Skip to main content





Often management will discuss the organisations fleet without an understanding of its place in the business model or its complexity. Those with the responsibility for running the fleet are left to muddle through this most important activity.

In terms of cost and potential impact on the organisation the fleet activity is high on the list. The majority of OH&S risk, and as a consequence legal risk, for the organisation issues will come from its fleet operations. Fleet will most likely be the third highest financial cost for the organisation. Therefore, the successful and efficient management of this task will deliver substantial benefit to the organisation.

Any activity concerning the movement of materials, product or people facilitated by, whether sanctioned directly or indirectly, under the instruction, for the benefit of the organisation carries a none transferable legal responsibility and liability.

The essential components of business, fleet, there relationship and the shared operational environment.

  • The business imperative (provide a product/service at an acceptable market price)
  • Your business model (The industry you are in and how it determines your actions)
  • Your Contractual Obligations (Specifications whether private/government authorities)
  • Your Methods of Working (How you do things/undertake business activities)
  • Regulatory Environment (Laws and regulations)

Using vehicles in business gives rise to risk:

  • Safety Risk (Provision of a safe workplace)
  • Liability Risk (Legislative)
  • Operational Risk (Production/Business interruption)
  • Financial Risk (Damage/loss to people/equipment)
  • Reputation Risk (Negative publicity)

Regulatory Environment

  • Regulatory Environment (Laws and regulations) such as:
    • Legislation General (OH&S & Duty of Care, COR & Fatigue Management)
    • Legislation Specific (Load restraint/overloading/oversize, Hazchem etc)

There should be no confusion over the regulatory system. It has no intention of providing a fair and equitable relationship. Its sole aim is to force you to control and manage your activities to ensure a safe workplace for your employees and that your activities do not adversely impact on others not in your employment.

How do you do this in a fleet context?

Organisations are required to develop a ‘Management Control System’ which Identify transport needs and any potential risks (taking into consideration that normally a fleet can consist of a number of differing vehicle groupings: tool of trade, positional entitlement, pool, Novated, short term hire and grey fleet all of which have unique requirements and controls).

Management Control System

The organisations management needs to know what is being done under its instruction or on its behalf, whether it sanctioned the activity or not. Regardless of what you do the organisation has a legal responsibility to:

  • Undertake a risk assessment of its operations
  • Produce a risk analysis and mitigation plan
  • Define activities and processes that are required to be actively managed more importantly produce policies and procedures to define how the management of these will be done.
  • Have system reviews to identify shortcomings and react to system failures
  • Take ‘Corrective Action’ where system weaknesses and failures are detected
  • Provide such information, instruction, training and supervision as may be necessary to ensure employees ‘Health and Safety’ at work.
  • Ensure that you have done all that is considered to be ‘Reasonably Practical’
  • What does ‘Reasonably Practical’ mean? You must decide based on your particular operations and methods of working.
  • Your only defence is that you can show that it was not reasonably practical to comply with the provision of the Act

Effectiveness v Efficiency

Effectiveness v Efficiency or planned outcome verses the best outcome. The essence of management is to develop visibility and the ability to exercise control of the organisations activities to meet a designed outcome.

The Management Imperative:

  • The first imperative is to achieve the planned outcome.
  • The second imperative is to achieve the planned out come via the most efficient application of the organizations current methods of working.
  • The third imperative is to search for alternate methods of working (benchmarking and reengineering) to achieve continuous process improvement and outcomes.
  • The fourth imperative is to ensure that in an ever changing world the key performance indicators (KPI’s) used by the organisation remain current and relevant.

Legal KPI’s

High Court of Australia defined the organisational obligation under OH&S legislation pertaining to a legal ‘duty of care’ requirement in its review of Kirk v Industrial Relations Commission; Kirk Group Holdings Pty Ltd v Work Cover Authority of New South Wales (Inspector Childs) updated 3 February 2010. This case was an important milestone in defining the depth and detail of management expected of organisations.