Everyone involved in the road freight supply chain is held responsible for their actions under Chain of Responsibility legislation. According to National Transport Commission chief Paul Retter, COR is working.
Retter says that the Chain of Responsibility is slowly proving to be effective in improving trucking operations across the country.
The National Transport Commission (NTC) head expressed his optimism about the chain of responsibility and its effectiveness in improving road safety.
The CEO and Commissioner of the NTC said that the chain of responsibility which is included in the new Heavy Vehicle National Law is showing good results. Mr Retter was recently quoted in an article on Trucking website www.Fullyloaded.com.au speaking about his view on the COR legislature,
“We know that it works,” Retter says.
“All the analysis that we have done says that we’re in a better place now than we were prior to 1997 when we had chain of responsibility introduced into the model (state) laws.
“Have we got more to do? Absolutely,” Retter concedes.
For example: “We haven’t got the awareness in some parts of the non transport logistics chains that we need to and we need to work harder at that.”
Retter also pointed out that the NTC is a policy body only and in line with its charge has been producing several papers and reviews on chain of responsible over the last few years. Retter spoke from his personal experience as a regulator with the Office of Transport Security in the aviation and maritime sectors as well.
According to Retter most companies do want to do what’s right. He went on to state:
“Where people are seeking to do the right thing, often when you explain what the problem is, in my experience most companies will actually do the right thing,” he says.
“You don’t have to put people in the position where you are hitting them over the head with million-dollar fines or whatever it might be.
“That’s an unfortunate aspect that sometimes does occur because people do break the law and don’t demonstrate a desire to either fix their culture or management style or whatever it might be.
“But where a company or an organisation says ‘We’re keen to do the right thing, help us work through to this to get it right’, my experience is a smart regulator is actually helping that company achieve the outcome.
According to Mr Retter making examples of companies that don’t comply is not the way to promote safety. He said that the transport industry should report any problems they come across to authorities rather than simply accept unfair and possibly illegal conditions for the fear of losing contracts. He went on to explain:
“If people just sit back and accept it on the basis that should they raise it they might find themselves commercially disadvantaged, well then things are not going to get any better and we’re not going to improve the safety outcomes that will accrue to getting companies to comply,” he says.
“And as I say, 90 per cent of companies that I’ve seen in my time as a regulator – albeit in a different sector – when you bring something to their attention, management responds positively.
Retter concluded that compliance with chain of responsibility is not just the law but it’s also good for business, good for the company’s reputation and ultimately good for their profitability in the long term.
But truck drivers aren’t the only ones that have a duty of care under Chain of responsibility, in fact everyone in the supply chain is responsible for their contribution to the road transport process.
It is important that workers, consignors, consignees, drivers and everyone involved is aware of what is expected for them – chain of responsibility training is therefore crucial in this regard. As Retter highlighted this will not only benefit the company’s overall operations but also its’ bottom-line.