16 January 2024
The start of a new year is a good time to take stock and plan for the year ahead. For those with supply chains involving heavy vehicles, ongoing focus on regulation and governance will include an action plan for the Chain of Responsibility (CoR) heavy vehicle supply chain safety laws. To help you plan your strategic CoR goals for 2024, we share the biggest lessons we’ve learned over the years relating to the CoR heavy vehicle supply chain safety laws.
The CoR laws aim to ensure the safety of heavy vehicles, loads, drivers and supply chain activities. Don’t focus on the ‘heavy vehicle’ element. Focus on the ‘safety’ and ‘supply chain’ elements. The CoR laws are about ensuring the safety of supply chain activities that involve or impact on heavy vehicle transport. You don’t have to own or operate a truck to fall within the CoR. Most businesses have a developed understanding of work health and safety requirements. That same understanding and approach is what is required under CoR laws.
Most of the transport activities regulated by the CoR laws don’t relate to the operation or driving of heavy vehicles, but the preparation and packaging of goods, sharing of information around loads, efficient operation of premises at which heavy vehicles come and go, setting realistic expectations for the performance of transport activities and performance management of heavy vehicle supply chain partners. Whilst the focus of the CoR laws is ensuring on-road safety, 90 per cent of the activities that the laws focus on are performed off-road.
Businesses that focus on ‘compliance’ – checking the boxes to meet the regulatory minimum threshold – are less likely to ensure safe outcomes.
Compliance is not a chore to be completed, a box to be ticked or a line to be met. Approaching CoR from the view of achieving compliance implies that you can be ‘done’ or ‘finish’. In reality, there will be things that occur or developments in good practice that mean that you are never ‘done with’ or ‘finish’ CoR.
Businesses that instead focus on the outcome of achieving safety in their transport activities will be adaptive to changing circumstances, flexible to new learning on good practice and always looking to improve – which is what is required under the CoR laws.
The CoR laws aren’t just about you, they are about your heavy vehicle supply chain activities which will involve others.
Unless your entire supply chain is internalised from start to finish, you will interact with or engage others as part of performing your transport activities.
Where you link in with others, you need to ensure that those links are strong – that all parties involved understand their respective roles and responsibilities and have agreed processes as to how you’re going to work together to ensure the safety of the transport activities that you jointly perform.
Typically, the biggest court penalties have come out of cases where businesses have ignored those third-party interactions or assumed that those third parties will do the right thing without checking to ensure they do. Don’t fall into the same trap.
Many businesses see CoR as a restriction and cost on the business.
It has been shown that businesses that have in place accredited CoR safety schemes are more productive and less likely to have incidents. Businesses that conduct proper due diligence and performance management with their heavy vehicle supply chain partners typically get better performance out of those partners.
Businesses that address CoR well are typically better run and more productive than businesses that don’t. Which camp do you want to be in?
If you have any questions on the benefits of CoR or the article, please get in touch with a member of our team below.
The information in this article is of a general nature and is not intended to address the circumstances of any particular individual or entity. Although we endeavour to provide accurate and timely information, we do not guarantee that the information in this article is accurate at the date it is received or that it will continue to be accurate in the future.