Time to focus on CoR issues

In writing my first Prime Mover column as ALC’s Interim CEO, I’m acutely aware that I am coming into the role at a crucial time for many in the heavy vehicle sector.

There is no doubt that the expanded Chain of Responsibility (CoR) provisions within the Heavy Vehicle National Law (HVNL) commencing on 1 October are  significant.

This does not mean that industry participants need to fear these changes – they are more evolutionary than revolutionary. Given that the changes to the law have been publicly discussed for well over 18 months, their contents should certainly not be a surprise to anyone in the industry.

However, with the commencement date now fast approaching, it is important that all parties understand the nature of their obligations under the expanded CoR regime – and proactively take all reasonable steps to ensure compliance.

Accordingly, if you are unfamiliar with what the changes are and what they will mean for your business, now is the time to get the facts and seek the right advice.

It is important to remember that companies cannot ‘contract out’ their CoR obligations, no matter their industry sector or part of the supply chain.

From 1 October, a primary duty of care will be introduced for supply chain participants to ensure, so far as is reasonably practicable, the safety of ‘road transport operations’.

This will mean that executive officers, such as directors, will see the primary duties regime applied to them through a positive due diligence obligation, similar to that imposed by WHS law.

To break that down, this effectively means that if you or your company operates, loads, drives or sends/receives goods using a heavy vehicle, you will effectively have the same responsibilities as you presently do under WHS law to ensure that the CoR under the HVNL has not been breached.

Accordingly, it is incumbent on you to make certain all reasonably practicable steps are taken to ensure vehicles are properly loaded and goods secured, and that drivers undertake their responsibilities in a safe manner.

This underscores the need for organisations to ensure that properly documented evidence of road transport practices is kept.

Moreover, it will be essential to make certain that directors and senior managers of organisations with CoR obligations are kept properly informed as to compliance with CoR measures – including mass, dimension and loading practices.

As is always the case with changes to the law, there will undoubtedly be some industry participants who are uncertain of the implications for their own businesses.

As an industry leader, ALC’s efforts have been directed towards making sure there is a comprehensive source of reliable advice available for those wishing to make sure they are compliant with the expanded CoR requirements.

As regular readers of Prime Mover will be aware, for over a year now ALC has been partnering with the Australian Trucking Association (ATA) to develop a Registered Industry Code of Practice under the HVNL.

Commonly referred to as the Master Code, its contents are the result of an extensive program of engagement and consultation with industry participants and other stakeholders, which will ensure the Master Code is relevant to industry’s  needs.

The Master Code translates the requirements of the HVNL into a framework of known risk types, risk assessment information, and risk controls for parties with CoR obligations to implement in their operations.

It addresses each of the four principal areas covered by the expanded CoR requirements: Speed; Fatigue; Mass, Dimension, and Loading; and Vehicle Standards & Maintenance.

The contents of the Master Code will help to provide clarity for all parties regarding the known risks around road transport operations, and outline best practice measures that can be put in place to minimise those risks.

If you’re keen to get the inside word on how the Master Code can help to ensure CoR compliance in your organisation, be sure to attend the 2018 ALC & ATA Supply Chain Safety & Compliance Summit, being held at Melbourne Park on 5-6 September 2018.

As the clock ticks down to the commencement of the expanded CoR regime, the Summit is your best chance to hear first-hand from those who have written the Master Code, as well as insights from some of Australia’s leading companies about how they intend to apply the Master Code to their own transport operations.

Head to www.austlogistics.com.au/SafetySummit to register today.

Lachlan Benson,
Interim CEO
Australian Logistics Council

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