In the current environment (COVID-19), one of the options to address social distancing requirements is staff using their own vehicles for work purposes, known as grey fleet. We're aware that this an option that many WA local governments are currently considering.
Although grey fleets may intially be attractive and are becoming more frequent, local governments need to be mindful that their duty of care to provide a safe workplace extends to the use of grey fleet. The following provides guidance on how to manage the risks associated with this.
As grey fleets introduce workplace risks, an assessment should to identify reasonable and practical controls that can be implemented to make sure a safe workplace is maintained. When undertaking the risk assessment, consider the following:
- Do we have an existing policy for this?
- Who may use their vehicle for work purposes?
- Is the driver licensed and is a copy of that license kept on file?
- Is the vehicle fit for purpose and in safe working condition (consider registration, servicing history)?
- What is the vehicle used for, is it just to transport the worker from site to site, or does it include travel to/from home?
- Can you carry other workers being mindful of social distancing requirements?
- Are you required to transport materials and equipment and is the vehicle appropriate for doing this, can that equipment be secured when in transit. Is the vehicle secure if equipment and materials are being stored?
- What existing processes are in place that can be used; consider pre-start checks on vehicles?
- Communicate with workers that all existing workplace policies apply when utilising a private vehicle for work purposes?
- What is the process for reporting incidents, whether related to personal injury or property damage?
- What is the process following an accident?
WorkCare – workers' compensation
A grey fleet arrangement may impact the local government's workers' compensation exposure profile. If staff are allowed to travel from their place of residence to a worksite, rather than commencing their journey from the depot, such journeys may be considered work journeys and attract coverage from workers' compensation.
Usually a commute journey from home to a fixed place of work such as a depot wouldn't generally be captured as a work activity and would not attract workers' compensation coverage. If grey fleets are used clear guidance about travel to and from the workplace by the most direct route needs to be provided to minimise the risk.
Motor vehicle and fleet
The local government's existing motor vehicle and fleet policy will extend the member's protection to employees vehicles whilst the employee is acting on behalf of the member, but only whilst the employee is acting within the scope of their authority and using the vehicle as instructed. There is no need to note the vehicles and pay an annual premium for them, nor will these claims attract an excess.
Vehicles are covered for market value only up to a maximum of $75,000. Including grey fleet in any claims may impact the member's future risk profile and should be carefully considered.
For further OSH support, please contact Emma Horsefield on 0407 957 932, or your Regional Risk Coordinator.
For insurance information, please contact Andrew Greig on 9483 8867 or your LGIS Account Manager