Managing the hazards and risks associated with heavy vehicles in the construction industry for operators and principal contractors are the latest subjects in the National Heavy Vehicle Regulator (NHVR)’s new regulatory advice series.
These latest regulatory advices follow on from the NHVR’s regulatory pieces on managing the risk associated with transporting freight in shipping containers and light to medium heavy vehicles. This particular topic comes off the back of reports from compliance officers and the 2021 National Roadworthiness Survey, which indicate that heavy vehicles have an observed pattern of non-compliance when used in construction activities.
These advices are for heavy vehicle operators and principal contractors who engage in transport activities within the construction industry and their executives.
‘Transport activities’ include all the activities associated with the use of a heavy vehicle on a road, including safety systems, business processes such as contract negotiation, communication and decision-making. The term also covers activities normally associated with the transport and logistics sector, such as training, scheduling, route planning, managing premises, selecting and maintaining vehicles, packing and loading.
The regulatory advices aptly point out that both operators and executives must comply with the primary duty under the Heavy Vehicle National Law (HVNL) to ensure as far as reasonably practicable the safety of their transport activities. Additionally, executives also have the additional responsibility to ensure their business compiles with its primary duty.
Failure to comply with these primary duty obligations can result in one or more enforcement measures being taken, this includes formal warnings, enforceable undertakings, infringement notices, improvement notices, prohibition notices, injunctions and prosecution.
According to the NHVR, there is evidence to suggest that there is a pattern of non-compliance in the construction industry. Further to this, recent state and federal government agency initiatives which have been implemented to assist the economy recover from the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic have meant a significant increase in infrastructure and construction projects. This has led to an associated increase in heavy vehicle use, which in turn has meant a greater potential for safety breaches and hazards.
The NHVR recommends that businesses undertake a risk assessment to identify the specific risks and hazards applicable to either the operator or primary contractor and consider what control measures are required to prevent those risks.
Some of the risks and hazards identified by the NHVR for the construction industry are as follows:
These then tie into more broader related hazards which are known across industries, including:
The NHVR recommends a number of ways to manage these risks and hazards. Examples of some of these recommendations in relation to the construction-related risks are outlined below.
Principal contractors should:
Load restraint, mass and dimension limits
Principal contractors should:
Finally, the advices provide operators and principal contractors with further resources to assist them with their regulatory compliance.
NHVR regulatory advices are a great starting point for understanding your legal obligations under the HVNL. They are easy to read and understand and provide practical advice on the steps individuals and businesses can take to start managing and, in some cases, eliminating their safety risks and hazards.
However, these advices are only starting points and provide a general guide and advice only. There is no substitute for proactive action and personalised risk assessment and management.
If you have any questions or need assistance with understanding the advice, please contact us below or get in touch with Nathan Cecil here.
Authors: Melanie Long & Nathan Cecil
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.