Parties in the supply chain under the Heavy Vehicle National Law (HVNL) have an obligation to ensure breaches of road transport laws do not occur. Duty holders need to make sure that their action or inaction does not contribute to or encourage breaches of the HVNL. If a party’s actions, inactions or demands cause or contribute to an offence, they can be held legally accountable.
Put simply: influence = responsibility = legal liability.
As an operator, manager, or scheduler of a business involved in road transport, your responsibilities also include ensuring that:
- rosters and schedules do not require drivers to exceed driving hours regulations or speed limits
- you keep records of your drivers’ activities, including work and rest times
- you take all reasonable steps to ensure drivers do not work while impaired by fatigue or drive in breach of their work or rest options
- vehicles are regularly maintained, and if speed limiters are fitted they are functioning properly
- vehicles are not loaded in a way which exceeds mass or dimension limits
- drivers moving freight containers have a valid Container Weight Declaration
- loads are appropriately restrained with appropriate restraint equipment (see the Load restraint guide for more information).
As consignor or consignee your responsibilities include ensuring that:
- loads do not exceed vehicle mass or dimension limits
- goods carried on your behalf are able to be appropriately secured
- operators carrying freight containers have a valid Container Weight Declaration
- your delivery requirements do not require or encourage drivers to –
- exceed the speed limits
- exceed regulated driving hours
- fail to meet the minimum rest requirements
- drive while impaired by fatigue.
Loading manager/loader/packer responsibilities
Loading managers, loaders and packers must ensure that loading a fatigue-regulated heavy vehicle will not cause or contribute to the driver driving while impaired by fatigue or in contravention of road transport laws.
Loading manager responsibilities include:
- working with other off-road parties to make reasonable arrangements to manage loading/unloading time slots
- ensuring vehicles are loaded/unloaded as quickly and efficiently as possible
- putting systems in place for unexpected jobs – for example where there have been unexpected road delays.
Loader responsibilities include ensuring a vehicle’s load:
- does not exceed vehicle mass or dimension limits
- does not cause the vehicle to exceed mass limits
- is placed in a way so it does not become unstable, move or fall off the vehicle.
Unreliable weight information makes it difficult for drivers to comply with the law. Packer responsibilities include ensuring:
- documentation about the vehicle’s load is not false or misleading
- any goods packed in a freight container do not cause the container’s gross weight or safety approval rating to be exceeded (also see Container Weight Declarations).