Five Ways GPS Vehicle Tracking can help with Health and Safety Management

In New Zealand, all businesses are required to adhere to the Health and Safety at Work Act which came into effect in April 2016. The intention is to give workers and others the highest level of protection from workplace health and safety risks, as is reasonable.

Vehicles as Workplaces

Under the new Act, vehicles, vessels and other mobile structures (e.g. tele-handler) that are used to carry out work whether this is at the worksite, traveling between worksites or to perform work-related activities, are regarded as ‘workplaces’. This means businesses need to identify and manage the risks that vehicles pose to their workers and others AND consider risks associated with their workers as drivers/operators of vehicles. See this presentation by E-road and detailed information on the Worksafe website

Responsibilities of business owners and directors

According to HazardCo a provider of Health and Safety advisory services “one of the main changes is a shift from compliance to actively managing risk every day”. As someone responsible for a business you need to:

  • be actively monitoring workplace health and safety so that you have relevant and up to date information to hand
  • have processes in place to receive, consider and respond to information about incidents, hazards and risks (See Worksafe’s information on due diligence)

For more information check out this useful resource produced by KPMG

In this Blog I would like to outline five key ways that GPS vehicle tracking can support your business to manage vehicles as ‘workplaces’ and your processes to receive, consider and respond to health and safety information.

1. Providing safe vehicles for your workers to operate

It is important to ensure that any vehicles your workers are using are up-to-date with service and repairs, and certified to be on the road or used on the worksite. GPS tracking systems have the capability to monitor and provide reminders for regular service, maintenance and certification compliance. The GPS system will track the mileage or operating hours of the vehicle and match this to service and certification requirements ensuring you are given ample warning to schedule in maintenance.

2. Monitoring and improving driver behaviour

When your workers are operating vehicles as part of their work duties you need to know that they are doing so in a way that will not put their own and others’ health and safety at risk. GPS tracking systems can give you visibility of your employees driving behaviour, support conversations around safe operations of vehicles and promote a culture of safe driving. With GPS systems you can monitor:

  • Overspeed
  • Harsh cornering (which may indicate driving too fast for the conditions, not anticipating the road ahead)
  • Excessive Braking (which may indicate tailgating, not anticipating road ahead)
  • Harsh acceleration (which may indicate dangerous or careless driving)
  • Driving hours

Some GPS tracking systems include in-vehicle screens to alert drivers of their driving behaviour. While these solutions make drivers aware of their driving they may also act as a distraction, which in itself can be a hazard so consider carefully if you need this option.

3. Notification of impact/crash

If one of your workers is involved in a crash, GPS device sensors can detect impact and instantly notify you and others of your choice. The GPS system will provide the location of the incident so you can take action.

4. Safety tools for drivers

If drivers who are transporting passengers, working alone, or operating vehicles in remote and off-road locations get into strife, they can press in-vehicle SOS buttons. You will be instantly alerted and provided with the location of the vehicle so you can take action. A live tracking system means you can easily and accurately direct help to your employees.

Geofencing hazardous areas can also allow your GPS tracking system to alert staff and operators that they are approaching or are travelling too fast in a potentially dangerous work area.

5. Visibility of employees out on the road, at worksites and in the field/forest

As part of your responsibility to actively monitor the health and safety of your workers, it is important to have visibility of your workers whereabouts when they are carrying out work duties outside of the depot/office. With a GPS tracking system, you can quickly see where your workers are while they are working, know that they have arrived on a worksite and left a worksite and are on their way home safe. You don’t need to disrupt drivers with a phone call.

A GPS vehicle tracking system can provide you with a tool for identifying, removing and minimising hazards. It can also help your business have processes in place to receive, consider and respond to health and safety information about your workers and workplaces. Live tracking, vehicle maintenance monitoring and driver behaviour reporting are all great tools to have in your Health and Safety kit.

If you would like information about how Fleetpin support small to medium business with tools for Health and Safety management, please give us a call on 0800 110 820 or send us an email.