NHVL Cooperation and Collaboration

Anyone operating within the supply chain in the last decade would be very aware of the significant changes to the obligations and responsibilities that are now enshrined in law. The partnership between Government and Industry has resulted in a program to reform transport behaviour and improve road safety significantly. This improvement has matured so much so that key indicators are now part of most compliance scorecards.

During the same period there have been significant reforms in Occupational Health and Safety Law, and the supporting standard, AS/NZ 45001:2018 Occupational Health and Safety (OHS), to the point where the two areas of compliance are almost the same. Maybe its time to integrate?

Safety Obligations

As an Officer of a Person Conducting a Business or Undertaking (PCBU) your obligations are clear. Take a risk-based approach to any sources of harm to workers engaged, or caused to be engaged, by the PCBU. When it comes to National Heavy Vehicle Law, the industry Master Code goes further and specifies the obligations of everyone along the chain of Responsibility (COR); this makes it easier for smaller PCBUs to adopt.

Whether your focus is OHS or COR, you will need to monitor events as they occur and determine the following:

  • Could the event result in harm (Near Miss),
  • How severe could the outcome be?
  • What is the likely or actual frequency of the event?
  • Who would we need to report events to?
  • How can we reduce the frequency or severity of a possible or actual event?

Key Safety Risks

The four key risks associated with COR are all potentially catastrophic events. Speed, Fatigue, Mass-Dimension-Load (MDL), and Vehicle Standards have all led to fatalities on our roads. As a transport operator, or a business that engages a transport operator, do you have the appropriate processes in place to ensure you mitigate the risk of such an event?

Given many organisations have already developed processes and systems to meet these obligations, the focus should be on cooperation and collaboration between the parties. We find that as we interact with organisations who are involved in only part of the COR, there is a need for organisations to go beyond their own system. Periodic communication about controls, actual events, collaboration during investigations and support for one another to ensure business continuity are all important areas to consider.

Performance and Improvement of Safety

Discussions between key parties about the risks they share should be held regularly. Opportunities to discuss and agree on improving methods of mitigation are essential. The key to achieving effective outcomes is which Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) are chosen to underpin the relationship between the parties.

The Master Industry Code of Practice (Master Code) contains a range of KPIs as a first step. But what do you plan to do beyond that first step?

The most significant issue is data. We find ourselves collecting so much or struggling to collect what is important, at considerable cost, whilst we are still getting the job done! What is recorded? What is reported? How is it reported? Who is it reported to?

You may need an objective external party to assist. Use an independent adviser to facilitate options, or a second party audit to confirm your current circumstances. Wherever you find yourself on the journey talk to C-Suite Safety Solutions for your Proven Safety Solution today!

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Apr 07, 2022