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How will the Chain of Responsibility changes affect businesses?

Changes to the Chain of Responsibility COR

It’s not new news that employers have an obligation to keep their workers safe.

The National Heavy Vehicle Law (HVNL) changes the new Chain of Responsibility (CoR) laws for Australia’s heavy vehicle industry will come into play and effective midway through 2018. These changes align CoR laws more closely with workplace health and safety (WHS) laws, the amendments ensure that every party/worker involved has an obligation to eliminate or minimize potential harm/risk by taking reasonable steps to ensure safety. The two most common risk areas are speed and fatigue.

What is Chain of Responsibility (CoR)?

If you consign, pack, load, or receive goods as part of your business, this is aimed at YOU!

These new laws bring with it the fact that you could be held legally liable for breaches of the Heavy Vehicle National Law (HVNL) even if you do not have a direct role in driving or operations for heavy vehicles.

In addition, corporate entities, directors, partners, and managers are accountable for the actions of people under their control. This is Chain of Responsibility – CoR.

What does the new Chain of Responsibility law mean for my business?

The aim is to ensure everyone in the supply chain shares equal responsibility for ensuring the breaches of the HVNL do not occur. Under the laws, if you are classified as a party in the CoR and you exercise (in any capacity) control or influence over any transport task, you have a responsibility to ensure the HVNL is complied with.

The new laws will require every producer and vehicle operator to understand their own responsibilities when it comes to transportation. The law recognizes that multiple parties may be responsible for offenses committed by the drivers and operators of heavy vehicles. A person may be a party in the supply chain in more than one way. For example, they may have duties as the employer, the operator, and the consigner of goods.  

What are the changes to Chain of Responsibility?

Under the changes primary producers will be responsible for ensuring the following:

  • Ensure stock or loads are ready to load on time avoiding delays for drivers which could add pressure to speed or exceed fatigue hours.
  • Ensure safe access while on business property for the heavy vehicles and advise drivers of any relevant local knowledge.
  • Ensure you consult with your transporter and other parties in the chain when setting time-frames for pick-up and delivery.
  • 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.

How do you manage the new changes to CoR?

The best way to prepare for these changes is to have a Safety Management System (SMS) and controls in place, like Donesafe. This keeps your workers clear on specific obligations, policies, and procedures. All parties involved need to be aware of safety policies for things like scheduling, load restraint, weight declarations, speed, and fatigue. Donesafe can cover everything on one platform, such as; controls, business practices, training, procedures, and review processes.

This can be broken down into the following areas –

  • Identify, assess, evaluate, and control risk
  • Manage compliance with speed, fatigue, mass, dimension, loading, and vehicle standard requirements through best practice
  • Regular Reporting
  • Document or Record actions are taken to manage safety

What does an effective Safety Management System look like?

A good Safety Management System will include instructions on how to complete tasks safely and guidelines for managing all the biggest risks in a fleet. This means you have one place of reference, rather than having to pore over piles of documentation and legislation to find out what to do, this is readily available for every worker involved within the Chain of Responsibility.

Donesafe is fully documented, inclusive for everyone, available on every device, and easy to use. When we state ‘everyone’ this includes contractors, subcontractors, temporary workers, and/or part-time. We believe that anyone working in your business is classed as a worker and the same rules apply. Everyone has the right to go home safely at the end of their shift.

Are there other benefits of being ready for CoR, outside of compliance?

Absolutely! If your company has all the proper procedures in place, it shows that you care about your business and most importantly your workers. This creates a positive reputation for a trusted brand and workers know they are in safe hands within the workplace.

Compiling all your compliance information and having tools in place makes this easier, this also helps you make better business decisions. You can allocate resources to the most critical areas, improve efficiency, minimize paperwork, and reduce costs associated with accidents rather than spending the majority of your time completing administrative tasks.

Ultimately, it helps you provide a safer work environment for your workers, customers, and the public. It’s important to remember that there are lots of other road users, and they have families too. Getting CoR ready is about ensuring everyone is safe.

Want to find out how we can help you? Get in touch with our team today, click here to get in contact or visit our features page to find out more.

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