The chain of responsibility has been around for two decades but the National Heavy Vehicle Regulator (NHVR) says it’s taking too long to sink in.
Early results from a large NHVR survey of 800 transport and logistics supply chain businesses and customers found 1 in 5 still do not have adequate COR training for managers.
The survey was of 800 transport and logistics supply chain business for the NHVR.
This is obviously old news for those TWU members familiar with the long and hard-fought Union campaign targeting, among other things, aspects of COR mechanisms. Ensuring individual managers along a supply chain can legally be brought to account for demanding unsafe practices is seen as a highly-effective way to ensure safe, fair and equitable workplaces for all owner-drivers.
A victory in this campaign for the TWU (Vic/Tas Branch) was the recent announcement of a state government-review of Victoria’s owner-driver regulations.
The full NHVR report is due out next year and is part of the Regulator’s program to improve COR education and awareness, from big companies to small across the entire supply chain. The program recently includes information sheets and podcasts on its website.
The NHVR, according to Owner/Driver magazine, is also looking forward to improved provisions in the law, expected in the first half of 2018, to make COR investigations and prosecutions easier, for example by targeting unsafe practices rather than waiting for an accident to happen.
Of course, the TWU have echoed the sentiments of drivers who have been calling for better education and tougher enforcement since soon after COR was first mooted in Australia more than two decades ago.
“This has been going since 1994,” NHVR CEO Sal Petroccitto said.
“I’m hoping that what industry will see over the next couple of years is that in a very short period of time we’ve probably been able to get to a level where many in the industry have been hoping would have been achieved earlier on.”
In relation to the massive issue of waiting, Petroccitto said the call from across the trucking industry for customers to be compelled to pay for waiting time was “a difficult one in terms of compulsory paid time.”
“What we have been doing is spending a lot of time going out and talking to a number of the large distribution centres, across the board,” he said.
“We know that queues are an issue in a number of areas, whether it’s a receiving point for grain, or it might be at a port or it might be at a DC. Really it’s been about I suppose lifting their understanding and awareness of their obligations.”
The TWU said it is highly-important that drivers are paid for queuing. These wasted hours have, time-and-again, be shown to directly cause drivers who are being paid low hourly rates or by the load into unsafe and dangerous practices – such as speeding, tailgating and running red lights.