Operators of Machines & Vehicles


Operators of Machines & Vehicles
Compliance with recommendations, guidelines, standards and legislations

Over recent weeks we have noticed a greater focus by insurers around checking that operators of machinery and vehicles are suitably qualified and adequately experienced to operate and use the machinery/vehicle.  This increased focus is occurring at claims time, and is causing some concern by clients who haven’t encountered this previously.

We thought it would a timely reminder to highlight the conditions and exclusions contained in many insurance policies.

Conditions are contractual requirements that you must comply with in order for the insurance policy to respond.  Should you not comply with the policy conditions you may be denied cover under the policy.

Here is an example of such a policy condition that can be found in insurance policies covering mobile plant and machinery:

Compliance with recommendations, guidelines, standards and legislation

The Insured shall at all times:

  1. service, maintain, use and operate the Machines and any vehicles strictly in accordance with:
  1. manufacturers’ and distributors’ recommendations and guidelines; and
  2. systems and procedures imposed or recommended by law, International Standards, Australian Standards and industry standards;
  1. ensure that anyone servicing, maintaining, using, or engaging in the operation of the Machines and any vehicles complies strictly with:
  1. manufacturers’ and distributors’ recommendations and guidelines; and
  2. systems and procedures imposed or recommended by law, International Standards, Australian Standards and industry standards;
  1. not permit unqualified or inadequately experienced persons to engage in the operation or use of the Machines and any vehicles;
  2. ensure that anyone operating or using a Machine, Road Vehicle or Motor Vehicle is:
  1. qualified and adequately experienced to operate or use it;
  2. provided with suitable training in its operation or use before operating or using it; and
  3. not suffering from a physical or mental impairment of ability to operate or use it;

If Damage results from a failure to comply with the above obligations, the Insurer may be entitled to refuse to pay the indemnity against that Damage or to significantly reduce the amount that the Insurer will pay.

Some exclusions do not apply if the Insured satisfies the Insurer that the Insured has complied with the recommendations, guidelines, systems and procedures and taken steps to avoid Damage occurring.

  1. Reasonable Precaution

The Insured shall at all times take all reasonable precautions to prevent loss, damage, injury or liability.

Quite apart from the need to protect employees and others on work sites as part of good health and safety practices, it is important that employees are provided with appropriate levels of training and guidance around the use of plant and machinery.  

Training or instruction should be done prior to the use of the machine or plant item, and carried out by an experienced operator.  We recommend training and instruction be recorded/logged as evidence of it having been provided.

In terms of maintenance of vehicles and mobile plant equipment, we recommend that servicing be carried out on a regular and scheduled basis, and “high use” items be given particular attention (especially tyre tread and brake systems).

If you would like any assistance on this, or to talk through any other insurance or risk management issue, please contact us at JRI on 0800 RING JRI.

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