Now is time to pre­pare for CoR

Big Rigs - - INDUSTRY OPINION - — Sal Petroc­citto

TO PRE­PARE in­dus­try for the new pri­mary du­ties amend­ments, the NHVR re­cently con­ducted the first phase of the Chain of Re­spon­si­bil­ity ed­u­ca­tion pro­gram with 73 ses­sions across Aus­tralia.

The most in­ter­est­ing part of these two-hour ses­sions is al­ways the pe­riod where ques­tions are fired from the au­di­ence.

There are al­ways plenty of peo­ple ask­ing about op­er­a­tional is­sues such as fitness for duty (fa­tigue) right through to sys­tems for weigh­ing ve­hi­cles (mass). There’s also in­ter­est in how to man­age con­tracts, con­trac­tual clauses and sup­ply chain re­la­tion­ships.

The CoR ed­u­ca­tion ses­sions were de­signed to ex­plain heavy ve­hi­cle and na­tional work­place safety laws, make it eas­ier for duty hold­ers to un­der­stand and as­sess their risks, and know whether they are com­ply­ing with the law.

The new pri­mary du­ties amend­ments change the way that CoR re­spon­si­bil­i­ties must be car­ried out.

Through the re­place­ment of ex­ist­ing pre­scrip­tive obli­ga­tions, the whole trans­port in­dus­try can ben­e­fit from a re­duc­tion of red tape and bet­ter ap­ply risk man­age­ment pro­cesses to fo­cus on safety out­comes.

An­other good ques­tion was raised at the ATA Con­fer­ence and through the pages of Big Rigs (Au­gust 11) about whether freight for­warders and prime con­trac­tors that are late with pay­ment to a sub­con­trac­tor should be in­cluded as a party in the Chain of Re­spon­si­bil­ity.

The sim­ple answer is that this con­duct would not be cov­ered by the Heavy Ve­hi­cle Na­tional Law.

Late or non-pay­ments by prime con­trac­tors are dealt with un­der other laws.

If an op­er­a­tor hasn’t met their safety obli­ga­tion be­cause of a late or non-pay­ment, that op­er­a­tor will be dealt with un­der the new pri­mary du­ties laws – much as they would un­der the ex­ist­ing law.

Fi­nan­cial in­abil­ity could not be con­sid­ered a rea­son­able ex­cuse for putting a dan­ger­ous ve­hi­cle onto the road.

How­ever the new pri­mary du­ties laws will al­low in­ves­ti­ga­tors sev­eral op­tions when as­sess­ing an or­gan­i­sa­tion’s safety sys­tems, rang­ing from ed­u­ca­tion and ad­vice to in­ves­ti­ga­tion and pros­e­cu­tion.

Poor fi­nan­cial man­age­ment or business prac­tices might be con­sid­ered an in­di­ca­tor of non-com­pli­ance in other ar­eas, and a late or non-pay­ment by a freight for­warder or prime con­trac­tor might trig­ger fur­ther in­ves­ti­ga­tion about their safety prac­tices.

The new CoR laws make heavy ve­hi­cle safety ev­ery­one’s re­spon­si­bil­ity. We’ll con­tinue to up­date in­for­ma­tion on the web­site.

I would urge all busi­nesses to use the time be­tween now and com­mence­ment of the new laws in mid-2018 to pre­pare for the changes.

PHOTO: CON­TRIBUTED

CoR READY: NHVR CEO Sal Petroc­citto.

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