Contract managers beware of Mobile Assets (Plant)

In talking to many contract managers that deploy contracts for the purchase, hire, lease, share, and services that use fleet assets to provide services, very few understand their liability related to the said mobile assets.

Firstly, we need to clearly define what assets we are talking about,

Plant includes any machinery, equipment, appliance, container, implement and tool, and includes any component or anything fitted or connected to any of those things. Plant includes items as diverse as lifts, cranes, computers, machinery, conveyors, forklifts, vehicles, power tools and amusement devices.

You guessed it just about everything mobile!

So, there are really 2 areas we need to concentrate on:

  • From a risk perspective how safe is our plant? Have we undertaken a risk assessment that clearly identifies any risk, for cars, and some trucks? A lot of this is done for you as part of the registration and Australian design rule requirements. But for earthmoving machinery, cranes, conveyers, forklifts etc you really need a formal risk assessment. This risk assessment also needs to be reviewed throughout the life of the machine (normally annually).
  • From an equipment maintenance perspective, plant must be maintained and repaired according to the manufacturer’s specifications, or, in the absence of such specifications, in accordance with a competent person’s recommendations. 
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The interesting part is always when and how do you show evidence that this is being done. You may have procured, hired or leased an asset, but do you have evidence that your obligations as the contract manager are being met? Likewise, in the situation where you may deploy a contract that is enabled by plant, road maintenance, waste collection, mowing of parks, or even delivery of meals on wheels. Your defence cannot be I am sorry your honour, I thought since I had procured these assets or services it was no longer my responsibility to monitor safety systems and risk.

Contract principals cannot under any circumstances abdicate risk it is the principals, ie the person paying the money must ensure they have evidence risk assessments (prestart is a good example) and maintenance tasks are taking place.

The argument becomes even more compelling in Australia when a commercial vehicle exceeds 4500kg Gross Vehicle Mass. In this circumstance the law has even more jurisdiction as to what a contract principal has to ensure all participants in the service delivery process have and continue to use safety management systems.

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Under the Heavy Vehicle chain of responsibility (COR) contract principles must monitor:

  • Speed – incidents caused by speeding heavy vehicles and breaches of speed compliance requirements.
  • Fatigue – incidents caused by drivers being impaired by fatigue and breaches of fatigue management requirements.
  • Mass, Dimension and Loading – incidents caused by incorrectly positioned or restrained loads, and overloaded or over-dimensional heavy vehicles, and breaches of mass, dimension and loading requirements.
  • Vehicle Standards – incidents caused by poorly maintained, unsafe or defective heavy vehicles and breaches of vehicle standards requirements.

Again, contract managers must monitor and ensure that processes relating to the safety management are undertaken regularly. They cannot abdicate responsibility.

By using simple processes in our fleet data analytics, Uniqco have developed a traffic light reporting system that monitors all aspects of contract compliance, irrespective of, if the assets are owned, hired, leased, or part of a contract that is enabled by vehicles.

We at Uniqco take this very seriously, because even something as small as a chainsaw, or leaf blower must be included in this compliance. Partnering with Portt Procurement and Contract management software, we are now able to ensure all aspects of contract compliance are covered. From the stage of request for quote, tender or price we monitor contract compliance for the life of an asset.

So join us in our seminar series

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Uniqco fleet data analytics is a company that provides a software to merge data from multiple sources to deliver easy to use fleet data analytics to monitor financial risk and safety compliance. Grant Andrews the Managing Director of the Uniqco Group was the main author of the Institute of Public Works Australasia Plant and Vehicle management manual 1st 2nd and 3rd edition and regularly commentates on the stories behind fleet data

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