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Are you aware of your link in the Chain of Responsibility?

Are you aware of your link in the Chain of Responsibility?

Since February 2014, you don’t need to be the operator of a heavy vehicle to be included in the Heavy Vehicle National Law (HVNL) chain of responsibility (COR). If you consign, pack, load or receive goods as part of your business, you’re a legal link in the chain. And, corporate entities, directors, partners and managers are also included and are held accountable for the actions of people under their control.

Why a chain of responsibility?

It’s all about sharing the responsibility equally. The law recognises that multiple parties may be responsible for offences committed by the drivers and operators of heavy vehicles. A person may be a party in the supply chain in more than one way. For example they may have duties as the employer, the operator and the consigner of goods.

If you play any part in the supply chain and you exercise (or have the capability to exercise) control or influence over transport tasks, it’s your responsibility to ensure compliance with the HVNL.

Who is in the supply chain?

Any person with an influence and/or control in the transport chain is a ‘party’ and includes, but is not limited to:

  • corporations, partnerships, unincorporated associations or other bodies corporate
  • employers and company directors
  • exporters/importers
  • primary producers
  • drivers (including a bus driver and an owner-driver)
  • prime contractors of drivers
  • the operator of a vehicle
  • schedulers of goods or passengers for transport in or on a vehicle, and the scheduler of its driver
  • consignors/consignees/receivers of the goods for transport
  • loaders/unloaders of goods
  • loading managers (the person who supervises loading/unloading, or manages the premises where this occurs).

Examples of COR law in action

Some cases where COP law apply, include:

  • heavy vehicle driver breaches of fatigue management requirements or speed limits
  • heavy vehicle driver breaches of mass, dimension, or loading requirements
  • where any instructions, actions or demands parties in the supply chain causes or contributes to an offence, including anything done, or not done (directly or indirectly) that has an impact on compliance, such as:
    • schedulers whose business practices place unrealistic timeframes on drivers which cause them to exceed their work rest options
    • operators who do not provide drivers with a sleep environment which allows for quality sleep if their work requires them to sleep away from home (approved sleeper cab, access to rest stops).
    • Contracts that require a driver to break the law are illegal

In a prosecution, the courts may consider the actions of each party in the supply chain, including the measures those parties have in place to prevent breaches of the HVNL. Each duty holder must take all reasonable steps to ensure a heavy vehicle driver can perform their duties without breaching the HVNL.

At National Heavy Haulage, we take our legal and safety obligations very seriously and we have incorporated compliance with the HVNL into our company-wide Safety First culture. If you need a trusted transport partner to move your oversize and heavy equipment across the country or around the corner, contact us for a quote today. 

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