Are you new to Chain of Responsibility?
Over our morning coffee this morning Matt and I were discussing the complex world of Chain of Responsibility. Being relatively new to the area (Matt has been educating me for the last 4 years or so) I asked the question “well how do you know if you are impacted by CoR?” This question, while it may seem straight forward, can have quite a complex answer. I have written this blog in an attempt to help out all those newbies to the area in simple terms that anyone can understand.
How do I know I am liable?
Chain of Responsibility shares the responsibility for Heavy Vehicle National Law amongst the parties in the supply chain, so it is not the driver of the truck that takes full responsibility. There is a legal obligation for parties for their actions or inactions. So the initial things you should be considering are;
- Is my business in the supply chain and if it is,
- Is my business taking actions to comply with its legal liability
Parties in the Chain of Responsibility
The following is a list of parties in the Chain of Responsibility for a heavy vehicle per the National Heavy Vehicle Regulator website nhvr.gov.au;
- an employer of a driver
- a prime contractor for the driver – if the vehicle’s driver is self-employed
- an operator of the vehicle
- a scheduler for the vehicle
- a loading manager for any goods in the vehicle
- a loader and/or unloader of a vehicle
- a consignor of any goods for transport by the vehicle
- a consignee of any goods in the vehicle
- a loader and/or unloader of any goods in the vehicle.
Isn’t it the responsibility of the transport provider?
As you can see the list includes individuals other than just the driver. So back to the question of is my business in the supply chain. If you believe you are listed in the list above then you are most likely required to have some form of business rules or policies to lessen safety risks. For example if you are a customer receiving goods at the completion of road transport then you should make sure at a minimum that you do not encourage or require drivers to break laws such as speeding. Maybe you need the goods by a certain time and request the goods arrive by a certain time to you and you ask the driver to do whatever it takes to get it there. This action could put you in breach of the legislation.
What can I do to comply with the law?
If you believe your business is required to meet Chain of Responsibility obligations then you need to take actions to comply. You can do this by educating yourself by visiting the National Heavy Vehicle Regulator website. You should also ensure that the relevant people in your organisation are educated on what they should and shouldn’t be doing. If you don’t have the resources to evaluate and educate your business then you can consult with an expert in the field for further steps to make.
As the saying goes its better to be safe than sorry and if you have read this and think Chain of Responsibility does apply then make sure you act before something happens leaving you with potential consequences.