1.2 – Why Restrain – Legal Obligations

Unsurprisingly, due to the risk of injury or death, there are laws which regulate the restraining of loads. For Jurisdictions covered by the Heavy Vehicle National Law (QLD, NSW, ACT, VIC, SA and TAS). The requirements of the Law are spelt out in Schedule 7 of the Mass dimension and Loading Regulations Heavy Vehicle (Mass, Dimension and Loading) National Regulation – Queensland Legislation – Queensland Government.

The corresponding Legislation in both Western Australia and Northern territory specify similar requirements for restraining loads.

Workplace safety

Please Click on the Animation and View the Key Workplace Safety Issues

Given that heavy vehicles are often workplaces the provisions of state-based workplace safety legislation apply and employers have a duty of care to provide a safe workplace for their workers and contractors. This includes:

  • Providing and maintaining safe equipment and safe systems of work (including loading and unloading)
  • Maintaining the workplace in a safe condition
  • Making sure workers have adequate information
  • Instruction, training and supervision to work in a safe and healthy manner

As a worker you have a duty of care to make sure you work in a manner that is not harmful to your health and safety or the health and safety of others SafeWork Australia can advise you on work and health and safety obligations.

Primary Duty under the Heavy Vehicle National Law

The Heavy Vehicle National Law (HVNL) places a primary duty on any person who is considered part of the Chain of Responsibility (COR) to do everything reasonably practicable to ensure their transport activities are safe.

Employ a heavy vehicle driver (employer)

Engage someone to drive a heavy vehicle under a contract for services (prime contractor)

Direct the control and use of a heavy vehicle (operator)

Schedule the transport of goods and passengers in a heavy vehicle, or schedule a driver’s work and rest hours (scheduler)

Consign goods for transport by a heavy vehicle (consignor)

Receive goods delivered by a heavy vehicle (consignee)

Pack or assemble goods for transport in a heavy vehicle (packer)

Manage premises where five or more heavy vehicles are loaded or unloaded each day (loading

Load a heavy vehicle (loader)

Unload a heavy vehicle (unloader)

    You are a CoR party because of a function you perform, not because of a title or job description, or the
    words of a contract. If you engage in any of the above activities, you or your business are accountable for heavy vehicle safety according to your primary duty.

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    Under the HVNL, the term ‘safety’ includes

    • Safety of drivers and passengers in heavy vehicles
    • Safety of other road users and people near roads
    • Protection of property including vehicles and loads
    • Protection of road infrastructure
    • Prevention of harm to the environment.

    Mass, dimension and loadings regulations stipulate that

    1. A load on a heavy vehicle must not be placed in a way that makes the vehicle unstable or unsafe.
    2. A load on a heavy vehicle must be secured so it is unlikely to fall or be dislodged from the vehicle.
    3. An appropriate method must be used to restrain the load on a heavy vehicle.

    The regulations then go on to discuss loading performance standards for restraining a load on a heavy vehicle. The loading performance standards will be discussed in greater depth in lesson 1.4

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