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What is Chain of Responsibility?

Chain of Responsibility is a colloquial term, used to refer to the Heavy Vehicle National Law which defines specific parties in the logistics network who influence a transport activity, and are therefore accountable for safety on the road.

Chain of Responsibility isn't just a good idea - It's the LAW!

There are many instances of a Chain of Responsibility, but in Australia, and more specifically in Australian logistics networks, we have associated Chain of Responsibility also known as CoR, with the Heavy Vehicle National Law.

Some other forms of CoR, where the phrase may not be shared in the same manner are:

Ensuring Safety Of Others

Bringing it back to your logistics network, Chain of Responsibility (or CoR) is about ensuring the safety of others in a supply chain from the top down. A great and very straight forward example of this can be found here on my LinkedIn page.Please feel free to share to those you may feel need to know more, as it is believed that over 65% of Australian Supply Network are still unaware of their transport compliance obligations and over 85% still don’t know they have legal liability or risk for prosecution due to their actions or inaction as a participant in a transport task.

I often talk about safety or compliance training as a key element within any business or PCBU to mitigate the risks of a manager or business itself becoming a target for the Heavy Vehicle Regulator or the Police.

Although Chain of Responsibility (or CoR) compliance training is generally geared towards heavy vehicle truck drivers, anywhere you look. The reality is though that truck drivers only contribute to a small portion of your potential liability. Those that can inflict a more significant legal liability and financial damage in your business include

A message from the director of MAEZ, Matthew Wragg

“Your prospective customers don’t ask about the cost in their first line of questioning anymore. They ask about YOUR safety system.” Chain of responsibility impacts the entire Supply Network, are you ready to provide your safety detail?

Must You Meet Australian Chain of Responsibility?

The Chain of Responsibility (CoR) is an Australian legal framework established under the Heavy Vehicle National Law (HVNL), which essentially directs and ensures all parties involved in heavy vehicle transport are safely transporting their goods. CoR or Chain of Responsibility is not just a phrase; it’s part of doing business in the Australian Supply Chain. CoR legislation casts a wide net, encompassing all those involved in transportation activities, even those who do not operate a vehicle or own vehicles.

If you are involved in any way, whether as a consignor sending goods overseas, a consignee waiting for products to arrive, or a prime contractor making decisions, packing, loading, or scheduling, you have a stake in the outcome. It is your legal liability and responsibility to ensure that the heavy vehicles you operate are safe or load your product onto, are compliant with all applicable regulations, and are up to par so as not to put people or public infrastructure at risk.

Never for a second consider that ignoring these obligations is a wise course of action. Putting your head into a bucket of sand can have serious financial consequences, such as large fines, company obligations, or, in the worst-case scenario, jail time. Therefore, fully understanding your CoR responsibilities is essential for protecting your business and avoiding legal issues, not to mention avoiding the timely implications that equate to business costs.

From the standpoint of safety consultants, our role is to highlight hazards and guide you through the maze of regulations. We’re here to help you maintain the continuity of your transport operations. The Heavy Vehicle National Law (or HVNL) is essential to ensure that transportation-related activities become something other than a free-for-all that puts workers or bystanders in danger. It is not just there for kicks. That’s the starting point for maintaining smooth operations. Safety is a means to reduce costs and amplify opportunities that result in future business success.

If you believe workplace safety and a healthy business are unrelated topics, you should reconsider. They’re essentially the same thing: the legislation mainly emphasises companies maintaining their safety standards. Beneath all the profit-making machinations, there remains a very clear bottom line: it is strictly forbidden to put employees or the general public in danger. Managing a tight ship regarding safety is primarily the responsibility of company executives and supervisors, but it affects everyone in the chain and should be viewed as a personal and business risk. The chain of responsibility is more than just the correct thing to do or the wise thing to do; it is becoming widely an innovative system or opportunity in Australian transport tasks.

So What Does Australian Legislation Compliance Look Like?

Australian legislation compliance refers to the process of ensuring that a business or organization is adhering to all relevant laws and regulations in Australia. This can include compliance with workplace health and safety laws, consumer protection laws, environmental laws, and other regulations specific to a particular industry or field.

Compliance with Australian legislation is typically enforced by government agencies such as the Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC) and the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC). Businesses that fail to comply with Australian legislation can face penalties such as fines, legal action, and damage to their reputation.

There are critical steps to ensure that your business complies with the CoR laws in NSW, QLD, ACT, VIC, TAS, or SA.

While the legislation calls for businesses to meet safety standards, no two systems may always look alike, and no one system may work for a specific company, especially if it has a particular type of transport task, which is vastly different to mainstream transport tasks.

However, there is a framework that works across the board to meet a level of compliance.

