Operators and everyone else involved in the supply chain need to be aware of changes made to chain of responsibility (COR) provisions in Western Australia.
Now, all parties in the supply chain can be held liable for mass, dimension and load restraint breaches.
Authorities in Western Australia can now prosecute a number of parties involved in the supply chain if the vehicle is overloaded or has an illegally restrained load on a WA road.
It is more important than ever for people in positions responsible for loading a vehicle, scheduling deliveries, receiving freight and/or supplying the vehicle to be aware of their responsibilities because they will be held liable.
What Do the COR Provisions Mean?
The COR provisions apply to both light and heavy vehicles and, therefore, both the trucking industry, as well as other members of the community, can liable for prosecution due to non-compliance.
While it is still up to the driver to make sure that mass, dimension and loading requirements are met, other parties can also be held liable under the new provisions.
In a statement, WA Road Transport Authority Main Roads explains:
“Drivers are still responsible for ensuring that the vehicle they are driving complies with all mass, dimension and loading requirements. However, under the new laws, other parties in the chain can also be held responsible,”
Everyone from the consignors to those responsible for loading the vehicle can be prosecuted for COR breaches, as WA Main Roads goes on to state:
“In the event of a breach, consignors, drivers, vehicle owners, loaders, packers, management and company directors may be held responsible under the legislation. Liability also extends to corporate bodies, unincorporated associations and partnerships.”
The authority’s aim in extending COR to light vehicles is to get the greatest road safety benefit. The current provisions bring WA COR laws in line with those in eastern states. In the state, all parties are required to “take all reasonable steps” to prevent a breach from occurring.
If parties comply with the law they have nothing to fear. Those who are charged with committing an offence should be able to show that they took all necessary steps to comply with their obligations.
Some of the “steps” that should be taken according to WA Main Roads include:
“ …developing codes of practice, reviewing business practices, changing commercial arrangements, adopting risk management practices, implementing training policies and providing necessary supervision.”
Main Roads also explained that drivers cannot lose their jobs/contracts if they raise concerns about COR offences or if they cooperate with authorities during an investigation.
It is crucial that everyone in the supply chain is aware of what is expected of them so that they can comply.
Ensure that you as well as your employees know how to do the right thing when it comes to COR. Click here for more information on how you and your company can comply.