CODE MASTER: Peter Elliot says finishing the new industry bible is his proudest moment.
CODE MASTER: Peter Elliot says finishing the new industry bible is his proudest moment. James Graham

Master Code creator ready to answer your questions

IF THERE was a prouder delegate than Peter Elliot at the ALC & ATA Supply Chain Safety and Compliance Summit in Melbourne recently they were hard to spot.

By the time you read this, Peter's pet project, the first all-inclusive Registered Industry Code of Practice - commonly referred to as the Master Code - will be having its final t's and i's crossed before publication to coincide with the new chain of responsibility (CoR) laws that come into play on October 1.

After 14 months of tweaking and consultation with stakeholders in every nook and sector of the industry, the 16th and final draft of Peter's 'Magnum Opus' will be complete.

The 100 pages remaining aim to succinctly translate the modern-day requirements of the HVNL into a framework of known risk types, risk assessment information, and risk controls which parties with CoR obligations will be able to implement in their operations.

With its inherent safety and cost benefits, Peter said the Master Code, which he called a "modernisation” of existing codes to a new standard, was easily the most satisfying project he had been associated with in his 42 years in the transport industry.

Ironically, however, the ALC's safety program manager doesn't expect it to be widely read, even though it will be free to download for all on the NHVR website when completed.

"I don't expect many operators are going to read this document,” conceded Peter between sessions at one of the last major industry events before the CoR changes are in effect.

"But what comes after this document is that people are designing implementation tools. That's where operators can actually satisfy the Master Code without worrying about it.

"Trucksafe, NHVAS and different sectors are adapting their tools for their members based on the Master Code.”

Peter is quick to stress that adherence to the code isn't compulsory, nor in fact is it another accreditation program.

He said the latter was one of the biggest misconceptions he struck while on his many road trips with technical writer Sean Minto and their ALC colleagues meeting with industry stakeholders.

"There's no auditing in it. It's a guide; it's reference material. The schemes that put in the implementation tools have the auditing requirement.

"I think one of the biggest problems of the industry is that everyone wants to test everyone 100 times for the same thing. We've got to get away from that.

"If everyone can recognise here's an industry code that's been approved by the regulator and someone is being tested against it, then why not accept that test.”

When the final edit is completed, Peter is confident he and his team will have satisfied the early critics who told them the code was too complicated.

He's especially proud of the simplified opening explanation of the CoR changes, which he's sure will shatter a few myths that have sprung up in the build-up.

"A lot of people don't believe that nothing's really changing. Everyone's saying there's a whole new law, well there's not.”

  • If you have a question for Peter and his team around the new Master Code and how it applies to you, just email us at editor@bigrigs.com.au. He's committed to answering all our readers' concerns, and we'll run the best queries and answers in the next issue of Big Rigs.
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