Safety Policy Statement

Think of a safety policy statement as creating your compass or blueprint for how you want things to work in your business, especially regarding safety.

It is a statement of intent, a promise to protect your employees, customers, and anyone else involved from harm’s way. This document sets out your commitment to a productive workplace that is a safe haven from potential risks and dangers.

A safety policy statement is more than just words on a page. Your business’s safety management system is in action, with a detailed roadmap of your safety practices and procedures. It’s the tool that ensures everyone in your business is on the same page when it comes to safety, guiding all of your workers and site visitors towards a safer workplace.

It is crucial to recognise that the safety policy statement is an ongoing document that evolves. Periodic inspections and updates should ensure compliance with any new risks, regulations or improvements in security practice. It’s a great way to get everyone on board who works with you and is aligned with your business safety program.

It educates and informs your team about the importance of safety and also proves to outside thinkers, partners, etc., that you’re not just talking but walking the walk when it comes to safety.

Consider the safety policy statement as the beginning of your organisation’s safety approach. It’s not just a document but the very foundation of your comprehensive assurance program. It sets the standard for your unwavering commitment to creating working environments where safety is always a top priority.

The safety policy statement typically includes the following :

It is important for an organization to have a well-written and comprehensive safety policy statement to help ensure the safety and well-being of all employees, customers, and other stakeholders.

Procedure Mapping

The next step is to identify the processes or procedures you have working within your organisation and to adopt a written template of the process. Without understanding a printed version of what you do, it’s very difficult and loose of an organisation to then explain to others what you expect of them. So it’s important to note this down, so you have a go-to should you need to define a task or process to someone else.

In my experience, procedure mapping is a process improvement technique that visually represents the steps and tasks involved in a particular process or procedure. It is a way of analyzing and documenting how a process works, and identifying areas where improvements can be made.

Procedure mapping is often used to create standard operating procedures (SOPs) and to improve the efficiency, quality, and safety of a process. It involves breaking down the process into individual steps and tasks, and then creating a visual representation of the process using a flowchart or other diagram.

The process of procedure mapping typically involves several steps:

Procedure mapping is a powerful tool for process improvement and can help organizations to improve efficiency, reduce costs, and increase safety and quality.

On-road risks are everywhere, and it's time to fix it.

MAEZ use innovative safety strategies and creative problem-solving methodologies to help companies and leaders remove their risks.

Along the way, we discovered that removing risks requires a deep understanding of complicated Supply Chains and the downward pressures placed upon the Supply Chain leaders.
Chain of Responsibility

This is the most often overlooked, but also the most crucial of elements in any safety system.

CoR training of your business policies and procedures is critical for your ongoing safety systems success. When explaining your workplace guidelines, you are outlining the capacity of which you expect your employees to work, within your organisation. You are in essence providing the boundaries and expectations of their output.

There are many ways you can enhance your employees understanding of CoR, and you can provide toolbox talks regularly. You can have a chain of responsibility training provider attend your workplace. Alternatively, you can even opt for CoR online courses explicitly aimed at those employees who are time-poor and which are critical to your organisations’ success.

MAEZ has found that CoR training in WA, QLD, Adelaide and even chain of responsibility training in NSW, as well as CoR training in Vic,  is difficult and costly to deliver, simply because of businesses geographic locations and constraints due to operational demands. On-demand compliance training that is delivered online can be flexible and inexpensive to provide. Not to mention, that Heavy Vehicle National Legislation does not demand accredited courses to every listed party, and due to the cost of an accredited course, MAEZ has been hard at work creating courses aimed at the user experience and awareness, rather than accredited courses that often deliver copious amounts of information over two days of training.

Accredited training often focuses on Fatigue, or Load Restraint and does not cater for everyday needs of warehouse staff, such as forklift drivers or warehouse managers. To meet CoR legislation in NSW or any other state part of the Heavy Vehicle National Law, you only need to consider awareness training to supplement your employee’s awareness through on the job toolbox reinforcement. It is not legally required that you include VET training courses unless you require specific accreditation in your business.

Chain of Responsibility Laws in Summary

To quickly phrase the two areas of law within a simple context, workplace health and safety regulations are designed to keep anyone safe within the walls it operates. Australian National Heavy Vehicle Legislation is designed to keep people safe whilst goods are in transit, including the general public and our public infrastructure.

The business and its directors or executives have a prime duty to ensure everyone’s safety, whether they work for the company directly or not.

MAEZ Chain of Responsibility Training Course

If you would like to learn more about what MAEZ can do to help you or your organisation, then get in touch. We are considered in the industry and beyond as helpers and supporters of heavy vehicle safety.

Get in touch and find out more now 1300 553 811