NHVR livestock transport rest template gets ATA nod

National industry body echoes ALRTA and LRTAQ support for NHVR's livestock transport fatigue management scheme

NHVR livestock transport rest template gets ATA nod
NHVR's fatigue management template enables drivers to safely manage their rest and the welfare of their livestock, the ATA says.


The Australian Trucking Association (ATA) asserts that the National Heavy Vehicle Regulator’s (NHVR) livestock transport rest template helps livestock transporters manage safe driver rest schedules under difficult operating conditions.

The NHVR’s fatigue management scheme provides flexibility, enabling drivers to safely manage their rest and the welfare of their livestock, ATA CEO Christopher Melham says.

"The livestock freight task can require long and relatively unpredictable freight movements in isolated areas, and must also account for the needs of the livestock being transported.

"This means the driver must be able to take safe, effective rest breaks at times and locations that work with their task," Melham says.

The template approach is a new way for operators to enter the AFM scheme under the Heavy Vehicle National Law, he says.

"The templates are designed to make it easier to identify fatigue risks up front, so that an operator need not present their individual safety case every single time they apply," Melham says.

"This will cut down the cost and red-tape associated with AFM, making it more accessible for this industry sector."

Professor Ann Williamson, one of the country’s top fatigue experts, recently voiced her dissatisfaction with NHVR’s Advanced Fatigue Management (AFM) scheme, claiming it allowed drivers to work long hours without adequate rest.

AFM permits livestock drivers, who are accredited in the scheme, to work up to 14 hours a day for 11 consecutive days and have a minimum rest of 10 consecutive hours if they work 14 hours in a 24-hour period.

However, the NHVR stands behind the scheme and says it was developed after extensive discussions with fatigue experts and the industry as livestock exporters demanded more flexibility to respond to the complex and unique nature of the livestock transport task.

"The NHVR worked with industry and fatigue experts to balance that flexibility with additional controls that would manage the fatigue risk," NHVR executive director of safety Geoff Casey says.

"By using the templates provided in the scheme, livestock transporters have a greater awareness of the risks associated with what they are asking their drivers to do and the need to ensure they have policies and procedures in place to safely manage those risks."

Casey says those wanting to use the scheme still need to gain advanced fatigue management (AFM) accreditation and show they have effective systems in place to manage fatigue.

The scheme has been effective from July 1, 2015 and has received strong support from the trucking industry, most notably the Australian Livestock and Rural Transporters Association (ALRTA) and the Livestock and Rural Transporters Association of Queensland (LRTAQ).

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