National Heavy Vehicle Regulator (NHVR) Productivity and Safety executive director Geoff Casey was speaking at the recent Livestock & Rural Transporters Association of Victoria (LRTAV) conference
“What I would really ask you would do, right now, is to know where you sit in that supply chain and the chain of responsibility,” Mr Casey said.
“Our worry is that the other people in the supply chain still don’t know it is coming, particularly your customers and the people you contract with.”
Mr Casey encouraged transport operators to ask if customers knew the law was coming and what it meant.
He said the law extended the responsibilities of occupational health and safety into “the operational space.
“Many operators out there don’t have anything in place and they will be the ones we struggle to get to.
“We are not underselling that process – getting to everyone is very difficult.”
He said road transport bodies, such as the LRTAV, had been active in promoting the new laws.
The new COR laws covered “a vast array of people, it introduces a whole new paradigm, and we have a new group of people we cover in heavy vehicle law.
Mr Casey said all parties in the supply chain would soon have a primary duty to all that was reasonably able to be done to ensure the safety of all their transport activities.
All parties would have to actively manage all aspects of safety and prevent breaches to the heavy vehicle law by reducing any potential harm and loss to road users in genera
“It’s not just the operator, it’s not just the driver.
“It applies to everyone, consigners, schedulers, loaders, packers, managers and executives of organisations.
“It really has extended the reach of what is presently under the law.”
He said currently parties in the supply chain could be held accountable under extended or deemed liability, after an accident.
“In July the extended liability provisions will be removed; all parties will be accountable or their share of responsibilities, at all times.”
“You should, at any time, be able to demonstrate you are managing our responsibility, related to the task.”
He said the NHVR anticipated the laws being introduced in the middle of next year, depending on the Queensland elections.
He said the NHVR had been advertising on billboards, trucks, in advertising and during forums to increase awareness about the changes.
There were 165,000 organisations, in the supply chain, which would be affected “so it’s a mammoth task.
“We ran 63 forums around the country, covering more than 2000 members of the industry – but even you know 2000 out of 100,000 is a small percentage.”
Mr Casey said the next phase of the campaign was building capability.
“We are putting together material in terms of internet, awareness information, information about your system, risk management, in order to help the industry as they progress towards those laws.”
LTRAV vice president John Beer said delegates had “seen so many COR slides it would put us to sleep.
“Maybe it’s the same old stuff, all the time,” Mr Beer said.
“We can talk to Worksafe pretty regularly and their hands are tied.”
Mr Beer said it was up to the NHVR to look inside premises, “because that’s were the fatigue is, because facilities are not right.
“You only have a handful of blokes so what you are saying is not going to happen.
“Some of the stuff you are doing is a complete and utter waste of time, because it’s not going to happen, because I’ll be well gone, before you come into these places.”
Mr Casey said there were elements of the industry who would never comply, some who thought they were doing the right thing, but weren’t, and those who were trying to do the right thing.
But he said the NHVR had a wider reach than just its staff.
“If you extend that to all our jurisdictional partners, realistically we are a much bigger group than just NHVR itself
“We know we need to focus on some of those areas which are continually causing us grief.”
He said the industry could help by not accepting contracts and conditions, which breached the law.
“We rely on you to tell us when things are happening, to give us a place to go and look.
“We can’t do anything if we don’t know about it.”