), identifying hazards, setting realistic driving schedules and encouraging safe driving behaviour”, he says.

Dr Will Murray says there are more people killed or seriously injured in work vehicle accidents than there are in any other type of work accidents, which is why the Government is saying organisations must take responsibility for their employee's safety while they are in their work vehicles.

Peter Sheppard says the stakes have risen for getting it wrong under the amended Act. “The maximum fines for an OSH prosecution are rising from $100,000 to $500,000, jail sentences are going from 6 months to 2 years and private individuals will be allowed to lay an OSH charge against an organisation for failing to comply with the Act,” he says.

Peter Sheppard says it is hoped that the changes will be effective in reducing work related motor vehicle crashes, but it will be up to employers to seek advice and put in place effective fleet safety policies. He says if the outcome of the changes is better drivers on the roads for work, they become better drivers at home as well and all of society benefits.

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