Safety management for authorised booking services

A critical part of meeting safety requirements for a booking service is developing and using a Safety Management System, customised to your business.

  About safety management systems

A safety management system is a set of policies, procedures and plans that systematically manage health and safety by identifying safety risks and putting in place steps to mitigate them.

A safety management system must:

  • identify reasonably foreseeable hazards and assess the level of risk of each of these;
  • include procedures to eliminate or minimise the hazards/risks identified; 
  • be documented in writing and readily accessible by people who need to use it; and
  • be regularly reviewed, evaluated and updated.

The size and nature of authorised booking services can vary from a sole operator with one vehicle to a corporation that dispatches work to a large number of vehicles. This will determine how much detail a safety management system contains.

Further down on this page, you can find resources made by the Department of Transport (DoT) to help you develop your own Safety Management System, including:

  • A guide to developing your Safety Management System;
  • Safety Management System Case Studies; and
  • a range of templates you can tailor to your own business.

There are also many helpful resources online to assist on-demand booking services to understand and develop a suitable safety management system.

The Australian Maritime Safety Authority website below provides templates which can be adapted to an on-demand transport context.

The NSW Roads and Maritime Services ’Safety Management System Guidelines’ provides useful content and resources, particularly for bus operators.

Australia Maritime Safety Authority: safety management system templates
NSW Roads and Maritime Services: BOAS Safety Management System Guidelines - Appendix 5

Your guide to developing a safety management system

A safety management system should match the services an ODBS provides. Whether you’re a sole operator with one vehicle in the metropolitan area, or a larger ODBS in regional WA, every organisation must take the time to develop a Safety Management System and review and maintain it over time.

When developing a Safety Management System, ODBSs should follow six steps:

  1. Identify your hazards.
  2. Assess the level of risk associated with each hazard.
  3. Respond to your hazard based on the level of risk.
  4. Train drivers and staff in effective communications and safe behaviours.
  5. Manage and record incidents and complaints.
  6. Review and update your Safety Management System regularly.

The Department of Transport (DoT) has developed A guide to developing your Safety Management System (the Guide). This document:

  • explains the key elements of a Safety Management System (including the six steps outlined above); 
  • helps you identify all foreseeable hazards and assess the level of risk each one has; and 
  • provides guidance around procedures and policies to effectively address your hazards. 

Read the Guide below.

We have also developed a range of case studies (below), where you can see the Guide put into practice for several different types of ODBSs. 

Future resources

The Guide and Case Studies represent the “gold standard” in Safety Management System development, however we recognise that it’s not necessary for every ODBS to include this level of detail in their own Safety Management System. 

We are currently working on developing simpler safety management resources for smaller operators – keep a lookout over the next few months for more information. 

  ODBS audit requirements and checklist

Officers will attend and perform audits to ensure service providers are meeting their obligations. To help operators prepare for an audit, officers will provide an audit checklist to guide the discussions. Visit Education and Compliance for more information about audits.

A version of the audit checklist will be used in any audits undertaken on ODBSs by DoT Education and Compliance Officers.

This document provides an overall summary of all auditable activities, to help guide business planning.
The audit checklist covers the following areas:

  • authorisation;
  • safety management system;
  • vehicle and driver safety standards;
  • complaints resolution process;
  • advertising;
  • fares; and
  • record keeping.

A range of accompanying checklists (below) include:

  • Driver sampling;
  • Records sampling;
  • Vehicle sampling OD-C (charter);
  • Vehicle sampling OD-RH (taxi); and
  • Vehicle sampling supplementary WAV.

DoT has developed sample resources based on the audit checklist, which ODBSs can adapt for their own business purposes to assist in meeting their responsibilities – check these out further down the page.

Please note, these resources are provided as a guide only and may or may not be sufficient to address the needs of a specific business. Further resources will be added over time.

  Identifying hazards

The resources on this page can assist booking services in meeting their risk management obligations.

Please note, the below templates are provided as a guide only and may or may not be sufficient to address the needs of a specific business.



Fatigue can have physical and mental effects which can severely impair judgement and concentration and is involved in up to 30% of fatal crashes and severe injuries.

Top tips for avoiding driver fatigue include:

  • Don't drive more than 14 hours within a 24 hour period;
  • Don't drive while tired and disclose issues that may affect your fatigue levels to the Operator;
  • Stop and take regular breaks to walk around (e.g. at least once every 2 hours); and
  • Don't rely on quick fix 'stay awakes' such as double dose coffee, energy drinks or tablets.

The Act applies the Work Health and Safety Act requirements (Work Health and Safety Act 2020) for fatigue management that apply to all passenger transport drivers. This includes all taxi, charter, rideshare and regular passenger transport drivers.

WorkSafe provide a suite of resources that can assist a booking service to meet their obligations to understand and manage fatigue. The link below includes help to develop a plan and links to training resources for drivers and operators.

