Risk management for public entities: Accident and incident reporting for fleet programs

Public entities often rely on their fleet programs to deliver essential public services. Managing the risks associated with fleet programs is a fundamental part of operators’ legal and moral duty of care and can drive significant benefits

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Public entities often rely on their fleet programs to deliver essential public services. Managing the risks associated with fleet programs is a fundamental part of operators’ legal and moral duty of care and can drive significant benefits, which include:

  • Enhanced safety culture
  • Improved fleet operations
  • Reduced insurance premiums

To help ensure the safety of their staff and the safe operation of their vehicle fleets, public entities need to clearly outline actions to take when an accident occurs. Below are some common factors that lead to accidents:

  • Poor visibility (for example, inclement weather and darkness)
  • Fatigue
  • Operating at high-speed
  • Working near obstacles for example, parked cars)
  • Driving on unpaved roads
  • Driving in remote locations

It is always best practice to plan and to be prepared, should an accident occur. It is recommended that the following be kept inside the vehicle:

  • Copy of the internal incident report form
  • Contact information of insurance company or broker

When an accident occurs, it is important to report it in a timely and appropriate matter. In doing so, it helps ensure:

  • Staff members involved receive immediate support
  • Comprehensive documentation of the accident is completed
  • Public entity is able to fulfill its reporting requirements to the following:
    • Police
    • Insurer
    • Internal health and safety department
    • Provincial Ministry of Labour (or equivalent)
  • Lessons are learned to help prevent future reoccurrence

What to do when involved in an accident:

  • Stay calm:
    • Assess whether it is safe to exit the vehicle
    • Do not argue with the other driver or other parties
  • Don’t assume liability:
    • Do not make an official statement unless it is to the police
    • Do not assume liability at any time nor take responsibility
    • Do not promise to make payment for damage
  • Don’t leave the scene:
    • If it is safe to do so, get out of the car and wait at a safe area
    • Do not attempt to cross traffic
  • Check for any injured individuals:
    • If injuries have occurred, do not move the individuals. Call emergency services and wait for help.
  • Move the vehicle off the road:
    • If it is safe to do so, move the vehicle away from traffic onto the shoulder
    • If it is not safe to move, turn on its hazard lights or set up traffic cones, flares or flags
  • Call the police:
    The police are required to attend all government vehicle accidents, regardless of the extent of the damage. If any of the following has occurred, include those details when you call:
    • Death or injury
    • Over $2,000 in damages to vehicles
    • Damage to private or municipal property
    • Pedestrian involvement
    • Other driver is uninsured
    • Suspect violation of criminal act for example, driving under the influence of alcohol)
  • Call supervisory staff
    • If accident occurs after-hours or on a weekend, call dispatch or after-hours supervisory staff
  • Collect information:
    • Take photos of the vehicle and accident scene
    • Write down information regarding weather and road conditions
    • If accident involved another driver, collect and exchange information with them, including:
      • Driver’s name
      • Driver’s contact number
      • Driver’s license number
      • Vehicle plate number
      • Insurance policy number
    • If anyone else witnessed the accident, collect statements from them, including names and contact information
  • Report to designated contacts for the following groups:
    • Health and safety department
    • Labour partner
    • Provincial Ministry of Labour
  • Provide accident/incident form to your health and safety department

Roles and responsibilities

In order to report the accident appropriately, involved staff, supervisory staff, and the insurance and risk manager need to be aware of their respective roles and responsibilities following an accident:

  • Staff
  • Call the police
  • Call emergency services if there is an injury
  • Call supervisory staff
  • Complete the internal accident/incident report form
  • Contact supervisor for support and/or help on completing the report form
  • Supervisory staff
  • Ensure that all information related to accident is submitted by staff
  • Provide support to staff when liaising with other parties:
    • Police
    • Witnesses
    • Other drivers
  • Report to the health and safety department
  • Provide accident/incident form to the health and safety department
  • Report the accident to insurance and risk manager
  • Insurance and risk manager
  • Review information submitted by staff related to incident
  • Report the incident to insurer

Summary

Even though public entities take great care to provide safe operation of their fleets, accidents sometimes do occur. When they do, it is important to have a plan in place to help ensure that staff receive immediate support, there is comprehensive documentation of the accident, and the public entity is able to fulfill its reporting requirements and address lessons learned to prevent reoccurrences.

If you require additional information, please contact your Marsh Client representative.