Beware of dodgy training providers, VTA warns

Operators could be legally exposed by undertaking training programs that aren’t up to scratch, the VTA warns

Trucking operators could be legally exposed by undertaking training programs that aren’t up to scratch, the Victorian Transport Association (VTA) has warned.

VTA CEO Philip Lovel says operators could be at risk under chain of responsibility laws without a consistent standard of industry training across all jurisdictions.

The VTA has today met with National Transport Commission (NTC) Chairman Greg Martin in a bid to ensure driver fatigue reform training and assessment services offered by registered training organisations (RTOs) are giving operators the right information.

"The NTC and the vocational training authorities need to act now to ensure transport companies are not using training options which will leave them at risk under chain of responsibility laws," Lovel says.

Transport operators applying for accreditation under the Basic Fatigue Management (BFM) or Advanced Fatigue Management (AFM) standards must ensure that all drivers and nominated operational and management staff involved in the company’s fatigue management system meet the new fatigue management competency assessment requirements.

The VTA is concerned that several training organisations offering training and assessment regimes are inadequate in meeting the competency standards that are required.

Guidelines issued to RTO’s have set the nominal recommended hours for one unit at 30 hours, but some providers are offering courses which can be completed in 90 minutes, including an online assessment, according to the VTA.

Lovely says it is highly unlikely operators will gain all the knowledge they need in 90 minutes.

The online assessment also has no guarantee that drivers will do their own assessment individually or at all, he says, and there is no control over the assessment by a qualified training assessor.

"It appears that this method of training and assessment is a way of getting a piece of paper that says the standard has been achieved without making a genuine attempt to train drivers and others in truly understanding the impact and effects of fatigue," Lovel says.

"The new national heavy vehicle driver fatigue reform laws are being implemented in order to increase safety on our roads. If the drivers and schedulers are not trained properly then this defeats the entire purpose of the new laws.

"Not only that, it puts lives at risk and opens up companies to legal ramifications under chain of responsibility laws.

"The question needs to be asked, what will happen when there is a major incident and an investigation reveals that the driver was poorly trained in this area, who then will be implicated?"

Along with the NTC, the VTA is taking its concerns to the Transport and Logistics Industry Skills Council (TLISC) and at the State level with Skills Victoria and the State Industry Training Advisory Board, TDT Victoria.

"We are urging the authorities to come down hard on RTOs who are not taking their responsibility seriously," Lovel says.

"The VTA is strongly advising transport companies to do some research when choosing their registered training provider, to ensure they are providing appropriate and adequate training and assessment services."

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