Visy responds on chain of responsibility fatigue issue

By: Steve Skinner


Big trucking customer comments on its Adelaide warehouse queue shuffling debacle.

Visy responds on chain of responsibility fatigue issue
Trucks are queuing for hours on end to access Visy's Gepps Cross facility in Adelaide.

 

Australia’s largest privately owned company, Visy, has responded to ATN’s assertion that it appears to be vulnerable regarding chain of responsibility on fatigue.

Yesterday ATN revealed truck drivers had to queue for hours on end to unload freight at Visy’s Gepps Cross warehouse in Adelaide’s industrial north.

There are no timeslots and drivers are treated on a first-come, first-served basis in a process that appears at odds with fatigue management requirements.

This situation is in stark contrast to that for interstate truckies at the giant 24/7 Visy pulp and paper mill operation on the Snowy Mountains Highway near Tumut in New South Wales.

There’s a demountable building in a large parking area which includes toilet, shower, coffee and kitchen facilities. Drivers get a phone call when it’s their turn to go in.

ATN sent several e-mails to Visy detailing the truck drivers’ concerns and reporting its own observations. Visy responded with:

"Recognising our role within the context of the Chain of Responsibility and in order to facilitate improved driver and vendor practices, Visy has recently re-engineered and re-aligned its entire national subcontractor network. Integral to this process has been:

  • The alignment and ‘partnering’ with selected vendors who are willing to work with Visy, pro-actively, in the resolution of both micro and macro issues
  • The formal engagement of ‘vendors’ through SLA’s (service level agreements) and the incorporation of specific obligations pertaining to Chain of Responsibility, code of practice and legal compliance
  • The alignment of ‘Vendors’, services and home depots.

Drivers arriving and waiting outside of normal site operating hours, when the site is unmanned, should be using truck stops, home depots or demarcated rest areas en-route. These facilities are readily available and it is incumbent on the driver to ensure that they use them.

During site operating hours, vehicles are co-ordinated through the site in a manner and at a pace that is in accordance with Visy’s OHS&E policies."

The comments from Visy refer to a ‘code of practice’.

That code is presumably the Retail Logistics Supply Chain Code of Practice, administered by the Australian Logistics Council (ALC).

Visy is a recent signatory to that code. The ALC says as a new signatory, Visy "is following a standard set of audit procedures, including conducting an entry audit".

"Following this, there are a range of requirements set down by ALC to progress the audit process," it says.

The ALC says the Gepps Cross facility has not been audited under the code.

"You will need to discuss further with Visy whether they may be in the future," the ALC says.

ATN spoke with several truck drivers who have queued outside the warehouse.

One says it once took him nine hours to shuffle up and get unloaded after arriving in the morning.

Another truckie can top that. He says his record is 12 hours of shuffling up and unloading.

"It’s appalling," one truck driver who has been a regular at the Visy warehouse for a couple of years says.

"Consideration for the drivers doesn’t exist. If I have to go to Visy at Adelaide I just expect to lose a day."

Another driver says: "It’s against chain of responsibility or whatever, but what’s the point of the whole thing if chain of responsibility just isn’t policed?"

Read the November edition of ATN for the full story on Visy’s Gepps Cross operation. Click here to secure your copy now.

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