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Every part of supply chain is responsible, says regulator

December 10, 2015

Many myths and misinformation are still circulating around the subject of Chain of Responsibility, says the National Heavy Vehicle Regulator (NHVR).

Speaking at the recent Heavy Vehicle Safety and Chain of Responsibility Conference in Sydney, the NHVR’s manager for Chain of Responsibility Michael Crellin admitted a large part of his role was speaking with industry and delivering accurate information, especially around the issue of subcontractors and suppliers.

Even if it’s not your driver, it’s still your responsibility,” said Mr Crellin. “Every party in the chain must take a personal interest in every load, every vehicle and every driver,” he stressed.

Since his appointment in February this year, Mr Crellin said he and his team have been working with industry players, large and small, across Australia helping them to understand their obligations and transition to best practice in CoR operations.

With a national regulator and national law in place, we have the right infrastructure to effect change.  The next step is to get the right safety culture in place, through better education and training, so that individuals are equipped to make the difference and improve attitudes to safety wherever they work.”

Mr Crellin urged operators and logistics companies to make a decision to invest in education and operational improvements in 2016.

Increased road freight movements

The need for improved safety, especially on our roads, is obvious in light of the latest freight movement figures from the Port of Melbourne. A record almost 2.58 billion tonnes of container traffic moved through Melbourne’s port in 2014-15, 90% of that on city roads.

Rail freight traffic fell from almost 13% to 9.4%, highlighting the overwhelming dependence on trucks to move goods around the State.

No wonder the Victorian Government has just proposed a new major roads project that includes direct access to the port for trucks.

And while the disappointing drop in the number of rail container movements is cause for concern for some within the freight and logistics industry, the government says it is port users that determine whether to move freight by road or rail.

At the moment, with plans to build better roads to relieve congestion and improve access to the port, here and around the country, why wouldn’t road freight be an attractive option?

But with increased freight movements predicted year-on-year, resulting in a greater reliance on heavy vehicles and rail, failure to address CoR issues now will only contribute to more accidents, freight losses, injuries and fatalities – and ultimately prosecutions for those who have transgressed.

As Mr Crellin said in Sydney: “As a national regulator, our message to industry is don’t wait for something to go wrong. It shouldn’t take an incident or event for anyone to become serious about safety.”

If you’re serious about safety but unsure about your CoR obligations, subscribe today to CoR Adviser (obligation-free trial) and learn from the experts, like Editor-in-Chief Geoff Farnsworth, a Partner at Holding Redlich and one of Australia’s leading transport and commodities lawyers with more than 25 years’ experience in the field.