NatRoad not sleeping on fatigue

The NatRoad Board, Fatigue Task Force and Secretariat continue to make regular representations on a range of fatigue related issues through participation on official working groups, detailed submissions or direct lobbying of decision makers, according to President Geoff Crouch.

“A substantial element of the Heavy Vehicle National Law due to be commenced from 1 July 2013 deals with fatigue, chain of responsibility and penalties for fatigue related offences. NatRoad has been a key contributor in all consultative processes on the new laws and we have secured a range of immediate improvements along with commitments for ongoing regulatory reform,” he says.

“For example, infringements for administrative errors in work diaries will fall from around $600 to just $150, and chain of responsibility will be comprehensively reviewed during 2013 as well, including an examination of positive duties and interactions with OH&S laws.

“We have proposed specific measures to allow greater flexibility for drivers and operators as part of the current review of AFM in line with our broader position which advocates greater flexibility at all levels of the three tier system.”

NatRoad is also represented on the joint industry/government Electronic Work Diaries Pilot Project and has provided opportunities for members to be directly involved in the pilot.

As a participant in the National Transport Commission’s Written Work Diary Working Group, NatRoad recently asked members to comment on a redrafted written work diary and subsequently tendered a comprehensive submission which recommends over 30 improvements.

NatRoad was also a member of a Counting Time Working Party, which recommended that all jurisdictions adopt a common approach of only counting forward from the end of a major rest break – a change which has since been implemented.

In addition, NatRoad has made a „six figure investment in a major research project, At Home and Away, measuring the sleep of Australian truck drivers – making a valuable contribution to understanding fatigue in the Australian task-oriented context, rather than the university lab setting on which most fatigue research has been based. The independently produced research adds weight to the call for greater flexibility and will be considered as part of the peer review of the proposed AFM risk classification system.

“There is still a long way to go in reforming fatigue laws to an acceptable standard and NatRoad will remain active during 2013 on this very important issue,” Geoff says.

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