From 1 July 2015, livestock transport operators will be able to access a new level of flexibility in managing their work and rest periods.
Developed with industry for industry the new initiative from the National Heavy Vehicle Regulator will provide a safe, simpler and more flexible arrangement in the management of fatigue across the livestock transport industry.
According to NHVR Executive Director, Productivity and Safety, Geoff Casey the reduced red tape for industry will have flow on benefits to the broader primary production sector and the rural communities in which those farms and businesses exist.
“The new approach to the management of fatigue under the Advanced Fatigue Management (AFM) option uses a prototype or template to help livestock transport operators to appropriately manage their work and rest hours in a way which is suitable to the unique demands faced by these operators.”
“Up until now, operators had to invest significant time and money into developing their own separate safety case to apply for the AFM option”, Mr Casey said.
Under this new arrangement AFM accredited operators can now work up to 14 hours each day on a fortnightly cycle with ‘risk off-setting’ restrictions around driving between midnight and 4am and frequent stops for welfare checking.
It is anticipated that the scheme will be extended to allow AFM accredited operators access to longer work days and the ability to pool hours across multiple days.
The template approach was developed by the NHVR in partnership with the Australian Livestock and Rural Transporters Association (ALRTA) and its affiliate associations. ALRTA Large and National Operators committee member and Managing Director of Frasers Livestock Transport, Ross Fraser welcomed the initiative.
“This initiative will allow more livestock transport operators to access flexible fatigue management practices that balance freight efficiency with safe operations.
“Real world data that informed the approach clearly showed that there are times when we need to work longer hours, but when this was necessary, it was done in a way that any potential risks were managed by extra rest or sleep to off-set the fatigue risks.
“We commend the NHVR for recognising the unique transport challenges of the livestock transport industry,” Mr Fraser said.
Mr Casey said that the road transport industry is only as safe as the participants in the industry, and this initiative is just one of a number of initiatives the NHVR is putting in place to ensure heavy vehicles operate safely on Australia’s roads.