6.2.1 Chain of Responsiblity

In this lesson:

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Why does the Chain of Responsibility legislation exist

Consistent with the safer systems approach there has been increasing recognition that the truck driver is not always the source of safety problems.

Sometimes unlawful behaviour is influenced and/or controlled by the actions of other parties.

Chain of Responsibility laws seek to ensure accountability prevents any party from encouraging, providing incentives for, demanding (or even allowing) drivers to break the law.

Who is in the Chain of Responsibility

All parties who have control or influence over the transport task are considered to be in the “chain” this includes:

  • an employer of a driver
  • a prime contractor for a vehicle if the vehicles driver is self-employed
  • an operator of the vehicle
  • a scheduler for the vehicle
  • a loading manager for any goods in the vehicle
  • a loader and/or unloader of a vehicle
  • a consignor of any goods for transport by the vehicle
  • a consignee of any goods in the vehicle
  • a loader and/or unloader of any goods in the vehicle.

Primary Duty

  • All parties in the chain have a primary duty to ensure the safety of their transport activities.
    • an obligation to eliminate or minimise potential harm or loss (risk) by doing all that is reasonably practicable to ensure safety.
  • Safety management systems and controls (business practices, training, procedures and review processes) that:
    • identify, assess, evaluate, and control risk
    • manage compliance with speed, fatigue, mass, dimension, loading and vehicle standards requirements through identified best practice
    • involve regular reporting, including to executive officers
    • document or record actions taken to manage safety.

What does reasonably practical mean?

You need to identify, assess and remove any public risk as a party in the chain of responsibility so far as is reasonably practical.

The “so far as is reasonably practicable” test needs to consider :

  • the likelihood of the risk occurring
    • the degree of harm
    • what the person knows about the risk
    • ways to remove or reduce the risk and whether they are feasible
    • whether the costs are proportionate to the risk.

Responsibility of Executives

Executives are required to undertake due diligence in relation to the transport tasks the company undertakes, This means that they must:

  1. Have knowledge of transport activities undertaken my the organisation
  2. Understand the hazards and risks
  3. Ensure resources are available eliminate or minimise the hazards and risks; and
  4. Implement processes—
    • to eliminate or minimise those hazards and risks; and
    • responding to information and  incidents; and
  5. to verify the resources and processes are used and implemented.
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