24 November 2021
In order to comply with the primary duty, Chain of Responsibility (CoR) parties must address the mass, dimension and loading requirements under Chapter 4 of the Heavy Vehicle National Law (HVNL). Therefore, the need for a proactive approach by parties to address risk is paramount. A straightforward first step you can take is to adopt a risk-based approach to safety throughout the supply chain to make sure you are covering all bases.
The HVNL attempts to address mass, dimension and loading requirements by:
The Master Code is an industry-led risk-based safety and compliance framework which sets the benchmark for businesses to identify common CoR risks and has legal standing under the HVNL. For example, section 632A of the HVNL applies in a proceeding for an offence – it allows a registered industry code of practice to be admissible as evidence of whether or not you complied with a duty or obligation under the HVNL.
Furthermore, your business can utilise the Master Code to guide you on how to identify potential CoR risks and assess which of the available methods, systems or tools to use. It can also assist you in better understanding your mass, dimension and loading obligations to ensure the systems you have in place are thorough and safe.
The below list sets out several contributing factors that may cause safety risks or encourage breaches of heavy vehicle mass, dimension and loading requirements. You must ensure your business has measures in place to identify and manage the following risks:
Load restraint is a key concern in the transport and logistics industry. Mass, dimension and loading breaches can significantly damage and injury to road users and road infrastructure. This makes it a pertinent issue for businesses. You must ensure the measures you have in place are appropriate, accessible and subject to continual checks.
Mass breaches are often the target of prosecution because:
Further to this, the Master Code identifies a range of risks associated with non-compliant mass, dimension and load restraint, primarily where:
We regularly emphasise the importance of adopting and maintaining risk-based approaches so that you can be well-positioned to meet your safety obligations. Businesses must implement risk-based measures to manage safety and ensure compliance with the HVNL provisions relating to mass, dimension and loading. There are many ways to achieve this, and there isn’t one control that can be implemented to address every risk. Each compliance framework must be agile enough to respond to new and existing risks in a business’ commercial activities.
The risks and controls utilised to mitigate these risks will vary between CoR parties. For example, most of you will have a control for the implementation of a business-wide policy not to enter a contract that risks causing a driver or operator to breach mass, dimension and loading requirements. However, other controls will be unique to the specific nature of business and a party’s position in the CoR. For example, a scheduler will need to have a control in place to ensure route plans take into consideration mass and dimension requirements, to ensure the route or infrastructure is suitable for the load and complies with any route permits or conditions as applicable.
On the other hand, employers and prime contractors will have to make sure there is a review process to check that a driver or subcontractor is performing the activity in accordance with their employment or contractual arrangements. These arrangements must be effective in managing mass, dimension and loading risks.
In order to prevent breaches of heavy vehicle mass, dimension and loading requirements, a rigorous and flexible framework is needed. The Master Code can help establish such a framework, thereby equipping your business to respond to any existing or new risks that may arise.
Author: Nathan Cecil
The information in this publication 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.