Frequently Asked Questions in Chain of Responsibility

      • Chain of Responsibility law means that any party in the chain who has influence and control over the transport task or activity is responsible for safety on the road.
      • Laws were amended to align closer with workplace health and safety (WH&S) laws.  In other words, this means that all parties in the chain are to do all that is reasonably practicable to ensure safety within their transport tasks.  This applies to the actions, inactions and demands from all parties in the supply chain.

      • If you or your business sends or receives goods using a heavy vehicle (with a GVM of >4.5t) you are part of the heavy vehicle supply chain.

        Regardless of your job title or primary duty, if you operate a heavy vehicle, you are then a heavy vehicle operator and therefore, are part of the supply chain.

      • Reasonably practicable means something that is, or was at the time, reasonably able to be done to ensure health and safety, while considering and weighing up all relevant matters including:

        • The likelihood of the risk occurring.
          • How likely is it that an accident or incident could occur with how the task(s) is currently being conducted?
        • The degree of harm from the hazard or risk
          • For example, more would be expected from the duty-holder or relevant person to minimise the risk of a serious death or injury than a lesser harm.
          • Note: any hazard or risk which is foreseeable should be minimised where practicable.
        • What the person knows about the risk
          • Does the person concerned know, or ought to reasonably know, about the hazard or risk, and about the ways of eliminating or minimising the risk?
        • Ways to eliminate or minimise the risk, and whether they are feasible
          • For example, a way of eliminating or minimising a hazard or risk is regarded as suitable if it is effective in minimising or eliminating the hazard or risk, it does not introduce new or higher risks in the circumstances and it is practical to implement in the circumstances in which the hazard or risk exists.
        • Costs of modifying is proportional to the risk
          • The cost of eliminating or minimising risk must only be considered after identifying the extent of the risk (the likelihood and degree of harm).  A calculation of the costs of implementing a control measure must be taken into account any savings from fewer incidents, injuries and illnesses, potentially improve productivity and reduce staff turnover.
      • All parties that have control and influence over the transport task and are responsible for complying with HVNL.  A person may be party in the supply chain in more than one way and legal liability can apply to their actions, inactions and demands.  The following are some of the job titles which exist. This list will assist you in identifying what role(s) you may play in the transport operation.

        Executive Officer
        You are an executive officer if you are the director of the corporation and / or you are the person who is concerned or takes part in the management of the corporation. See: Executive Officer - NHVR

        You are an employer if you employ someone to drive a heavy vehicle (including casual, permanent part-time, contract driving and labour hire) See: Employer - NHVR

        Prime Contractor
        You are a prime contractor if you engage driver(s) to drive a heavy vehicle under a contract for services. See: Prime Contractor - NHVR

        You are a consignor when you request an operator of the heavy transport vehicle (directly, indirectly or through their representative) to transport goods by road.  You can also be considered a consignor if you load a vehicle with the goods (and the goods are in your possession and control) immediately before the operator transports them. See: Consignor - NHVR

        You are an operator if you control or direct the use of a heavy vehicle. See: Operator - NHVR

        Loader / Unloader
        You are a loader / unloader when you load or unload goods in or from a heavy vehicle. See: Loader – NHVR or Unloader - NHVR

        You are a scheduler if you schedule the transport of goods or schedule the work / rest times of a heavy vehicle operator / driver. See: Scheduler - NHVR
      • A person may be a party in the supply chain in more than one way.  If you carry out more than one task in the chain, this responsibility will extend to all of the tasks you carry out.

        For example, your primary position for work is as a farmer, however you also undertake other tasks such as loading bulk product onto the heavy vehicle and sometimes driving the heavy vehicle from site to the client.  In this instance, you are not only a farmer, but you are also classified as a loader and heavy vehicle operator under CoR and HVNL

      • The following are only a few suggestions to ensure safety and compliance and are not the only avenues one can take to ensure this occurs in all transport activities.

        Who you choose to work with
        It is strongly suggested that you seek out companies, drivers and contractors which have a good reputation and compliance and avoid working with those who are known to have a history of poor compliance and are not safety focused.

        Negotiating agreements:
        Other suggestions include negotiating agreements with the driver (preferably in writing) to make it clear and ensure safety and compliance is at the forefront of their day to day practices.  If the company, driver or contractor does not adhere to these requirements as indicated in the agreement, then the agreement will state consequences that result from those actions, inactions or demands. 

        For example: if a vehicle is sent to pick up goods from site, and you believe it is too small or not safe to carry the contents, you may send it away without being loaded and insist that the contractor or client send a more appropriate vehicle.  An agreement can support this procedure being adhered to.

        Be aware:
        Be aware of the actions, inactions and demands being set throughout your day-to-day activities.  Especially be aware of your actions, inactions and demands as they are within your influence and control and therefore is your responsibility to adhere to safe work practices as indicated in CoR law and HVNL. 

