VTA says ports need to be aware of impending fatigue regulations

By: Jason Whittaker


Port operators will be forced to overhaul existing heavy vehicle practices or face significant fines once impending fatigue management regulations

Port operators will be forced to overhaul existing heavy vehicle practices or face significant fines once impending fatigue management regulations come into effect.

Although much focus has centred on the trucking industry in regards to new fatigue management laws, port loading managers will also be bound by chain of responsibility measures.

Facilities loading or unloading heavy vehicles, such as empty container park operators and stevedore terminal operators, fall within the definition of a loading manager under fatigue regulations.

As such, they will be required to ensure that arrangements for loading and unloading heavy vehicles do not cause or allow a heavy vehicle driver to breach work hours limits or drive while fatigued.

Furthermore, loading managers will also need to ensure drivers can take a rest if they cannot be advised when loading or unloading will be finished. This also applies in situations when loading managers finish more than 30 minutes later than the time specified to the truck driver.

Victorian Transport Association (VTA) Chief Executive Phil Lovel Lovel has fired off a warning to loading managers unaware of the requirements, saying a failure to abide by chain of responsibility laws will result in hefty fines.

"Let’s be clear – this is major regulatory reform, with new obligations and significant penalties for breaching the new laws," he says.

"From September 2008, the practice at facilities where drivers are required to inch forward in a heavy vehicle queue and not provided with adequate rest facilities becomes illegal, and it will be the responsibility of the loading manager to fix it."

Lovel says the VTA is currently consulting relevant authorities to ensure chain of responsibility measures are policed and penalties enforced once fatigue management regulations are introduced.

"All facilities that load and unload heavy vehicles are on notice about this because truck queuing and loading practices that don’t take account of the driver’s welfare, or provide adequate opportunities and amenities for drivers to rest, are a significant contributor to heavy fatigue," Lovel says.

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