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After a minor change to the requirements to be accepted as a NHVAS auditor a new version of the NHVAS Business Rules & Standards (Version 2.4) have been released. The change involves the ability for the NHVR to recognise an auditor’s lead auditor qualification that has been issued by a body other than a JAZ-ANZ accredited body. [click the image to view the PDF document]
The National Heavy Vehicle Regulator (NHVR) is seeking to head off unintended developments related to recent Chain of Responsibility (COR) reforms, an issue that is also of concern to state industry bodies.
The NHVR has warned heavy vehicle operators to be aware of their responsibilities under the changed COR laws after several reports of unnecessary pressure to disclose additional information from larger customers beyond that required under the current provisions.
"For example, we have been contacted by a number of operators after they were asked to provide details of their drivers’, safety systems and work diaries by a customer claiming they were required to be provided under COR laws," NHVR safety standards and assurance executive director Geoff Casey.
South Australian Road Transport Association (SARTA) executive officer Steve Shearer says many members had expressed their dismay at the unintended and unnecessary administrative and cost burden that too many customers are imposing on road transport operators by over-reacting to the COR provisions.
"A customer who engages a road transport operator to move their freight does not generally have influence or control over the operator’s drivers, nor over the maintenance of the trucks," Shearer adds.
"Customers need to be aware that the more they seek to micro-manage road transport suppliers, the more they will increase their level of influence and control and in doing so they will significantly increase their own legal liability under the COR law and unnecessarily increase their own compliance costs.
"Customers are entitled to rely upon the fact that their transport operators have systems and procedures in place to manage their own safety responsibilities, provided the customers don’t prevent or inhibit the transport operators’ and drivers’ ability to be compliant.
"Corporate customers, including prime contractor transport operators, need to review their CoR practices and procedures to ensure that their business meets its CoR responsibilities while avoiding taking this beyond their business’ level of influence and control under the HVNL."
Casey says a customer or primary contractor may request additional information under a commercial arrangement that is subject to agreement but it is not a requirement under the Heavy Vehicle National Law (HVNL).
"Both parties need to work together to ensure that they each understand their respective responsibilities, including the limits of those responsibilities, and that they each manage those responsibilities effectively."
Note: Under the Australian Road Rules, a motor vehicle with a Gross Vehicle Mass (GVM) of more than 4.5 tonnes is classified as a Truck regardless of the body type of the vehicle (excluding tractors, trams and buses). A motor vehicle built to carry more than 12 adults including the driver is classified as a Bus.
The City of Port Adelaide Enfield wish to advise that the intersection of Francis Road and Davis Street, Wingfield will be closed for all heavy vehicles from Monday 8 April to the end of May, weather permitting due to road reconstruction. During construction the south section of Davis Street will be used to access properties.
Currently the National Heavy Vehicle Accreditation Scheme (NHVAS) provides three modules for participation, Maintenance Management, Mass Management and Fatigue Management. The scheme focus is for methods of alternate compliance with road transport laws or concessions to carry additional mass or use extended driving hours.
The governance of each module is controlled by the NHVAS Business Rules & Standards. The business rules are common to all modules however the standards to which a participant must comply varies according to the relevant standards of the module. Some commonality exists between the standards as there are specific reporting and administration tasks that each module must include.
Since first introduced the scheme has undergone change where additional modules such as fatigue have been added and at various stages the standards have undergone review, but this review is the first time that all modules have undergone simultaneous consideration with the driving force coming from the Heavy Vehicle National Law (HVNL) participating jurisdictions transport ministers request for a strengthening of the credibility of the scheme.
Consultation with jurisdictions and industry had taken place in late 2013 with a view to conduct a review of the standards in 2014. Circumstances prevented the review from taking place at that time however the feedback received at the time has been considered and incorporated into the changes included, where found to be appropriate.
The review of the Standards was part of the project deliverable from the NHVAS Review as endorsed by the Responsible Ministers. The NHVAS Review was included as part of the acceleration of the Roadworthiness Project due to the fatal Mona Vale heavy vehicle incident.
The review identified inconsistency between the standards where similar tasks are carried out. In some instances, insufficient detail was included in the standards for a participant to be clear on what they had to comply with as well as acceptable methods for compliance.