        Just because you don’t believe it could happen to you, doesn’t guarantee that it won’t.

        Positive Duty
        Being aware can also extend to being proactive and having a positive duty to ensure safety and compliance throughout your transport activities.

        Policies & Procedures
        Ensure policies and procedures are in place to support safe and compliant practices.  This will also require adequate training and review of the policies and procedures with all applicable personnel to ensure understanding and proactive use of these documents.

        Should you require assistance in CoR policy and procedures, please contact Natwide Personnel.

      • This varies highly depending on your day-to-day activities – it is also to be noted that if you take on multiple transport tasks, you are responsible for those as well as the following.

        • What, and how much is loaded onto the heavy vehicle.
        • How the weight is distributed and how the load is restrained.
        • The vehicle is fit for purpose (is the vehicle adequate for the task at hand?).
        • The vehicle is mechanically safe and legally able to be used on the road.
        • Ensuring stocks or loads are ready to load on time so a driver is not overly delayed and pressured to speed or exceed their driving / working hours.
        • That the driver (whether yourself, an employee or contractor) is not tired or fatigued and does not work longer than they can by law.
        • If using a contractor to drive the heavy vehicle,
        • You are aware of the safety risks of your activities and how it poses to yourself, other employees and the public.
        • You avoid requests, instructions, requirements or demands which can influence the driver to speed, drive while fatigued or break other laws.
      • If you do not own or operate a heavy vehicle, it is highly likely you will use a carrier to cart product to and from your site.  While the carrier is on your property, you will have some influence and control over the heavy vehicle.

        In this instance you can take on the “job role” as a consignor or a prime contractor. 

        Your duties may include, but not limited to:

        • Ensuring the vehicle is fit for purpose (see fit for purpose definition in Vehicle Standards & Maintenance) and is considered roadworthy;
        • Being aware of how much weight the vehicle can carry (is the carrier in Mass Accreditation?);
        • Does the driver appear fatigued?
          • Even though it is not your responsibility for the Driver’s initial fitness for duty, if you are conscious of the driver appearing unfit for work, you have the influence and control to contact the supervisor and advise them that the driver is not fit for the task.
        • Any insurance policies in place; and
        • Carrier declaration to be completed (can utilise a Carrier Engagement Checklist)

        Depending on any other multiple job roles you may have, your responsibilities may extend further (see: General CoR Questions: What does it mean if I have multiple job roles or tasks?)

        If you are still unsure of your responsibilities, please contact Natwide Personnel.

      • Transport activities, means activities, including business practices and making decisions, associated with the use of a heavy vehicle on a road, including, for example:

        (a) contracting, directing or employing a person
                            a. to drive the vehicle; or
                            b. to carry out another activity associated with the use of the vehicle (such as maintaining or repairing the vehicle); or
        (b) consigning goods for transport using the vehicle; or
        (c) scheduling the transport of goods or passengers using the vehicle; or
        (d) packing goods for transport using the vehicle; or
        (e) managing the loading of goods onto or unloading of goods from the vehicle; or
        (f) loading of goods onto or unloading of goods from the vehicle; or
        (g) receiving goods unloaded from the vehicles.
      • There is no formal document that needs to be produced. The record can be in a note pad, a desk diary a piece of paper in your vehicle, it doesn’t matter. But it should contain the basics - time, date, place, what was seen, what was said, the people involved. Just dot points is fine. There is no need to record every conversation you have with a driver, but if something stood out and it caused you to speak with a driver in relation to him looking tired, you saw something wrong with the vehicle or the load was wrong then you should make a note of it.

      • The Court will listen to what you have to say and make a determination on the evidence before it. That is why it is important that you document these engagements you have with a driver, operator, loader etc.
      • If a farmer is charged with a CoR offence then legal advice should probably be sort. The matter will not proceed to Court unless the farmer is formally charged with an offence.
      • Yes. If you are getting a contractor to deliver goods to a client or to site, you are to have the knowledge, with a degree of accuracy, of how much your goods weigh.  Whether this is by weighing them on a weighbridge, or utilising scales or gauges.

        It is essential to take into account factors which impact the weight of the product being transported (such as humidity, type of stock you have, etc).

      • The following are only some of the ways in which you can be compliant and ensure your mass limits are accurate and legal.

        • The use of weighbridges (weighbridge dockets are the documentation which supports your weights are within legal limits).
        • Use of gauges and scales on heavy vehicles where applicable
          • Ensure these are maintained regularly to ensure compliance.
        Have you taken into account factors which impact the weight of the product being transported?
      • A person who drivers, or permits another person to drive, a heavy vehicle on the road is to ensure the vehicle and the vehicles components are loaded and comply with the mass, dimension and loading requirements applying to the vehicle. If you are operating a heavy vehicle, regardless of alternative job roles you may hold, you are also considered a heavy vehicle operator as per COR & HVNL.

