The following video was released on the NHVR Youtube Channel late 2017.
Below, you can read a transcript of this video, as it contains valuable summarised information relevant for any company considering the key questions:
Is our business ready? And are we ready?
|Sal Petroccitto, NHVR CEO:
Chain of responsibility laws are coming in mid-2018, new laws. So the key question that we ask ourselves is, is your business ready? And are you ready?
|Michael Crellin (Former) Manager CoR, NHVR:
So what’s going to change with the primary duties, is a move that creates a duty upon every party in the chain to ensure safety. So the move, within the HVNL to be much more aligned to work health and safety is so that we can begin to manage our systems in the same way.
|At the moment, chain of responsibility covers fatigue, mass dimension and loading, and speed. And under the new regime, that’s going to be extended to vehicle standards and maintenance. Now, one of the questions that we are often asked is, what does that mean for me if I’m a consignor or a consignee? Somebody who’s not actually running a transport company, somebody who’s not an operator. Well the reality is, really just three things. Observe, record, and report. Because the reality is, and the move within the primary duty, is that you will only be held responsible for that which you can influence and control.
|At the moment, executive officers can only be charged with a chain of responsibility offence after the corporation is convicted. In the future, under the positive duty, that responsibility and liability will extend to them.
|One of the other things that’s changing with the law, is a broadening of the information gathering [inaudible 00:01:47] available to authorised officers, so that an investigator has the ability to make requirements of third parties.
|The executive officer will need to know what are our risk management processes? What are our safety systems? And critically, are they working? It’s a focus upon the business practises and the systems controls that are in place. That means that my investigators won’t need to have a substantive offence. There won’t need to be an incident or an event that suggests we should commence a COR investigation. We can simply go and have a look at the system and do one of two things. Assure ourselves that the system is functional and effective or detect that it’s not.
|The new penalties. So there’s three categories. So the first one is a breach of that safety duty, okay? Now this doesn’t have to be an incident or an event, this can simply be … a failure in the system that hasn’t properly captured that risk. $50,000 for an individual and $500,000 for a corporation. Category two is where that same circumstance exists, but there is a risk of injury or death. $100,000 for the individual, a million dollars for the corporation.
|And here’s probably the most significant change to our law, is the category one offence is one where recklessness is involved. That means the individual’s liable to five years imprisonment and/or $300,000, and the corporation, a three million dollar penalty.
|Well, it needs a shift in our thinking to be one of preventative and proactive responses. So we need to almost get ahead of the game. We need to actively search for those hazards, and then instal systems that are going to properly manage them. But it particularly requires the development of an assurance regime, because we need to test the effectiveness of those system controls that we put in place. Because there’s no point having the best safety measurement system in the world if we’re never going to go back and check it.
|And critically, absolutely critically, we have to do more with our partners. Because commonly what we see, is the consignor will deal directly with the transporter, and the transporter then has contact with the consignee, but there’s very, very limited contact, if any, other than, or after the sales arrangement, between the consignor and the consignee. Need to consider the entire system, because in the future we simply can’t allow these gaps to emerge. So I can’t impress upon you enough the requirement to actually consult with your partners across the supply chain.
|Now, a lot of the current law, particularly around reasonable steps, highlights risk management processes as being appropriate to those reasonable steps that one might take. The new law brings that forward. The new law says that we pretty much have to be doing this as part of our normal operations. And let’s be honest, it makes sense to do that.
|So, I did promise a discussion in regards to so far as reasonably practicable, and there are five principles to this. These five principles really come directly from established case law. The first one is, what’s the likelihood of the risk occurring? Now, there is a difference between a hazard and a risk, okay? But essentially, as we go through this process to determine what was reasonably practicable, what was the likelihood of that risk occurring is the very first limb of that question.
|Secondly is, what’s the degree of harm? So, is it likely to cause injury? Could someone die? What does the person know about the risk? Okay, so that could be any party in the chain. And what are the ways that that particular risk could have been reduced or removed?
|The integration of technology is critical. What’s the risk surrounding fatigue? A driver falling asleep? So the risk around fatigue is sleepiness and drowsiness. So, the question I’ll ask is what technology is out there to manage the risk of somebody falling asleep at the wheel? And there is. Anybody who’s a transport operator here probably already has satellite tracking on their vehicles. It’s pretty much standard nowadays. The question I would ask, is how many have a fatigue management module overlaid into that system? And the numbers are actually quite small by comparison to the whole.
|Imagine, and I know that there’s companies out here how have been very, very progressive in their thinking, they actually have the unit inside the vehicle that’s essentially electronic word diary, that does the countdown for the driver. So straight away we remove the requirement upon a driver to do the math. And commonly that’s where we see issues arise.
|Report continuously. And I cannot stress this enough, because every time my investigators come in and have a look, they’re looking for a record to show that you have assessed this risk, and that you treated it in a particular way. What’s the future of COR investigations? Well, one of the critical things that we see is there needs to be the right approach for the right circumstance. And what do I mean by that? A prosecution is a punishment, not a solution. Prosecution will be reserved for those people who actually deserve to be in court, and not the one size fits all.
|The goal of the regulator is, is to change behaviour and make that behaviour much more safe. But behaviour starts with a thought, so the goal is really to change the thinking.
Source: NHVR Youtube Channel
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