Under the Heavy Vehicle National Law and Chain of Responsibility (CoR) rules, every party in the heavy vehicle supply chain will be held responsible in the event of any safety breaches.
Who is included in the supply chain?
- You, the driver’s employer
- The vehicle operator
- The scheduler
- The loading manager
- The loader and unloader of goods
- The packer of the goods
- The consignor and consignee of the goods
Therefore, this new legislation impacts everyone in the industry – from transportation to maintenance, logistics and to management.
As an employer, here’s what the recent changes in the Chain of Responsibility law mean for your business.
You Are Legally Liable
With the latest change in CoR legislation, everyone part of the supply chain will be legally required to proactively manage safety and minimise risk.
Everyone part of the supply chain will also be legally liable in the event of an accident, injury, illness, or loss of life. This is regardless of your degree of involvement (directly or indirectly) in an incident.
The standard of legal duty is also changing. The law now requires all parties involved to take “all reasonably practicable steps to ensure the safety of their transport activities.”
The goal of the recent changes is to improve safety by giving each member of the supply chain a responsibility for the overall safety of operations.
Your Legal Obligations
The recent changes in legislation give you the opportunity to proceed with a proactive approach to risk management.
You are now required to:
- Record and document safety management systems
- Perform vehicle maintenance tests to meet road-worthiness standards
- Take corrective action when breaches do occur
While the examples in the official CoR publications refer to driver fatigue, vehicle overloading and speeding, they also talk about governance and review systems.
It is clear that this includes drug and alcohol safety. Imagine what will happen if one of your drivers or subcontractor’s drivers causes an accident while under the influence of alcohol or drugs.
The chain of responsibility rules will hold you personally liable for not proactively preventing a driver with an alcohol or drug problem from driving. The penalties can range from $500k to $3 million depending on the severity of the breach.
It has always been prudent to have an alcohol and drug testing program in the transportation industry. However, you can see it is about to become legally essential.
Our drug and alcohol testing program protects your drivers, your company and the general public. Now it also protects you personally.
Do You Have a Drug and Alcohol Safety Program?
To satisfy the Chain of Responsibility law requirements and minimise your business risk, you want to have a solid drug and alcohol safety program. This starts with the right AOD (Alcohol and Other Drugs) policy that is tailored to your organisation.
If you already have an AOD policy, you should review it to ensure it is compliant with the new rules.
Only with the right policy in place will you be able to educate your staff and carry out the necessary testing to ensure compliance by everyone involved.
Implementing Your Drug Safety Protection Program
You are busy running a company. So it makes sense to engage a professional drug and alcohol safety provider that has the necessary experience and expertise to keep you safe. Whoever you engage, make sure they can provide the following:
- AOD policy development and review
- Induction and drug awareness program for staff
- Pre-employment testing
- Scheduled blanket and random screening
- Surface drug testing
We also provide onsite testing almost anywhere in Australia with our fleet of mobile testing units. These are completely self-sufficient vans, so we do not even need a bathroom or an electrical outlet at the premises.
We are a national franchise with experienced, highly trained operators. Unlike our corporate competitors, this allows us to provide our services with greater flexibility, fewer overheads and therefore highly competitive pricing.