Taking responsibility

When I talk to people about the biggest challenges facing our industry, they invariably raise the issue of safety and compliance. And, rightly so. There can be no more important issue than ensuring the safety of our workforces and the people who use our roads.

Safety and compliance is an issue that requires a whole of industry approach and a genuine commitment by all organisations along the supply chain to make it integral to their operations. Not only does it make good sense business sense, it reflects positively on our industry at a time when the heavy vehicle industry is coming under increasing scrutiny.

As an industry, we have made great strides in this area over the past few years. From a regulatory perspective there has also been significant progress in regards to safety with the establishment of the Heavy Vehicle National Law and the creation of the National Heavy Vehicle Regulator; both of which underpin a greater national approach to Chain of Responsibility. Chain of Responsibility effectively means all parties in the supply chain are required to implement positive actions to prevent breaches of the law.

While we have much to be proud of in terms of lowering death and injury rates in our industry in recent years, there is always more to be done to make our industry safer for those who work in it, and just as importantly, for the travelling public.

With that reality in mind, ALC recently held its Supply Chain Safety and Compliance Summit in Melbourne. ALC held the Summit to benchmark, share best practice, and to identify gaps where improvements are needed to improve safety and compliance. In essence, we held the Summit to help support a cultural shift within businesses on the critical safety issues facing the logistics industry. The event attracted a wide range of companies associated with ALC, including transporters, customers and suppliers, as well as people external to ALC who just wanted to find out more about this critical issue.

Central to the discussions was the role ALC’s National Logistics Safety Code (NLSC) plays in assisting companies to meet their Chain of Responsibility obligations. The NLSC applies to the wide range of activities within the supply chain, including legal compliance and chain of responsibility, fatigue, safe loads, speed management and equipment.

The NLSC and its constituent codes, including retail, coal seam gas, steel and electrical cables, provide industry with a simple, equitable and effective way to improve and maintain safety and compliance across the supply chain. I encourage people to visit the ALC website www.alcsafety.com.au if they wish to find out more about the ALC Codes.

The Summit identified four key themes which ALC, in conjunction with its relevant committees, will progress over the next 12 months in the lead up to next year’s summit.

These are:
• Strengthening and streamlining the ALC Codes.
• Sharing safety and compliance information among industry partners to create a stronger, safer and more compliant supply chain.
• More efficient use of technology, such as telematics, to assist logistics companies meet their Chain of Responsibility obligations.
• Increasing Awareness of Chain of Responsibility across the supply chain.

The last of these themes is incredibly important, because only with increased knowledge and awareness will we make real and genuine safety improvements along the supply chain.

To give you an example of how ALC will take this issue forward, shortly I will be writing to the CEOs and Chairs of Australia’s top companies to provide them with information on Chain of Responsibility; some important changes in the regulatory landscape; and a few practical steps they can be putting in place to meet their legal obligations.

What was most pleasing from the Summit was the preparedness of industry participants to speak openly and frankly about the challenges we as an industry face, and the steps that can be taken to make improvements.
In light of this, ALC will be expanding the 2015 Summit in Sydney. I look forward to sharing with you further information on this and other ALC initiatives in future columns.

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