Multiple parties penalised for breach of Chain of Responsibility

Public news

Last year a number of significant changes were made to the Heavy Vehicle National Law (HVNL) that expanded the scope of responsibility when it came to the safety of heavy vehicles for those within the Chain of Responsibility (CoR).

People who are considered to be in the CoR include:

  • Owners
  • Consignors
  • Consignees
  • Scheduler
  • Loaders
  • Packer
  • Unloaders

Everyone in the chain has a primary duty to take steps that are reasonably practicable to ensure safety of transport activities, with transport activities taken to include:

  • Receiving goods unloaded from a vehicle
  • Packing goods into a vehicle
  • Contracting someone to drive a vehicle
  • Directing someone to drive a vehicle
  • Repairing a vehicle
  • Leasing a vehicle
  • Selling a vehicle

The above has resulted in businesses involved with heavy vehicles, even if only in a minor capacity, needing to be aware of the requirement to have adequate policies and procedures in place to meet their obligations.

The need to be aware of these expanded obligations was again emphasised recently when authorities in New South Wales stopped a B-Double that was travelling in an unauthorised zone in the outskirts of Sydney.

The vehicle was carrying a combination of dangerous goods that consisted of 24.4 tonnes of used lead acid batteries and 1,080 litres of flammable liquid adhesives. An inspection carried out on the vehicle raised issues regarding safety and load capacity. The load had to be rectified before the vehicle was allowed to continue driving.

As a result of this, three parties were issued with the following penalties:

  • A Victorian transport company was issued a $10,000 penalty for failing to ensure dangerous goods were transported safely.
  • A recycling facility in Wollongong was issued a $4,000 penalty for employing a person for a task without adequate supervision.
  • The driver was issued with four penalties relating to:
  1. Driving without a compliant emergency information holder - $260;
  2. Driving dangerous goods inappropriately placard - $400;
  3. Driving a class 2 heavy vehicle not in accordance with authorisation - $674; and
  4. Not keeping a work diary as required - $674.

With fines to be imposed on those who don’t properly fulfil their obligations under CoR, it is important that you ensure your business is compliant under the Heavy Vehicle National Law.

If you would like any assistance with understanding your obligations under CoR or the Heavy Vehicle National Law (HVNL), or would be interested in attending one of our workshops on CoR next year, please call the MTA on 8291 2000 or contact the Workplace Relations team by clicking here.