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Heavy Vehicle National Law and Chain of Responsibility in the grain industry

Heavy Vehicle National Law and Chain of Responsibility in the grain industry

This is branded contend for Grain Trade Australia.

Chain of Responsibility (CoR) is not a new concept in Australia.

In 2005, CoR legislation was developed as part of the National Road Transport Reform (Compliance and Enforcement) Act 2003 to enforce regulation and accountability in areas such as driver fatigue management, speed, mass and loading in the heavy vehicle industry.

In 2014, the Heavy Vehicle National Law (HVNL) was introduced as a single set of laws for heavy vehicles on the principle that 'anyone who has influence over the transport activity is responsible for safety on the road'.

On 1 October 2018, the HVNL was amended and now states that every party in the supply chain has a duty to ensure the safety of their transport activities, including doing all that is reasonably practicable to identify, assess, evaluate, and control risk.

What changes were made to CoR in 2018?

The change in CoR law aims to ensure everyone in the supply chain shares responsibility for identifying breaches of the HVNL, and that you (and your employees) exercise the appropriate level of control or influence for transport tasks or activities as part of the CoR.

Significant changes which have material consequences to those implicated, include:

  • All parties along the grain supply chain are legally liable to uphold HVNL, including primary producers, grain buyers and brokers, storage and handlers, freight providers, and end users. It's important to note that individuals within a business, such as executives and managers, are also legally liable, not just the business.
  • Vehicle standards (maintenance) was also added to the five compliance components of mass, dimension, loading, speed and fatigue.
  • Executives of all parties in the chain must exercise 'due diligence' to ensure their businesses comply with all duties under the CoR. This means that executives and a business can be prosecuted for failing to put in place a CoR risk management framework, even if a CoR accident or incident has not arisen.
  • Penalties increased significantly and are now up to $3 million for corporations and $300,000 or five years imprisonment for individuals.
Heavy Vehicle National Law and Chain of Responsibility in the grain industry

Who are the parties in the grain supply chain and when would I be held liable?

Anyone involved in the Australian grain supply chain from primary producer, all the way through to an end user is considered a party in the chain and must have a CoR risk management framework in place to prevent a breach of HVNL, this includes:

  • Farmer and farm employees including contracted staff and drivers
  • Grain brokers and grain buyers
  • Transport providers and drivers
  • Storage and handlers, small and large
  • Local end users of produce, such as feedlots, mills, refineries, maltsters, and crushers.

Multiple parties can be responsible for offences committed by the drivers and operators of heavy vehicles, and an individual may have responsibilities in the grain supply chain in multiple ways - for example, your duties as an employer, operator and consigner of goods.

Each individual must, therefore, ensure their actions do not result in, encourage or reward, breaches of road safety law - particularly in the key areas of speeding, fatigue management, mass, dimension, vehicle standards (maintenance) and load restraints.

How do I make sure myself, my business and my staff are up to date with CoR?

In partnership with the National Heavy Vehicle Regulator (NHVR), Grain Trade Australia is offering free online training in the 'Practical Steps to CoR Compliance'.

The purpose of the training is to provide all grain industry participants with an easy-to-access training course to help them understand where they fit within the chain and assist them through the process of becoming compliant.

The course consists of three online modules which take around 30 minutes each to complete. You can complete the course on mobile, tablet or desktop.

At the end of the three modules, you'll understand the fundamentals of CoR, who is responsible and when, and what you can do to reduce risk to yourself and your business.

The course also covers off due diligence, risk management and safety management systems, and how to practically implement CoR into your business, or on your farm, so when you come out of the training, you'll already have some of the risk management framework in place.

For more information on the training and to register, visit the GTA website here.

This is branded content for Grain Trade Australia.