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Chain of Responsibility
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Frequently Asked Questions
What is the Chain of Responsibility (or CoR)?
The Chain of Responsibility is a statutory principle within Australia’s transport and logistics sector. Enshrined under the HVNL, it distributes legal accountability for road safety to every stakeholder with influence over transport activities, not merely the drivers.
The essence of CoR is to ensure that safe practices are a collective commitment along the supply chain, embracing individuals and businesses alike—this includes packers, loaders, consignors, consignees, dispatchers, fleet managers, and executives.
A more in-depth explanation of CoR can be found HERE.
How Does the Heavy Vehicle National Law (or HVNL) Affect My Business?
The HVNL becomes relevant to your business if you’re part of the heavy vehicle transport supply chain.
Its reach spans beyond mere vehicle operation to encapsulate maintenance, loading, and scheduling—any aspect affecting heavy vehicle safety.
Businesses must integrate HVNL compliance into their operations, ensuring every action aligns with the law’s safety regulations.
What changes are being made regarding the Heavy Vehicle National Law (or HVNL)?
In 2018, the Queensland parliament passed legislation that enacted a revised HVNL, mostly known as legislation ensuring Chain of Responsibility.
Staying abreast of changes to the HVNL is crucial for maintaining compliance and avoiding penalties.
Proposed amendments often focus on increasing road safety and aligning responsibilities accurately among supply chain participants. These changes may include revisions to fatigue management, vehicle standards, and loading regulations.
Businesses should monitor communications from the National Heavy Vehicle Regulator (NHVR) to implement updated compliance measures proactively.
The Necessity of CoR Training within the Supply Chain
The short answer is yes.
Training in CoR laws is essential for workers in the supply chain to comprehend and fulfil their legal obligations under the HVNL.
CoR training ensures that personnel are aware of the impact of their actions on road safety and compliance. It also contributes to a culture of safety, reducing the risk of accidents and legal infractions.
Operating Time Restrictions for Trucks
The HVNL includes regulations on the number of hours trucks can operate to manage driver fatigue, a critical factor in vehicle safety. These rules must be carefully followed to avoid heavy fines and ensure the well-being of drivers and other road users.
Heavy Vehicle Load Limits
Heavy vehicles are subject to weight limits to prevent overloading, which can affect vehicle handling and road conditions. Compliance with these limits is vital for safety and to avoid penalties.
The NHVR provides guidelines to assist with load compliance and mass management.
Compliance with Authority Demands for Information
If authorities request information, businesses must comply by law.
This cooperation ensures transparency and upholds the objectives of the HVNL, which include public safety and fair transport operations. Maintaining documented procedures and records is critical to support efficient compliance in such scenarios.
Documenting Workplace Procedures: A Must or a Maybe?
Even with multiple procedures in place, documenting them is essential for validating compliance. Should a breach occur, thorough records become a business’s defence, showing due diligence and responsibility under the CoR.
Required Documentation for On-Site Driver Time
The HVNL may require businesses to record the time a driver spends on site, emphasizing the management of fatigue. This documentation assists in aligning duty periods with safety thresholds and legal requirements.
The Adequacy of Signing a Fitness to Drive Declaration
While signing a fitness to drive document is fundamental, it is only one component of verifying a driver’s condition. Ongoing assessments, health checks, and fatigue management support a more comprehensive approach to ensuring driver fitness for work.
Ensuring CoR Compliance by Transportation Partners
You are responsible for ensuring that any third-party carriers transporting your goods are CoR compliant. This due diligence protects your business from vicarious liability and contributes to safety in the larger transport ecosystem.
Executive Responsibility for CoR Breaches
Yes, as a CEO or director, you have a non-delegatable duty to ensure CoR compliance.
Regardless of the level of direct involvement, senior executives can be held responsible for breaches, making oversight and governance pivotal to legal adherence and safety.
GPS Telematics as a Shield from Prosecution
While GPS telematics can provide crucial data for compliance and safety management, they don’t guarantee immunity from prosecution. They should be part of a comprehensive CoR compliance strategy that includes training, systems, and procedures.
Must trucks be checked before operating on each shift?
While there is no pre-requisite to ensure a truck or heavy vehicle is checked before each shift. The HVNL or Heavy Vehicle National Law states that no truck should be used if it is deemed unsafe. So if you were asked how you ensure a truck is safe, a truck check might be one solution of many to ensure a vehicle is safe to use.
Most manufacturers stipulate a pre-start check for the heavy vehicles they manufacture. Failing to adhere to this standard, may hold you in neglect of your duty.
What role does driver health play in CoR?
Driver health is a pivotal aspect of CoR, as it directly impacts safety. Under the HVNL, businesses must ensure that drivers’ health does not compromise their ability to operate heavy vehicles safely.
Are there CoR implications for vehicle maintenance records?
Absolutely, meticulous maintenance records are a CoR requirement. Through these records, businesses must demonstrate their commitment to vehicle safety and roadworthiness.
How do loading practices affect CoR compliance?
Loading practices have a significant impact on CoR compliance. Incorrect loading can result in accidents and infractions, for which parties involved in the loading process might be held responsible.
Can technology help manage compliance with fatigue regulations?
Yes, software applications can help track and manage compliance with fatigue regulations, aiding in the scheduling and monitoring driver hours to comply with HVNL mandates.
What steps should a business take to foster a CoR compliant culture?
Creating a CoR-compliant culture involves regular training, clear communication on policies, and engagement at all levels of the organization to prioritize safety.
How frequently should CoR compliance be audited internally?
The frequency of internal audits should match the operational pace and risk profile of the business, with regular checks ensuring ongoing adherence to CoR regulations.
Can subcontractors be held liable for HVNL breaches?
Subcontractors bear their share of responsibility under HVNL and can be held liable for breaches, necessitating thorough vetting and contractual terms reinforcing CoR compliance.
Does the HVNL dictate specific equipment for heavy vehicles?
The HVNL outlines equipment standards that ensure safety and efficiency in operation, and non-compliance with these standards can result in legal consequences.
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