As those in the transport and logistics industry would know, changes to the chain of responsibility provisions in the Heavy Vehicle National Law are now expected to commence later this year.

That means transport operators have limited time left to be ready.

This week we are up to the sixth of ten tips to help with your last-minute preparations.

Tip # 6 – How ‘alive’ is your safety and compliance system?

The new provisions impose a ‘primary duty’ on parties in the chain of responsibility to ensure, so far as is reasonably practicable, the safety of their transport activities relating to heavy vehicles.

This duty creates an obligation on transport operators to proactively manage risk, not simply to react to incidents and accidents. It is not enough to prepare policies that document your commitment to compliance with chain of responsibility legislation and put them on the office shelf ready to be dusted off if and when you are asked to produce them.

An effective safety management system requires you to ensure that your risk management practices are actually working and that you monitor the effectiveness of any controls you have in place.

Some ways that transport operators can do this include:

  • encouraging your employees, contractors and others in the supply chain to suggest improvements to your business practices;
  • regularly consulting with others in the chain of responsibility to improve safety practices; and
  • having a documented process to investigate incidents and accidents and modifying your practices and procedures based on the findings of any investigation.

It is vital that if there is an incident or ‘near miss’ that you stop, look and reflect on what happened to see if there is anything that could have been done differently.