A legal expert believes that Chain of Responsibility reform could see it having a wider scope, extending to mirror work health and safety provisions.
The occupational health and safety legal expert Nicki Milionis from Norton Rose Fulbright, believes that most submissions to the National Transport Commission’s (NTC’s) Duties Review Discussion Paper support extension of COR to mirror the WHS provisions.
The preferred approach to CoR duties will be presented to Ministers on the Transport and Infrastructure Council by the CoR Taskforce next month.
Milionis explained that reforms similar to that which we saw take place with WHS, may be implemented,
“While the views in the submissions to the NTC Discussion Paper differ, and many are contingent upon further investigation taking place, these initial findings show that there is a willingness for reform to take place similar to what we experienced with WHS,” Milionis says.
It is important to note that if these changes to CoR laws were to be introduced then additional parties may be accountable in terms of heavy vehicle safety, in comparison to those who have duties under COR now. Milionis explained:
“If changes to chain of responsibility laws were to proceed along these lines, it could mean that parties beyond those currently nominated in the legislation will be captured by the legislation and have duties in relation to heavy vehicle safety.”
In the article on Fullyloaded.co.au the 4 main options for reforming the CoR duties as set out in the discussion paper were detailed. The first option includes revising the legislation, taking a similar approach to WHS legislation. The second and third options entail amending the current legislation to include an overarching duty in each chapter and adding specific duties to address any present gaps. The final option would focus on educating the industry on current legislation rather than changing it.
The options were summarised on Fullyloaded.com.au as follows:
• revising the legislation to take a similar approach to WHS legislation by including an overarching primary duty of care which might have the effect of causing the legislation to apply to a wider range of parties
• amending the current legislation to include an overarching duty to be inserted into each of the chapters
• amending the current legislation to add specific duties to ‘fill gaps’ but keeping the current approach
• not making any legislative change but rather to focus on education, further guidance material and operational guidelines.
Read more: http://www.fullyloaded.com.au
Most are in support of amending CoR provisions including the National Heavy Vehicle Regulator (NHVR). Milionis says most are comfortable with using the WHS approach.
She did also mention that the Australian Logistics Council is not in support of revising the legislation to take a similar approach to WHS legislation even if further detail was provided following investigation. The ALC believes that explaining current legislation rather than changing it should be the main priority.