Fatigue experts appointed to scrutinise AFM applicants

Panel will provide advice to NHVR on advanced fatigue management applications.

Fatigue experts appointed to scrutinise AFM applicants
The NHVR is the body responsible for advanced fatigue management (AFM) accreditation.


Trucking firms that lodge advanced fatigue management (AFM) applications deemed to be risky will have to front a panel of fatigue experts to gain approval for their plans.

The National Heavy Vehicle Regulator (NHVR) has established an independent five-member panel to advise it on AFM applications in a move that also impacts upon companies with existing AFM accreditation.

The NHVR is the body responsible for handing out AFM accreditation, and the fatigue expert reference group (FERG) will be called upon when applicants undergo a risk assessment, which scores a business based on consideration of fatigue risks and countermeasures.

"Under AFM business rules, the NHVR must screen AFM applicants using the risk classification system (RCS). Applications that have multiple medium or high risks must be referred to the FERG for advice," the NHVR says.

"Operators whose AFM applications are referred to FERG must submit a written safety case, but can elect to present this safety case in person to the FERG."

The appointment of the panel affects operators with existing AFM accreditation received when the states ran fatigue management.

According to the NHVR, applications that must be referred to the FERG "will include many current AFM-accredited operators who were approved by former state-based regulators".

National Transport Commission (NTC) deputy chair and commissioner Carolyn Walsh will chair the panel, which includes professors Drew Dawson, Phillipa Gander, Narelle Haworth and Ann Williamson.

Unlike the 12-hour standard hours regime or the 14-hour basic fatigue management module (BFM), AFM accreditation allows businesses to develop their own fatigue management systems and processes for driving hours and rest.

"Operators accredited under the AFM scheme have NHVR approval to move beyond simply counting hours in a driver’s diary to running their entire business with a direct focus on managing fatigue," NHVR CEO Sal Petroccitto says.

"They are accountable for making sure their drivers are truly fit for duty and have good fatigue management in place, not only during each journey but every day of the week that could impact on that journey."

Since taking control of AFM, the NHVR has created AFM templates for the livestock transport sector to save trucking operators the hassle of building their own plans from scratch.

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