With this situation the modules were able to be united to form the Fatigue module with the option of using BFM prescribed hours or AFM approved hours. It is on entry into the fatigue module that the option is chosen, and the appropriate application criteria is required to be met. If successful approval is granted to use either AFM or BFM hours.
This document is constructed using the addition or removal with explanation approach. Red text signifies change, with a descriptor of the amended section and explanatory note written in red text for any standard that has been changed.
Authorised officers are generally employees of state and territory regulators such as the RMS. Police officers are also given powers under the HVNL in addition to their regular powers. Both are authorised under the HVNL to carry out monitoring and investigations involving inspection and seizure of documents and materials that may be evidence of breaches of the HVNL.
An authorised officer may only enter a place without the occupier’s consent if they have a warrant, unless the place is open for carrying on a business or required to be open for inspection under the HVNL. An authorised officer must identify themselves and tell the occupier the reason for entry.
After lawfully entering a place, an authorised officer has a number of powers of investigation, including to search, inspect, examine and film documents or materials, as well as take an item or a physical or electronic copy of a document.
You should keep records of your compliance with the HVNL for five years. The information that you may be required to produce for the regulator, or a court will vary depending on the alleged breach. Generally, you are likely to be requested to produce applicable documents including, but not limited to:
If your company is raided, you must ensure that the scope of the investigation is clearly set out in the search warrant and that only persons and materials relevant within the limits of the investigation are interrogated or seized.
There is some confusion since the inception of the “Safety Management Systems” concept by the NHVR and COR. While there is varying opinion about what constitutes a SWMS versus a SOP the result should ultimately be the same.
|From NHVR FYI|| |
A number of sections will affect some of our customers and there will be information and changes which affects ALL customers and operators, these are identified in red in the business rules accessible on the regulator’s website.
Some specific notations: albeit NOT extensive, but important are:
Whilst from 1 October, all of those involved in the transport industry as operators or users have now to comply with the Heavy Vehicle National Law (“HVNL”), this is nothing more than a formalisation of the laws and regulations that previously applied to road transport industry participants.
“The new law creates no new obligation on transport companies and drivers. The legal requirement to provide for the safety of drivers, and the general public has been in existence for years. All this new law does is provide greater clarity around the systems one needs to have in place, and the chain of responsibility that all users of heavy transport vehicles have.”
“Having been a transport industry participant for many years I welcome the clear obligation that is now imposed on all involved with the transport industry, whether they be transport operators/managers, consignors/consignees or those responsible for packing and/or loading goods for transport, to have systems in place so that they can substantiate that they adhere to the heavy vehicle transport regulations. The operation of the HVNL imposes no new obligations but makes it even more clear what responsibilities all participants have”.
“As a compliance auditor for the Transport Industry, I absolutely support these measures to make people aware of their responsibility and accountability. For some years we have been working with our clients and the industry more broadly to develop methods and systems to ensure that
“I have seen documents where some operators are increasing prices and/or imposing levies and using the HVNL as justification for so doing. That is just plain wrong. The HVNL imposes no new obligation on transport companies other than to be able to substantiate that they have the appropriate systems in place. They have always had a responsibility to their drivers and other road users to ensure their operations are conducted safely. People wanting to organise freight for their business should push back strongly against this price gauging by greedy operators”, said Mr Harmes.
Mr Harmes warned that transport industry operators being approached by people marketing ipad or other on-line administrative systems should not be tricked into thinking that the purchase of these I.T. based systems will provide all that is needed to satisfy the legal liability of transport industry operators. Mr Harmes stated, “These devices and systems are merely tools that can make the recording of what you are doing to comply easier.”
“These tools do not take the place of good management risk review and training, nor integrity when committing to accepting the chain of responsibility obligations fully. We need to educate people more and those involved in the industry need to focus upon the safety of drivers, and not to take short cuts when managing their businesses. They just have to have very good systems in place,” concluded Mr Harmes.
For anyone who has been deaf to the ‘drum-beat’ of the last two years (or so), now is very much the time to not only start thinking about upgrading your compliance, but to actually start doing it. Speaking objectively, there is really no excuse. The last two years have seen a quickening of awareness and activity around the impending changes.
