Key Considerations for New Chain of Responsibility Laws Announced

With the upcoming amendments to the Chain of Responsibility laws set to take effect in just over three months, the National Heavy Vehicle Regulator has outlined some key areas for consideration for primary producers. The amendments are designed to align the existing laws more closely with workplace health and safety provisions.

It's believed up to 165,000 Australian businesses make up the heavy vehicle supply chain, and the new laws intend to make it clear that they all have a role to play in ensuring transport safety.

NHVR Chain of Responsibility Manager, Kym Farquharson-Jones, said that although all parties in the chain must proactively reduce heavy vehicle transport risks, primary producers should not be concerned about being held liable for things out of their control.

“Although the laws will change, they will still only apply to activities that a person or business has responsibility for and could influence. In other words, no one will be liable for breaches they cannot control.”

For primary producers who contract transport services to another operator:

  • Avoid requests, instructions, requirements or demands that may influence the driver to speed or drive while fatigued — whether written in a contract or made verbally
  • Ensure stock or loads are ready to load on time so that a driver is not unduly delayed and pressured to speed or exceed fatigue hours
  • Ensure safe access, while on your property, for the heavy vehicles and advise drivers of any relevant local knowledge
  • Consult with your transporter and other parties in the chain when setting timeframes for pick-up and delivery

Considerations for primary producers who own and/or operate their own heavy vehicle:

  • What and how much is loaded onto the vehicle, how the weight is distributed and how the load is restrained
  • That the vehicle is fit for purpose, mechanically safe and legally able to be used on a road
  • That the driver, who may be you, is not tired and doesn’t work longer than they are allowed by the law
  • That you understand the safety risks that your activities pose to the transport task—including packing goods for transport, scheduling travel and delivery times, and the impacts of delays in loading and unloading trucks
  • Avoid requests, instructions, requirements or demands that may influence the driver to speed or drive while fatigued — whether written in a contract or made verbally

If you would like to learn more about the amendments to Chain of Responsibility, please read our related article.

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