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NHVR Changes To The Chain Of Responsibility & What It Means For Your Business

Changes are coming to the Chain of Responsibility and the National Heavy Vehicle Regulator (NHVR) has warned you have to know the new rules, or it could cost you.

What Is the Chain of Responsibility?

The Chain of Responsibility was designed to hold every part of the heavy vehicle industry responsible for safety. It takes the focus off the driver and haulage firms, which traditionally bore the brunt of any accidents or health and safety issues.

Now, the whole supply chain has to follow rigorous standards. More Chain of Responsibility changes are on the way in mid-2018, too, which will target the primary producers.

The NHVR wants to bring the heavy vehicle national law more closely into line with general health and safety regulations, which are already in place for trucking and other industries across Australia.

You Must Reduce Your Risk

The new rules mean that primary producers must take proactive steps to reduce the risks of each and every heavy transport operation. They must also implement a Chain of Responsibility policy.

That sounds vague and potentially dangerous but the NHVR is keen to point out that it will take a fair and even-handed approach.

“Although the laws will change, they will still only apply to activities that a person or business has responsibility for and could influence,” said the NHVR Chain of Responsibility Manager Kym Farquharson-Jones. “In other words, no one will be liable for breaches they cannot control.”

More than 165,000 companies involved in the heavy transport industry in Australia will have to look at every aspect of their business. The NHVR has published a series of guidelines for those that contract outside haulage firms and the actual hauliers to add some much-needed clarity to a relatively vague directive.

Recommendations for Primary Producers that Contract Outside Hauliers:

  1. Only use operators that provide compliant and safe transport. Make sure the company mitigates all risks and is fully versed in the latest health & safety regulations.
  2. Avoid issuing requests that could influence a driver to break reasonable speed limits or skip proper breaks, verbally or in writing.
  3. Ensure that the load is ready on time so the driver is not delayed and forced to make up the time by driving too fast or driving while fatigued.
  4. Make sure that the haulier has safe access to your property, as well as proper assistance and equipment to load up.
  5. Make sure that everybody in the supply chain is fully-informed and agrees to the timeframes for pick-up and delivery.

Recommendations for Primary Producers with In-house Haulage Operations:

  1. Ensure your vehicle is fit for purpose, compliant, mechanically sound and legal.
  2. Load the vehicle correctly each and every time, paying particular attention to weight distribution and securing the load.
  3. Ensure that the driver is not tired, is fit to work and does not drive longer than the law allows.
  4. Account for the safety risks that your trucks pose to the individuals involved and the wider world. Incorporate health and safety procedures at every stage, from loading the truck, scheduling pick-ups and delivery and allowing for delays.

It’s no longer enough to follow the letter of the law. If you’re a part of the Chain of Responsibility then you’re responsible for making sure every transport operation is as smooth and safe as possible.