VTA urges industry to attend fatigue management sessions

By: Jason Whittaker

The Victorian Transport Association (VTA) is calling on stakeholders to attend fatigue management information sessions because "ignorance" of the impending

The Victorian Transport Association (VTA) is calling on stakeholders to attend fatigue management information sessions because "ignorance" of the impending laws will not spare them from hefty fines.

VicRoads is to begin holding fatigue reform information sessions in a number of locations across the State from May 28. The 14 sessions are to run until the end of July to ensure those affected by fatigue management laws will be aware of their responsibilities come September 29, the date the laws will be introduced.

But while much of the focus has been in getting the trucking industry to understand their obligations, the VTA argues all parties that will be affected by chain of responsibility measures should attend at least one session.

The reforms will apply schedulers, consignors and consignees and those involved in loading and unloading activities will all be forced to ensure they take reasonable steps to ensure fatigue laws are not breached.

Under the stringent regulations, for instance, loading managers may be slugged with heavy penalties if they do not ensure the provisions of adequate facilities such as rest areas, as well as a system to notify loading and unloading times.

"Ignorance of the new laws will be no excuse come September this year. And not complying might just cost you, and your business, dearly," VTA Deputy Chief Executive Neil Chambers says.

Chambers will be participating in the 14 sessions to provide advice on the practical aspects of meeting impending fatigue requirements. Part of his advice will include detailing operators on whether basic fatigue management (BFM) or advanced fatigue management (AFM) regulations suit their business.

Under both measures, those part of the end-to-end operation will need to undertake a training course, while the driver will need to be certified by a medical practitioner. Furthermore, work diaries will be used to ensure the driver complies with work and rest hour obligations, while businesses will be audited to determine their policies and procedures comply with fatigue management standards under the National Heavy Vehicle Accreditation Scheme (NHVAS).

"There are only 18 weeks to go before the new laws come into force," Chambers says.
"But there is considerable work still to be undertaken before individuals, companies and, in fact, the whole industry, will be able to comply."

Those interested in attending the sessions will need to register with VicRoads, which can be done at www.freightforums.com.au.

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