Basic Fatigue Management (or BFM) Accreditation

Chain of Responsibility (or CoR) is inherently a complicated set of rules brought around by the Heavy Vehicle National Law (or HVNL), adopted by all states except that of the Northern Territory and Western Australia.

When it comes to Basic Fatigue Management (or BFM), and the management of Basic Fatigue, managing your liability in Chain of Responsibility (or CoR) is not an easy task. It makes it even more complicated when there are different rules for managing fatigue. We know there is Basic Fatigue Management (or BFM), but there are also other frameworks to ensure the correct management of fatigue, such as Standard Hours and Advanced Fatigue Management (or AFM) to consider as well. The first element to bring to your attention is the inclusion or exclusion of the word ‘Management’ in the three elements. While all three sets of fatigue rules need a degree of management, the more complicated of the two carry the word itself; management.

Basic Fatigue Management (or BFM) is the most common between Advanced Fatigue Management and Basic Fatigue Management (or BFM). Both of which require significant more attention to detail than that of Standard Hours, when managing fatigue.

When it comes to Standard Hours, anyone correctly licensed can jump in a heavy vehicle (GVM of 4.5T or more) with a driver work diary and drive more than 100klm or less than 100klm and a daily run sheet to correctly record all driving, work and rest carried out by the driver. As long as the driver maintains the correct rest breaks and does not drive or work for more than 12 hours in any day and ensures the correct rest days away from the truck each week, then they would be deemed compliant and can driver under the Standard Hours framework of fatigue management within a transport task.

Advanced Fatigue Management (or AFM) differs to Basic Fatigue Management (or BFM) in that it requires much more policy framework, as well as procedures within the organisation. As well as the Advanced Fatigue Management (or AFM) accreditation itself issued only by the National Heavy Vehicle Regulator (or NHVR) and the right competency-based training within the business to carry on business under Advanced Fatigue Management (or AFM) rules.

For a business to operate under Basic Fatigue Management (or BFM) rules correctly, it must comply with the Heavy Vehicle National Law (or HVNL) in such a way that they comply with the regulations set out by it, but also carry the correct accreditation. The accreditation is one which can only be endorsed by and be issued by the National Heavy Vehicle Regulator (or NHVR), once the business applies for it through the National Heavy Vehicle Regulator (or NHVR) via an accredited auditor, has passed the relevant audit and paid an application fee.

Basic Fatigue Management (or BFM) is not something that any one person or business can claim they are legally allowed to operate under, without first ensuring the correct set of procedures are in place, training and importantly, the accreditation issued in Australia only by the National Heavy Vehicle Regulator (or NHVR). To apply and obtain the accreditation, not only do you need robust processes in place, you also need to ensure that drivers and schedulers are trained in Basic Fatigue Management (or BFM) and that the business can demonstrate that they are compliant by demonstrating adequate processes to meet six minimum standards.

  • Scheduling and rostering – It’s a requirement that you can show that the scheduling of individual trips and rostering of drivers meet the standards imposed by the Heavy Vehicle National Law (or HVNL).
  • Fitness for duty –Basic Fatigue Management (or BFM) requires the operator to demonstrate a method to ensure drivers fitness for duty so that the driver may safely perform their required duties and meet the required medical standards. (Important to note – Fitness for duty, cannot be only be determined through a form signed off by the driver which can often thought to be the case. A process must be ensured to evaluate driver’s fitness, as with the medical standards – Such as an appointment with a doctor to go through a medical check.
  • Fatigue knowledge and awareness – Personnel involved in the management, operation, administration, participation and verification of the BFM option can demonstrate competency in fatigue knowledge relevant to their position on the causes, effects and management of fatigue and the operator’s fatigue management system. To obtain a Basic Fatigue Management (or BFM) accreditation, a competency course should be undertaken by those ensuring Basic Fatigue Management (or BFM) within a business, to show competent ability to carry out their duty to meet the requirements of the Heavy Vehicle National Law (or HVNL).
  • Responsibilities – Basic Fatigue Management (or BFM) requires that the authorisations, responsibilities and duties of all positions involved in the management, operation, administration, participation and verification of their operations under the BFM option are current, clearly defined, documented and carried out accordingly. Procedures and processes must be relevant, up to date and kept in a way to be accessible by those who need to access information within the transport task, so that they can administer their role correctly.
  • Internal review – It is important that an internal review system is implemented to identify non-compliance and ensure that the activities comply with the BFM standards and the operator’s fatigue management system. So that the business can demonstrate an active safety system that is aligned to managing out any risk found in their Basic Fatigue Management (or BFM) processes. In other words, nothing is perfect and if you find an issue with your active safety system through a non-conformance, you need to ensure a process that enables the improvement of your active safety system.
  • Records and documentation – Basic Fatigue Management (or BFM) also requires the operator will implement, authorise, maintain and review documented policies and procedures that ensure the management, performance and verification of the BFM option in accordance with the standards. This ensures that the Policies, procedures and manuals are reviewed and updated when required to meet the standards imposed by the Heavy Vehicle National Law (or HVNL) or business practises outlined in the active safety system of the business involved in a transport task requiring to be accredited in Basic Fatigue Management (or BFM).

None of this is an easy road, but although Basic Fatigue Management (or BFM) allows for more flexible options for a business involved in a transport task, it does require time, energy and as a result extra cost within the business which wishes to obtain an accreditation in Basic Fatigue Management (or BFM).

Importantly though, any business involved in a transport task as of the 1st October 2018, should recognize that most of the standards to obtain accreditation in Basic Fatigue Management (or BFM), are required of the business to ensure a compliant transport task and to ensure that its legal liability under the Heavy Vehicle National Law (or HVNL) is appropriately managed. So the step to Basic Fatigue Management (or BFM) should naturally be fairly straight forward and only insure some extra elements within a business to manage which would enable the accreditation of the transport task in Basic Fatigue Management (or BFM), such as training itself and the management of the training within the organisation and some more policy and procedure around the management of the fatigue in the drivers that operate within the business, so as to adequately demonstrate that appropriate management of fatigue exist within the transport task.

If you have any questions in your Basic Fatigue Management (or BFM) accreditation, then please get in touch with a reputable consultant with up to date knowledge of Chain of Responsibility (or CoR) to help you with your ongoing compliance today.

Author

Matthew Wragg
Director and Principal Consultant
www.maez.com.au