      • You may need additional signage, rotating warning lights and flags, or permits from NHVR.

        The link below will provide you with further information: Oversize / Overmass Permit - NHVR

      • The General Mass Limits (GML) state the allowable mass for all types of heavy vehicle axle groups unless the vehicle is operating under an accreditation or an exemption under the Heavy Vehicle National Law (HVNL)

      • No particular documents are required to be carried in the vehicle specific to GML. However, if a vehicle combination requires a notice or permit to allow access to the road network, this permit or notice may be required to be carried in the vehicle.

      • Concessional Mass Limits (CML) allow an operator to operate at mass limits above the national general limits provided the operator is accredited under the National Heavy Vehicle Accreditation Scheme (NHVAS).

      • Mass limits for CML are set at 5% above the General Mass Limit (GML) subject to: a maximum of 1 tonne for a vehicle or vehicle combination with an allowable gross mass not exceeding 55 tonnes and a maximum of 2 tonnes for vehicle combinations and then refer to NHVR CML tables

      • Higher Mass Limits (HML) allows particular heavy vehicles to access additional mass entitlements providing:  operators of vehicles or combinations running HML on tri-axle groups are accredited under the Mass Management Module of the National Heavy Vehicle Accreditation Scheme (NHVAS), with an accreditation label fitted to the hauling unit vehicles are fitted with certified road friendly suspension vehicles are on an authorised HML route.

      • Under the Heavy Vehicle National Law (HVNL) an agricultural vehicle is defined as an agricultural machine or agricultural implement. An agricultural vehicle is considered a Class 1 restricted access heavy vehicle if it, together with its load, does not comply with a prescribed mass or prescribed dimension requirement. See Agricultural Vehicles.

      • Yes. If you are driving a fatigue-regulated heavy vehicle*, transporting produce between a primary production facility (such as a farm, paddock, silo, etc.) and a point of sale, and are working within a 160km radius of your base, you are not required to record information in a National Driver Work Diary.

        However, if you are driving a fatigue-regulated heavy vehicle under those same conditions as a primary producer, and are outside the 160km radius of your base, you are required to keep a record information in a National Heavy Vehicle Work Diary.

        *A fatigue-regulated heavy vehicle is a vehicle or combination with a Gross Vehicle Mass (GVM) of more than 12 tonnes, and fatigue regulated buses (i.e. carrying more than 12 adults).

        For more information on this exemption, see: Exemptions FAQ’s under Fatigue.

      • Some areas of responsibility for you as a primary producer, who may use a carrier, may include, avoiding requests, instructions, requirements or demands that may influence the driver to speed or drive while fatigued — whether written in a contract or made verbally.

      • Yes it does.

      • Keep the following records.
        For each driver the record keeper must keep:

        • The driver’s name, licence number and contact details;
        • The dates fatigue regulated heavy vehicles were driven;
        • The registration number of the vehicle(s) driven;
        • Driver timesheets and pay records; and
        • The total of each driver’s work and rest times for each day and each week.
      • Records must be kept for three (3) years after they are created.

      • Records are to be kept at a location accessible to an authorised officer for audit or investigation purposes.

      • No. It is the carriers’ obligation to meet accreditation requirements.

      • If it falls off or falls out the load, or if there is adequate risk of this occurring, it is deemed not restrained correctly.

      • A person who drivers, or permits another person to drive, a heavy vehicle on the road is to ensure the vehicle and the vehicles components are loaded and comply with the mass, dimension and loading requirements applying to the vehicle. If you are operating a heavy vehicle, regardless of alternative job roles you may hold, you are also considered a heavy vehicle operator as per COR & HVNL.

      • A load on a heavy vehicle must:

        • Not be placed in a way that makes the vehicle unstable or unsafe
        • Be secured so it is unlikely to fall or be dislodged
        • Be restrained using an appropriate restraint method
        • Be placed, secured or restrained in a way that meets the loading performance standards listed in schedule 7 of the heavy vehicle (mass, dimension and loading) national regulation.
      • Poorly loaded or inadequately restrained loads may cause injuries and fatalities when:

        • Heavy objects fall from vehicles onto other vehicles or pedestrians
        • Drivers swerve to avoid falling or fallen items from vehicles
        • Spillage on roads from vehicles causes other vehicles to
        • Unrestrained loads crash into vehicle cabins during emergency braking
        • Vehicles overturn when loads shift during cornering.
      • To load a vehicle safely the you should:

        • Choose a suitable vehicle for your load type and size
        • Position the load correctly on the vehicle to maintain adequate stability, steering and braking
        • Use a suitable load restraint system with equipment of adequate strength and in serviceable condition.
        •  see: Heavy Vehicle Loading Requirements
      • Yes, farmer’s don’t need to be there when their produce is being loaded provided they can be sure the goods will be ready and accessible on time, and that the driver will have all the information, equipment and assistance that is required.