The National Heavy Vehicle Regulator (NHVR) has rolled out a significant awareness-raising campaign, across various sectors of the supply chain. It has made considerable resources available through its website.
The NHVR’s caravan has been followed by various industry associations and consultants, all in an effort to raise awareness and offer assistance around understanding obligations and tailoring a compliance program to meet those obligations.
A joint effort of the Australian Logistics Council and Australian Trucking Association has produced a master code of practice to guide parties in devising compliance systems to meet the new laws. At this stage, it is almost impossible to know how successful those efforts have been.
We suspect the ‘80/20 rule’ will apply – with around 20 per cent of relevant businesses being aware of and understanding the changes in the law and implementing properly targeted and responsive steps to prepare and 80 per cent of businesses misunderstanding or underestimating their enhanced chain of responsibility (COR) obligations to a greater or lesser extent.
Import containers must be packed and their contents secured to Australian standards (refer to Load Restraint Guide 2018), not the standard at the place of export. The volume and nature of container trades means it’s impossible to routinely open and inspect inside containers when they arrive at the wharf and before they take to the roads. Truck drivers and operators are often at the "front-line" when dealing with the consequences of poorly packed and secured containers – but it is the importer’s job under the COR to tell its suppliers how containers must be packed and to check that this instruction is being followed.
A potentially lethal combination of factors (including long distances, dispersed demographic and, in some instances, a ‘frontier’ attitude) continue to challenge compliance for rural industries. That does not mean that considerable efforts are not being made to get the message across and encourage compliance in major cities. Hopefully those efforts will bear fruit.
However, the COR laws apply to all heavy vehicle transport activities – in or out. So, in addition to addressing COR compliance for any outbound movement, businesses need to consider COR implications for inbound goods, materials and equipment supplies. Further, COR laws apply to the heavy vehicle movement of all goods, not just the main outputs of the business.
Doing something in relation to COR is better than doing nothing. However, the compliance obligation is for businesses to take all reasonably practicable steps to address safety, not just some or even most.
In October, changes to the Heavy Vehicle National Law (HVNL) will shift responsibility for safety to every party in the transport supply chain. For farmers and producers, you become part of this supply chain when you send or receive goods using a vehicle that carries more than 4.5 tonnes, or if you own heavy vehicles that transport your goods. The new legislation aligns closely with workplace health and safety regulations to ensure no one is exposed to unnecessary risks, so identifying hazards is key. In short, it means making sure that everyone gets home safely.
As part of discharging that duty, executives have to be aware of the CoR risks faced by their business and what the business is doing to manage those risks. But that is only two-thirds of the pieces in the puzzle. The third piece is that executives must know whether the measures implemented are effective in avoiding or mitigating CoR risks.
Without such reporting, executives will not be meeting their obligations. Under the new laws, executives could be fined up to $300,000 and jailed for up to five years for failing to meet their obligations.
|TRUCK DRIVER MEAL ALLOWANCES: FIXED|| |
ATA Chair Geoff Crouch said the revised determination would benefit 38,000 truck drivers and treat them as professionals. “The new determination means that truck drivers can claim, without detailed receipts, the same amount for meals as other comparable employees in what are called tier 2 and other country centres,” Mr Crouch said.
“We took this argument into our initial discussions with the tax office. The decision reflects our approach.” Mr Crouch emphasised that truck drivers could only claim for the amount they spent on a meal, despite the reasonable amount.
“We want to work with the tax office to simplify the claiming system further. There were also a number of issues raised by our member associations and individual drivers in our consultations that we could not resolve in the urgent timeframe for getting this decision fixed,” he said.
“The ATA, its members and other associations worked closely together to get this result. I’d also like to thank the staff of the tax office for their willingness to discuss and resolve our issues, once we had explained our concerns,” he said.
*These amounts are separate and cannot be combined into a single daily amount or moved from one meal to another. As a result of the discussions with industry, the ATO has accepted that some drivers eat their meals at unconventional times, depending on their work and rest hours. A drivers can claim (for example) for a dinner eaten in the morning after an overnight shift, but cannot claim a deduction for more than one meal of each type in a 24 hour period.