CoR – New safety duties for the supply chain.

9 August 2018 | Reading time: 3 minutes

If you are part of the supply chain you will have a positive duty to ensure the safety of your transport activities ‘so far as reasonably practicable’.

What is changing?

Amendments to the Heavy Vehicle National Law (HVNL) create safety duties impacting everyone in the ‘Chain of Responsibility’ (CoR). Parties in the CoR include the consignee, consignor, or packer of goods, as well as those operating vehicles, scheduling and employing drivers. Executive officers (eg directors) also have new due diligence obligations.

Given the range and irregularity of loads transported by the waste and resource recovery sector, CoR obligations require you to give special consideration to packing and loading, load restraints, assessing weight and dimensions and transporting dangerous goods.

  1 October 2018 onwards
Safety obligations Each party in the chain of responsibility has a positive duty to ensure the safety of their transport activities ‘so far as reasonably practicable’. There does not need to be an incident for a breach to occur. A breach may include a delivery contract that imposes financial consequences for delay.
Executive officer liability Executive officers, such as directors of a company, have a due diligence obligation to ensure the company complies with its CoR safety duty.

Due diligence obligations for executive officers

  • Keep up to date with the safe conduct of transport activities in the business.
  • Fully understand the hazards and risks associated with transport activities in the business and how the business manages those risks and hazards.
  • Ensure the business has appropriate resources to effectively manage its safety hazards and risks, including people, training, systems and equipment.

How this impacts the waste & resource recovery industry

Waste management and resource recovery businesses are often involved at multiple points in the supply chain and will need to assess and manage the safety risks for their transport activities at each point. This means understanding and complying with the road safety laws in each relevant state or territory, but that alone does not discharge the general duty to ensure the safety of transport activities.

In order to comply with the CoR safety duty, businesses and executive officers should take the following steps:

  • Conduct a risk assessment of your transport activities.
  • Undertake a gap analysis of your compliance with your CoR obligations under the Heavy Vehicle National Law.
  • Implement a safety management system for the business.
  • Implement review processes to assess the effectiveness of business practices in managing HVNL responsibilities.

What should the safety management system include?

The safety management system will need to be tailored to your business and transport activities. In most cases it will incorporate the following (and a whole lot more!):

  • An operational framework with other parties in the supply chain that is documented, sets out the responsibilities and requirements of each party and enables continuous feedback and communication, particularly about risks.
  • Processes for continuous risk assessment, communication and management.
  • A process for reviewing all contracts entered into with heavy vehicle operators to ensure the contracts will not cause them to breach the HVNL.
  • A process to ensure demands put on other parties in the supply chain would not encourage them to carry out any transport activity unsafely.
  • Employee training on the relevant aspects of the HVNL.
  • Drivers’ and contractors’ induction training.
  • Processes for accurately assessing weight and dimensions and monitoring the effectiveness and non-compliance with these processes.

What are the consequences of breaching the duty?

If a party in the chain of responsibility breaches its safety duty, significant penalties may apply. Under the new laws, there are 3 categories of penalties.

  Category 1 Category 2 Category 3
Offence The party, without a reasonable excuse, exposes an individual to risk of death or serious injury or illness and is reckless to the risk. The party exposes an individual, or class of individuals, to risk of death or serious injury or illness. Breach of the safety duty – discovery of the breach is sufficient.
Penalties for corporations $3 million $1 million $500,000
Penalties for individuals 5 years imprisonment and/or $300,000 $100,000 $50,000

Get in touch with Bespoke’s specialist Waste & Resource Recovery practice for information and clear straight forward solutions.