      • If farmers (or their employees) load and restrain the goods themselves, they need to make sure the goods are loaded legally and safely (because the farmer is a loader).

        If a transporter is responsible for loading a farmer’s goods, the agreement with them should include a requirement that they load legally and safely.

      • The short answer is no, as in most circumstances you do not have any control or influence over what happens when your goods leave the property.

        The instances where you would be liable, is if your conduct encouraged, influenced or gave incentive for the heavy vehicle driver to speed. 

        For example, if you asked the heavy vehicle driver to deliver the goods within an unrealistic time frame that would require the driver to speed or break other laws / rules (e.g. fatigue), then you would also be deemed responsible.

      • You should negotiate an agreement with a transporter, whether it’s in a written contract or a verbal agreement, which makes clear that they must comply with regulations and safety requirements and that if they breach those requirements there will be consequences.

        You should help the transporter with scheduling by providing realistic estimates of the time required for loading, any confirmed delivery times and travel times on local roads.

        You should ask your transporter to arrive with enough time to load the vehicle, and drive to its destination legally and safely, factoring in unplanned delays. To assist, make sure your goods are ready to be picked up, and if for any reason you will be delayed, let your transporter know as soon as you can.

      • Daily Inspections (sometimes known as Pre-Trip inspections) are compulsory.
        The following records are examples which are required to support your safe practices within your transport tasks:

        • Service records;
        • Fault identification & repair;
        • Annual service records; and
        • Invoices from approved suppliers.

      • You are not required to be in a Maintenance Accreditation system.

        You are able to use your own paperwork, as long as you keep the records and they cover the minimum requirements.  If you are still unsure if you have covered your requirements, please contact Natwide Personnel for further clarification.

        Even though it is not required, a Maintenance Management system does cover all the relevant paperwork required to be complaint under CoR Law in Vehicle Standards & Maintenance.

      • Fit for purpose means the vehicle is suitable and appropriate for the task being undertaken. 

      • You should only be working with transporters who take responsibility for thorough maintenance of their vehicles.

        You are not required to physically inspect a vehicle when it comes onto your property. However, based on what you do know, if you see something about the vehicle that would make it unsafe when it leaves your property, you should refuse to load the vehicle, or use other practicable ways to avoid using the vehicle until it is repaired.

    • Fatigue - Work Diary Requirements & Exemptions

      • Yes.  Although drivers are exempt from carrying and recording information in a National Driver Work Diary, all other requirements of fatigue regulations still apply.  Drivers of a heavy vehicle are still required to record their details including work and rest times.
      •  No.  This exemption applies to all drivers who undertake a journey transporting primary produce as defined in the exemption notice.

        The following is a link which explains what is defined as primary producer in the exemption notice:

        Primary Production Work Diary Exemption Fact Sheet.

      • No.  If you are using your BFM or AFM accreditation, those rules override this exemption and therefore, you must fill in a Work Diary.

    • Livestock - Exemptions

      • Due to the transport of Livestock having so many variables, we recommend seeking professional advice regarding your circumstances, especially if you are transporting interstate.
      • Drivers must carry a current medical, road train gazette and the vehicles must be in a Maintenance Accreditation Program

        If the road train operates between Port Augusta West and Northern Adelaide, the operator must hold Maintenance Management Accreditation for all vehicles in the road train combination.    
        Note: the routes between Port Augusta West and Northern Adelaide include National Highway 1 and any other approved routes in Northern Adelaide.

        Road trains are also limited to 90kmph on Highway 1 between Port Augusta West and Northern Adelaide.

        Helpful links / documents:

      • You are not required to fill in a work diary if you are within 160km of your base (See Primary Production Work Diary Exemption Fact Sheet for more information) You are still required to record your work / rest times though (i.e. timesheets).

        Note: this does not apply if you intend to utilise your BFM accreditation - in this instance, you will need to fill in a Work Diary.

      • Refer to the following link to determine which code you are required to use.

        Viterra Mass Limits

      • Training staff in what their responsibilities are is the correct thing to do. Documenting the training, what the training was about, who was trained is the only way to prove what has been done. Add training as part of your induction process and document it.
      • When farmers make arrangements for their goods to be transported, they should request that the transporter obtains all necessary permits.

Disclaimer : While we make every effort to ensure material provided on the website is accurate and up-to-date, such material in no way constitutes the provision of professional advice. The material provided is intended as a guide.