TO PREPARE industry for the new primary duties amendments, the NHVR recently conducted the first phase of the Chain of Responsibility education program with 73 sessions across Australia.
The most interesting part of these two-hour sessions is always the period where questions are fired from the audience.
There are always plenty of people asking about operational issues such as fitness for duty (fatigue) right through to systems for weighing vehicles (mass). There's also interest in how to manage contracts, contractual clauses and supply chain relationships.
The CoR education sessions were designed to explain heavy vehicle and national workplace safety laws, make it easier for duty holders to understand and assess their risks, and know whether they are complying with the law.
The new primary duties amendments change the way that CoR responsibilities must be carried out.
Through the replacement of existing prescriptive obligations, the whole transport industry can benefit from a reduction of red tape and better apply risk management processes to focus on safety outcomes.
Another good question was raised at the ATA Conference and through the pages of Big Rigs (August 11) about whether freight forwarders and prime contractors that are late with payment to a subcontractor should be included as a party in the Chain of Responsibility.
The simple answer is that this conduct would not be covered by the Heavy Vehicle National Law.
Late or non-payments by prime contractors are dealt with under other laws.
If an operator hasn't met their safety obligation because of a late or non-payment, that operator will be dealt with under the new primary duties laws - much as they would under the existing law.
Financial inability could not be considered a reasonable excuse for putting a dangerous vehicle onto the road.
However the new primary duties laws will allow investigators several options when assessing an organisation's safety systems, ranging from education and advice to investigation and prosecution.
Poor financial management or business practices might be considered an indicator of non-compliance in other areas, and a late or non-payment by a freight forwarder or prime contractor might trigger further investigation about their safety practices.
The new CoR laws make heavy vehicle safety everyone's responsibility. We'll continue to update information on the website.
I would urge all businesses to use the time between now and commencement of the new laws in mid-2018 to prepare for the changes.