ATC supports training package for new fatigue laws

By: Jason Whittaker


The Australian Transport Council (ATC) has endorsed a training package to support fatigue management accreditation as states work towards implementing

The Australian Transport Council (ATC) has endorsed a training package to support fatigue management accreditation as states work towards implementing the reforms to be introduced on September 29.

National Transport Commission (NTC) Chief Executive Nick Dimopoulos says the package is a step-up from the current training requirements under the Transitional Fatigue Management Scheme (TFMS).

Drivers currently accredited in the TFMS scheme can operate under basic fatigue management (BFM) hours until April 30 2009 in order to ensure there is a enough time to complete training requirements under the new system.

"Drivers will have their existing training and skills recognised, so many will only need to complete a top-up course," Dimopoulos says.

The new training scheme, however, will not apply to drivers operating under standard hours. Drives and schedulers working under BFM or advanced fatigue management (AFM) schemes will need to demonstrate they are competent at managing fatigue risks.

In other words, operators requiring drivers to work long hours and night shifts must reduce driver fatigue risks by way of accreditation.

"Commencement of the new laws is less than six months away. I’d encourage everyone in the supply chain to understand how the new laws impact on your business and what you need to do, such as training drivers and schedulers," Dimopoulos says.

Those affected by the new training scheme will need to obtain a statement of attainment from registered training organisations.

In order to inform the industry of its requirements under the impending reforms, the NTC has developed an information kit for operators, drivers and other parties. The kit includes bulletins, fatigue and napping guidelines, self-assessment tools, presentations and promotional material.

The new fatigue management laws were agreed to by the ATC as a means of addressing the root cause of driver fatigue rather than regulating work hours.

The new laws will also enforce chain of responsibility commitments whereby all parties involved in the transportation of goods, such as employers and customers, will be held accountable for dangerous work schedules and long truck queues, which are considered major causes of fatigue.

Those found in breach of the new laws will be fined, with the amount varying depending on the offence committed.

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