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Webinar Summary – Critical Concepts Under the Heavy Vehicle National Law

Sue Bottrell was joined by Denise Zumpe, CoR specialist for our webinar on Critical Concepts under the Heavy Vehicle National Law.

The critical concepts discussed were the scope of the HVNL being heavy vehicles on our roads and the transport activities and business practices associated with safe heavy vehicles, loads and drivers.

The responsibility for safe heavy vehicle operations is shared between supply chain parties who can control or influence heavy vehicle safety. The point emphasized by Sue and Denise is that each party is responsible for controlling the risks they pose to the driver and other road users. Parties are not responsible for each’s activities.

We got to the bottom of why the driver is not a party in the chain – because they already have legal liability for what happens on the road. They don’t need more layers of the law. But the other parties in who contribute to safe on road operations and without chain of responsibility they would not be legally liable.

They clarified the difference between principal and prime contractor. Prime contractor is a named party in the chain of responsibility where they direct or engage self-employed drivers to drive under a contract of service.

Heavy vehicle safety attracts attention from 3 regulators, the Police, WorkSafe and the National Heavy Vehicle Regulator, each operating under different laws. A high profile multiple fatality case was discussed where there is intervention from the Police and the National Heavy Vehicle Regulator under criminal law and the chain of responsibility provisions of the Heavy Vehicle National Law.

In summary, points to be aware of:

  • Stay within scope – check the definitions in Part 1.2 of the HVNL
  • Drivers are not a party in the chain
  • The reasonable steps defence no longer exists – the legal test is ‘so far as is reasonably practical, aligned to work health and safety legislation.
  • Work health and safety legislation still plays a big part in driving, fatigue, loading and unloading and off-road safety.

Thanks to LinkSafe for hosting the webinar. Please get in touch to simplify and streamline your heavy vehicle and chain of responsibility compliance.