Contracts are essential for bringing Chain of Responsibility (CoR) obligations into relationships between parties in the Chain.
There are two ways to incorporate CoR obligations into employment contracts:
- Require the employee to comply with all company policies, including CoR policies.
Below is an example of a general company policy compliance clause:
You are required to observe and comply with any written policy, practice or procedure of the Company. However, nothing in the Company’s policies, practices or procedures gives rise to a legal right enforceable by you and they do not form part of your contract of employment.
For this clause to be effective for CoR compliance purposes, the employer must have comprehensive CoR policies and procedures already in place. While such a clause is legally adequate for the purpose of disciplining employees who do not comply with company policies, it misses an opportunity to bring CoR obligations to the forefront of the employment relationship if such policies aren’t actually in place.
- Add a clause setting out express obligations to comply with CoR legislation.
An example of an express CoR compliance clause is:
Chain of Responsibility
You acknowledge and agree that compliance with Chain of Responsibility laws and regulations is important and that you will:
- comply with all Chain of Responsibility laws and regulations;
- ensure the safety of any transport activities;
- ensure that you are aware of and understand your obligations under Chain of Responsibility legislation and regulations (set out in the Company’s Chain of Responsibility policy attached);
- comply with the Company’s Chain of Responsibility practices and procedures and that if you do not, you will face disciplinary action, which could include the possible termination of your employment; and
- immediately report to management any accidents, ‘near misses’, incidents or hazards arising in the course of your employment.
CoR laws and regulations should be defined in the contract and any CoR policy to include the Heavy Vehicle National Law and Regulations, Road Traffic (Administration) Act 2008 (WA) and Road Traffic (Vehicles) Act 2012 (WA) and any other similar laws in any state or territory (or any replacement or modification thereof).
The above clause is modelled on common work health and safety clauses. It is preferable because it gives clear notice to the employee that disciplinary action may arise form breaches of CoR policies and procedures by the employee.
Importantly, employers must provide appropriate and adequate training and resources so that employees are equipped to understand and comply with their CoR obligations.
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