How Chain of Responsibility Affects Your Fleet Management
Freight transport powers the Australian economy. It not only provides goods for thousands of people daily but also provides job opportunities to many others. But it’s also one of the riskiest professions to be in, as road accidents can cause serious injuries or even death.
In most cases, these accidents happen due to a fault in the supply chain or fleet management – driver fatigue, scheduler mismanagement, speed, overloading, etc. These accidents raised red flags, and the Australian Government passed the Heavy Vehicle National Law Act 2013 and modified the Chain of Responsibility laws to curb on-road risks and ensure safety.
In October 2018, the Government made some changes. It widened the Chain of Responsibility (CoR) horizon to make roads safer and help logistics companies minimise the on-road hazards and risks.
Earlier, CoR laws only affected parties involved (on-road parties) in the supply chain. Now everyone who controls or influences the transport tasks must comply with Heavy Vehicle National Law and CoR to ensure safety. We’ll discuss more about the Chain of Responsibility in a bit.
First, let’s see how the HVNL and CoR laws will affect the fleet management of your supply chain or logistics company, and should you, as a fleet manager, comply with the regulations if you’re not already?
CoR For Fleet Management in Supply Chain
Any company that owns or operates commercial vehicles to run their business successfully will need fleet management. It’s a system that allows you to see the performance of your fleet, location of vehicles (via Truck GPS), oversee fuel consumption and manage drivers.
The ultimate goal of a fleet manager in a supply chain is to manage the workforce, maintain vehicles, make sure the fleet follows legal regulations, and optimise other fleet operations.
Unfortunately, almost 85% of Australian Supply Network doesn’t know they have legal liability and possess a risk for prosecution for their actions or inactions concerning transport tasks. Therefore the Chain of Responsibility is essential for effective fleet management in a supply chain – it ensures the safety of everyone from top to bottom.
Chain of Responsibility & How To EASILY Employ It
Chain of Responsibility isn’t just a good idea – it’s the LAW!
On-road safety is at the heart of the Chain of Responsibility legislation. It demands that each party involved in the supply chain with influence or control over the transport task should work in conjunction to ensure safety and prevent hazards. These responsibilities may include ensuring drivers get proper rest, load on the vehicles don’t exceed the limit, and identifying whether vehicles are fit for driving or not.
First, perform a CoR audit to identify the loopholes in your supply chain and find out areas of improvement – it may be the case that you need truck GPS, better scheduling, or manage freight efficiently.
The audit will provide detailed feedback for your logistics company. But remember, the feedback shouldn’t beat up your employees or freight providers; it should be constructive and help you understand your CoR responsibilities.
At Maez, we understand that it’s easier said than done. Therefore, to comply with CoR, we recommend our Chain of Responsibility software, CoRGuard. It can handle multiple types of vendors and transport suppliers. You can track hazards, renew licenses and have executive controls over your business without being physically there.
The Heavy Vehicle National Law
The HVNL came into force in February 2014. However, the Chain of Responsibility laws has been in power in some Australian states from as early as the 1980s.
HVNL defines the minimum standards of fleet management and logistics companies and penalties for parties involved in road safety. The law promotes a cultural shift for efficient transportation of goods and protection on Australian roads.
Some of the elements in Heavy Vehicle National Law (HVNL) are:
- Safe loading and unloading of freight,
- Driver fatigue management,
- Registration and health of vehicles,
- Mass and dimension of vehicles.
Penalties Under HVNL
There are three categories of penalties for both companies and an individual. Each offence carries one penalty – this means if an individual or company is caught for, say, two violations, they are liable to pay for both the penalties.
The legislation holds as many as 334 penalties in which fines can exceed up to $22,430.
Category of Offence
Penalty in AUD
Category of Offence
Penalty in AUD
$3,00,000 + Maximum 5 Years in Prison
CoR and WHS Alignment
The changes made in the Chain of Responsibility in October 2018 brings a holistic approach towards road safety. Consequently, the Workplace Health and Safety (WHS) laws now align with HVNL.
WHS laws are practices to mitigate or prevent workplace health hazards and risks such as injury, mishaps or illnesses. Like CoR, there are legal responsibilities for everyone in the workplace to ensure the health and safety of workers in the business under the WHS Act.
The alignment of CoR and WHS provides a robust environment in the workplace; it distributes responsibilities and ensures the overall safety of the people involved in running the business.
Are you liable for safety in your supply chain?
Gone are those days when off-road parties in Australia were not considered liable for road hazards and their prevention. With revised CoR laws, anyone in the supply chain or fleet management with influence or control over transport tasks will be liable for ensuring safety.
These off-road parties might include:
- Executive (director of the company or any person that has a part in the company’s management),
- Loaders and unloaders,
- Consignors and consignees,
- The receiver of goods,
- Drivers and co-drivers.
Note: This is not an exhaustive list.
Further, it’s the responsibility of the company executive to do the due diligence. We have seen several cases in court blaming directors and executives as they didn’t take action to ensure safety even after knowing the risks. They paid hefty penalties nonetheless.
Whether you own the trucks or not, you’re accountable for making roads safer within the bounds of your fleet management (therefore, it’s an excellent idea to have truck GPS installed).
In Conclusion – What is your responsibility for a safer Australia?
Transport and logistics are dangerous businesses to be in, and undoubtedly, one of the most crucial ones. There are goods, essentials, foods and everyday items that get loaded and unloaded daily. There are long and risky roads to be covered by our drivers daily. These things may get lost when you’ve everything on your plate, but it can sometimes cost the lives of drivers and other innocent people.
Whether you’re the director of the company or just a simple person with an influence in a fleet management or supply chain company, ensuring that every piece fits in the right place, just on your part, will make the roads safer and prevent accidents.
Chain of Responsibility isn’t a facade; it’s your legal and ethical responsibility towards other human beings, ensuring Australian roads safety, and contribute your bit to the economy’s betterment.