A spate of vehicle incidents that may have been caused by fatigue are a stark reminder for businesses in the fuel and dangerous goods sector to get their house in order ahead of Chain of Responsibility (CoR) legislation changes on 1 October.

National changes to CoR liability under the Australian Heavy Vehicle National Law (HVNL) introduce new offences and penalties across three different categories of risk and responsibility. The penalties range from $300,000 or 5 years’ imprisonment, or both, for an individual to $3 million for corporates.

The amendments are aimed at improving work safety and make it an offence to ask, direct, require, or enter into a contract with the driver of the vehicle, or any person in the transport operation’s chain of responsibility, to exceed a speed limit or drive while impaired by fatigue or in breach of work and rest hours.

Corporates, directors, partners and managers are all accountable for the actions of the people under their control – and they can be prosecuted for breach of duties in operations without a safety incident occurring.

Grant Stillman, a specialist fuel and transport sector insurance broker from Gallagher, said: “We’ve seen a number of incidents, including rollovers and product loss, in which fatigue is a suspected factor.

“The new CoR legislation will place a burden of responsibility on all transport businesses to ensure their risk management processes and procedures are watertight and enforced to avoid potentially significant legal penalties.”

Stillman also referenced the challenging market for replacement tankers in the event of incidents. “It’s not uncommon to have to wait 8-9 months for a replacement tanker, and that sort of delay could ruin a smaller operator, or see them having to sub-contract to major oil companies to make ends meet. This places an additional onus on adhering to safety and risk management processes.”

Gallagher has developed a heavy vehicle transport safety offering, which includes CoR systems development, as well as access to a wide range of training modules.

For more details call 1800 572 145 or visit info.ajg.com.au/acapma