Businesses that own and manage their own delivery fleets are open to multiple risks and liabilities, and may not understand all their responsibilities. Many businesses avoid these risks by outsourcing the fleet management to specialists. But, before making any decision, it’s important to understand the risks inherent in fleet management.
1. Your contractors could be deemed employees: Grey areas may exist around the status of a contractor versus an employee. Employing contractors is common in transport and fleet management but getting it wrong can be devastating.
There have been cases where business has employed contactors for greater flexibility believing they will not be responsible for employee entitlements, yet this status has been challenged in the courts and the contractors have been deemed employees at significant financial expense to the business. The business may be ordered to pay huge sums in unpaid entitlements along with other financial penalties.
2. Chain of responsibility legislation and other compliance: There are rules around commercial driving, such as hours worked, and the responsibility is not only with the driver, it may be shared by the employer – and the rules vary by state.
Breaches of “chain of responsibility”, such as driving outside of regulated hours or incorrect restraint of goods, will not only involve financial penalties but also puts company personnel at risk of imprisonment.
These penalties generally apply to everyone responsible if it can be demonstrated that not enough care was taken to train and instruct all necessary personnel, not just the drivers.
3. WorkCover claims: When employing drivers – even contractors – the fleet manager will be liable for any WorkCover claims derived from any injury or illness at work. The “no fault” nature of WorkCover claims makes them difficult to dispute.
4. Maintenance: Fleet managers need to be rigorous with their maintenance schedules because if there is an accident and the vehicle is found to have not been properly maintained then you will be at fault.
This is often more difficult to do than it sounds due to a lack of resources and the demands on the business needing to get all its deliveries out.
5. Safety: Employers will share responsibility if a load is not properly secured or paints or chemicals are transported without adequate safety measures. Employers need to be right on top of safety induction and training for new drivers. But this is a big challenge as turnover among delivery drivers is high.
Is it worth putting up with these issues or is it time to look at other solutions, which remove these risks from your business? Call us on 1300 808 488 to find out how Ontime can help.