Livestock transporters get new fatigue management option


Drivers will be able to work for up to 14 hours at a time, with a range of risk offsets in place

Livestock transporters get new fatigue management option
Livestock transport brings its own challenges, warranting a more flexible approach to fatigue management

 

Livestock transporters have welcomed a new, more flexible fatigue management template for their sector.

The National Heavy Vehicle Regulator (NHVR) developed the Advanced Fatigue Management option in consultation with the industry. It will apply from July 1 this year.

Previously, any operator wishing to work outside the regular fatigue management rules was required to submit their own research and case to the NHVR.

With the new ruling, livestock operators will be able to access the specially-developed option.

"The new approach to the management of fatigue under the Advanced Fatigue Management option uses a prototype or template to help livestock transport operators to appropriately manage their work and rest hours in a way which is suitable to the unique demands faced by these operators," NHVR’s productivity and safety director Geoff Casey says.

"Up until now, operators had to invest significant time and money into developing their own separate safety case to apply for the advanced fatigue management option."

The option allows accredited operators to work for up to 14 hours each day on a fortnightly cycle. The hours are subject to "risk-offsetting" restrictions for journeys that include travel between midnight and 4.00am.

Casey anticipates the scheme will be extended to allow operators access to longer work days and the ability to pool hours across multiple days.

The Australian Livestock and Rural Transporters Association (ALRTA) has welcomed the changes. Its vice president Graeme Hoare says the organisation particularly appreciates the close consultation it was able to be involved in, and says the new template provides a safe but flexible alternative to the existing fatigue management regime.

"The template will deliver much needed flexibility for livestock transporters to complete their often unpredictable tasks in remote environments, and take better quality rest at more convenient times and locations," he says.

"This will improve productivity, driver safety and animal welfare outcomes in the Australian livestock supply chain."

He says the ALRTA supplied real world data to demonstrate that a more flexible arrangement could still be low-risk.

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