Chain of Responsibility is a business compliance area which holds companies accountable for unsafe practices in the heavy vehicle industry.
Initially, only drivers and probably operators were held responsible for breaching heavy vehicle National Laws (HVNL).
However, the introduction of the Chain of Responsibility has brought all parties involved in the chain of supply on board.
According to this policy, everyone involved should work to ensure safety on the roads. The Chain of Responsibility policy emerged after it was noted that other parties involved in the supply majorly contribute to the drivers’ unlawful actions.
The Chain of Responsibility Law
Chain of Responsibility (CoR) is an Australian transport policy stating that all parties involved in the chain of supply are responsible for every transport task.
Therefore, everyone starting from the management to the drivers should make reasonable steps to ensure safety.
This means that in case of breaching such as speeding or overloading, not only will the driver be in trouble with the authorities, but so will everyone else involved regardless of their position.
The CoR policy is applicable even to the people receiving goods in their business premises.
How the Chain of Responsibility Promotes Safety
The CoR aim is to ensure compliance with the heavy vehicle laws by having all involved parties share the responsibility.
The drivers will no longer bear all the burden for any broken laws. This policy enhances the safety of heavy vehicles on the roads by ensuring that drivers do not drive while fatigued.
In case of any breaching caused by the fatigue, anyone who influences the supply chain will be liable.
Other parties involved will not allow the drivers to take any unlawful actions since it will affect them as well.
Therefore, the CoR will successfully ensure that the employers, staff and the recipients play a part in minimising any risks.
The CoR Changes in 2018
HVNL amended the Chain of Responsibility Law on October 1, 2018 whereby it provided that every individual or company involved in the transport chain of supply has the primary duty of ensuring safe transport activities.
All parties are required to have systems that will help in control and management of safety through the following:
- Identifying, assessing, evaluating and controlling risks
- Identifying reasonable practices by managing compliance with mass, fatigue, speed, loading, dimension, and the required standards for the vehicles.
- Practising the act of reporting more often, maybe to the executive officers
- Having a record of safety measures applied.
Not only has the CoR law changed, but the penalties have also changed. Breaching this law might cause the involved parties the following:
- 5-year imprisonment
- An individual fine of $300,000
- A company fine of $3,000,000
Chain of Responsibility Audit
Parties involved in heavy vehicles transport need a CoR audit to follow up on their compliance system.
A CoR audit will help to determine whether the compliance system is working as expected or whether any amendments are needed.
The following are some of the documents that are looked at during CoR audit to determine the status of a compliance system:
- CoR compliance policy
- Procedures or handbooks used in the CoR operation
- The Materials used in training and creating awareness of the CoR to the employees, staff, and anyone else involved
- Board minuteshttps://pcaobus.org/Standards/Auditing/Pages/AU322.aspx
- Guidelines on reporting and samples of the reports
- Transport contracts
- Induction handbooks used in loading and distributing
- Declaration documents in regards to CoR compliance
Any gaps or deficiencies identified during a CoR audit should be addressed. If not resolved, the authorities might charge the parties of breaching the CoR law willingly.
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