With one month to go until the new Chain of Responsibility changes kick in, Waste Management Review speaks to the National Heavy Vehicle Regulator about what it means for the waste sector.
Reforms to the Chain of Responsibility (CoR) laws will be implemented from 1 October, with timing for the changes confirmed by Queensland Transport and Main Road Minister, Mark Bailey.
National Heavy Vehicle Regulator (NHVR) CEO, Sal Petroccitto, said the start date for the reforms follows lengthy consultation and information for heavy vehicle businesses over the past 18 months.
“The NHVR has been engaging with many of the 165,000 businesses which make up the heavy vehicle supply chain, and conducted more than 100 workshops,” said Petroccitto.
“October 1 provides the additional time that some sectors were asking for to prepare for the changes, particularly the agricultural sector.
“This change to CoR laws is a significant leap forward in recognising everyone in the heavy vehicle supply chain has a role to play in ensuring safety.
“The reforms complement national workplace safety laws, and place a positive duty-of-care on supply chain parties.
“Duty holders who assess their risks and manage them will be complying with both the HVNL and workplace safety law,” he said.
The NHVR has information available including CoR Gap Assessment tools, role-specific fact sheets, Safety Management System templates and tools, and videos and podcasts
NSW police, government authorities and the waste industry have met to discuss their concerns on the issue of interstate waste transportation.
NSW Police, EPA NSW, SafeWork NSW, Stay Safe Committee and waste industry representatives attended a dedicated forum last week, facilitated by the Waste Contractors & Recyclers Association of NSW (WCRA).
The forum focused on the environmental and safety risks of waste transport from NSW to south-east Queensland, which has long been linked by industry representatives to the lack of a landfill levy in Queensland.
Convenor Dr Tony Wilkins stated that the industry is seeking to work with government to promptly find solutions to the issue.
The forum heard that the volume of waste being transported north by a combination of road and rail has now exceeded in excess of a one million tonnes per annum. The economic loss to NSW from unpaid waste levies exceeds $120 million per annum, WCRA highlighted.
Chief Inspector Phil Brooks from NSW Police stated in his presentation that the large volume of heavy vehicle truck movements, combined with police observations of fatigued drivers and poorly maintained truck and trailers, confirmed there is potential for even more serious accidents.
The forum resolved that all attendees write to the NSW Premier expressing their concerns and that WCRA would write to the NSW EPA requesting that it hold a second forum by 1 March, 2018. WCRA also committed to increase its promotion of Chain of Responsibility training across the industry.
The forum argued the NSW Government should be exploring further measures to curb the complex issue.
Some suggestions included: licensing waste transporters and waste by transfer facilities, regulating minimum environmental and safety standards on equipment used to transport waste over long distances, and banning waste levy rebates for exhuming landfilled waste and rebates for landfills that operate as de-facto transfer stations without development approval.
TruckSafe-accredited operators should be well positioned to meet changes to the Chain of Responsibility (CoR) laws, according to TruckSafe Chair, Ferdie Kroon, of the Australian Trucking Association’s (ATA) safety management program.
The reforms are scheduled to come into force in mid-2018, and will align chain of responsibility laws more closely with workplace health and safety laws. They include a new general safety duty and the extension of chain of responsibility to vehicle maintenance.
The TruckSafe board has met to look at how the reforms would affect the TruckSafe standards.
“The board has reviewed the new Chain of Responsibility provisions and the consultation draft of the master registered code of practice being developed by the ATA and Australian Logistics Council,” Mr Kroon said.
“We worked through the provisions in detail, and the good news is that TruckSafe accredited operators are well positioned to meet the new requirements of the law and the draft master code.
“Our operators worked very hard in 2016 to upgrade their safety management systems to meet the new standards, which came into force on 1 January 2017,” he said.
Kroon also said accredited operators now have controls in place, such as business practices, training, procedures and review processes that will help them:
• Identify, assess, evaluate, and control risk.
• Manage compliance with speed, fatigue, mass, dimension, loading and vehicle standards requirements.
• Meet regular reporting requirements.
• Document or record actions taken to manage safety.
“All the hard work last year will pay off for operators in 2018,” said Kroon.
TruckSafe will advise operators of any changes to the TruckSafe standards well before the chain of responsibility reforms come into effect.