Department of Mines, Industry Regulation and Safety: Work Health and Safety Act 2020 (WA)
Opens in a new window WorkSafe: Fatigue Management Training


Your safety management system should include measures to mitigate the risk of violence and abuse towards drivers and passengers. 

The following are some mitigations that you might consider.

Vehicle modifications

Many vehicles can have physical barriers installed to separate the driver from passengers. If you are considering installing barriers please keep in mind that some vehicle modifications require special approval.

Camera surveillance units

Though mandatory in on-demand rank or hail PTVs (taxis), all passenger transport service providers can utilise cameras to provide extra security for their customers and drivers. Visit Camera surveillance units for further information.

Driver training

Training drivers on effective communications and safe behaviours is one way you can equip them with skills to better service your customers as well as assist them to avoid or diffuse conflict situations.


Keeping a record of passengers, addresses or phone numbers associated with abusive passengers can assist you to ensure that drivers are not exposed to unnecessary risk.

Purpose built taxis

A number of models of purpose built taxi vehicles are available. These vehicles often provide additional security for drivers with separate passenger compartments.

Further information is available at Driver safety and rights.

If your driver is involved in an incident of abuse or assault you should always report it to Police. ODBSs and drivers are also obligated to report notifiable occurrences to DoT – this can be completed via DoTDirect. Visit On-demand Transport industry portals for further information.

  Driver competency

Drivers must be able to demonstrate competence in:

  • general passenger safety;
  • wheelchair accessible vehicle (WAV) equipment and operation; and
  • driving WAVs.

The below resources and information can assist booking services in meeting their on-boarding and training obligations.

Please note, these resources are provided as a guide only and may or may not be sufficient to address the needs of a specific business.

ODBSs can use the Driver and Vehicle Industry Dashboard (DVID) manage their associated drivers and vehicles and meet their safety duties. Authorised booking services can access the DVID to check the licence, registration and authorisation status of their drivers and vehicles.

The dashboard is accessible through the booking service’s DoTDirect account.

Visit On-demand Transport industry portals for further information.

  Driver distraction

Driver distraction or inattention has been found to be a contributing factor in 78% of crashes and 65% of near crashes. Driver distraction can be due to:

  • navigation systems;
  • mail/internet/technology/devices;
  • loose or unrestrained object(s);
  • passengers; or
  • pedestrians.

Top driver distraction tips

  • While scanning and searching for passengers, maintain concentration on the road and on pulling into the kerb safely.
  • Before pulling out to drive, ensure technological equipment (e.g. satellite navigation device or dispatch equipment) is set up and operational.
  • While driving, don't have a private phone conversation, complete paperwork, operate technological equipment, eat or drink.

The Road Safety Commission provides further information on mobile phone use while driving (below).

Opens in a new window Road Safety Commission: Mobile phones

  Transporting vulnerable people

Your safety management system should include measures to mitigate the risk of death or injury to people with disability. The needs of people with disability are diverse, however there are some specific things you should consider.


A driver of a wheelchair accessible vehicle must be able to demonstrate competency in the safe loading, restraint and unloading of a person in a wheelchair. For more information, visit Transporting people with disability.

Use of wheelchair lifts and restraint systems

Wheelchair accessible vehicles (WAVs) require specific competencies to be used safely and Australian Standards apply. A WAV is either manufactured with wheelchair access or is modified to provide wheelchair access. If modified, the modification needs special DoT approval.

Both the wheelchair hoist and wheelchair restraint systems must be used in accordance with the manufacturer's specifications. Your procedures and training materials must ensure that drivers are competent with these systems, as well as be aware of what mobility devices can and cannot be lifted and restrained while passengers are seated in them.

Assistance animals

For information on general rights of access for assistance animals visit The Australian Human Rights Commission. The website provides details on how to identify assistance animals that you should include in your driver training.

In addition to general protections for people using assistance animals, the Act and regulations also provides that drivers must ensure that people traveling with assistance animals are not refused transport because they have an assistance animal.

Hearing and vision impairment

People with hearing and vision impairment may need additional consideration. For example, technologies are available to provide for large font taxi meters or spoken fare notifications.

End-of-trip support

People with disability often have difficulty navigating unfamiliar or uneven streets. Driver training should include considerations of how drivers should ensure that passengers are dropped at safe locations and properly supported to their destinations.

Opens in a new window Department of Education and Training: Myskills
Australian Human Rights Commission website
Opens in a new window Guide Dogs WA

  Vehicle mechanical failure

The below resources and information can assist booking services in meeting their obligations to mitigate the risk of vehicle mechanical failure.

Please note, the below resources are provided as a guide only and may or may not be sufficient to address the needs of a specific business.

Page last updated: Tue Jan 31 2023 11:20:32 AM