Wheels in motion for heavy vehicle accreditation reform


Working group established to respond to recent analysis report

Wheels in motion for heavy vehicle accreditation reform
Geoff Casey

 

The National Heavy Vehicle Regulator (NHVR) and the heavy vehicle industry will establish a joint accreditation working group to respond to a comprehensive report into heavy vehicle accreditation schemes.

The Analysis of Heavy Vehicle Accreditation Schemes in Australia report by consultant Peter Medlock provided a range of options for the future of heavy vehicle schemes.

The Medlock analysis has made nine short, medium and long-term recommendations following a review of the National Heavy Vehicle Accreditation Scheme, TruckSafe, CraneSafe and Western Australian Heavy Vehicle Accreditation Scheme.

"Accreditation schemes are now utilised by more than 20 per cent of Australia’s heavy vehicle fleet and that means flow-on benefits such as increased safety and productivity for operators," NHVR executive director of productivity and safety Geoff Casey says.

"The report will be assessed by a national working group and will include industry, government and NHVR representatives to map out a national accreditation framework to deliver more consistency across the schemes."

Recommendations included the need to ensure robust audit requirements, greater consistency between schemes through alignment of standards, mutual recognition between schemes, development of a single national accreditation framework, regulatory concessions and expanding the membership of accreditation schemes.


Read about industry's meeting with Medlock in August, here


Australian Trucking Association CEO Ben Maguire says the review recognised TruckSafe as a robust scheme and the report would establish a new basis for heavy vehicle accreditation in Australia.

 "The review recognises that schemes which operate to a required set of robust standards should receive the same concessions as those in the NHVAS," Maguire says.

 "The review also recommends that consideration be given to the NHVR focusing on its expanded compliance responsibilities and supervising alternative providers of industry accreditation. This is an exciting report with great potential to reform the heavy vehicle industry."

Western Australian Main Roads director heavy vehicles services Gary Player says the WA Heavy Vehicle Accreditation (WAHVA) scheme was established in 2002 and is compulsory for all restricted access vehicles and those operating on permits or concessions.

"The WAHVA scheme requires transport operators to have appropriate systems and processes in place to make heavy vehicle operations safer and we would support any efforts nationally that would lead to further improvements to heavy vehicle safety across Australia," Player says.

The NHVR appointed Medlock in October 2017 to conduct the analysis. Further consultation with government, industry groups and operators was undertaken during May and June, this year.

LIST OF RECOMMENDATIONS

Recommendation 1

The adequacy of business rules and standards for each scheme should be considered in light of:

  • the need to ensure robust audit requirements
  • inclusion of requirements for verification of vehicle roadworthiness by a suitably qualified person on a regular basis
  • inclusion of requirements for regular assessment of driver competence and fitness for duty
  • the inclusion of incident reporting and investigation as an important process for continuous improvement of safety performance

Recommendation 2

The NHVR should consider mandating the NHVAS Maintenance module as a precondition for accreditation under the Mass and Fatigue modules.

Recommendation 3

Discussions should occur between accreditation schemes to achieve greater consistency between the schemes through alignment of standards and mutual recognition between the schemes.

Recommendation 4

The NHVR and State agencies should pursue development of a robust, comprehensive and nationally consistent database of heavy vehicle performance and compliance data through current discussions on the National Compliance Information System, as an absolute priority.

Recommendation 5

Discussions should be held with each jurisdiction and with industry to achieve support for the development of a single national accreditation framework, drawing on the strengths of existing schemes with the overall objective of achieving common standards across schemes, including common and robust compliance processes.

Schemes should decide how best to meet the required standards and establish their business rules and processes accordingly. Schemes should be able to establish higher standards or offer additional services where there are good reasons to do so, whilst maintaining mutual recognition between schemes.

Recommendation 6

Consideration should be given to how the scope of existing accreditation schemes can be changed to address a broader systems-based approach to accreditation, whilst at the same time providing flexibility for individual operators to adapt such requirements to the scale and nature of the risks they face in running their operations.

Recommendation 7

Within the context of a single national framework with robust standards, governance and compliance required of all schemes, consideration should be given to extending regulatory concessions to operators who meet the required standards in each scheme.

Recommendation 8

Membership of an accreditation scheme as a requirement for all heavy vehicle operators should be considered as a longer term objective. The level and nature of the accreditation required by individual operators should reflect the nature of the operation and the level of risks involved for each operator or industry segment, without imposing onerous new regulatory requirements or costs. Industry and jurisdictions should be engaged in developing this proposal, including research into:

  • costs and benefits across industry
  • the safety, efficiency and productivity impact
  • the nature and extent of further regulatory concessions which could be provided
  • the design of an approach which recognises the wide range of operations to which it would apply

Widespread industry consultation should occur and consideration be given to providing an industry education and assistance package to assist operators transition to a new framework.

Recommendation 9 (previously 10)

Consideration should be given to an approach which better utilises the available regulatory resourcing, with the NHVR focussing on its expanded compliance responsibilities and supervising alternative providers of industry accreditation through:

  • establishing comprehensive standards, business rules and governance requirements
  • licensing (for an appropriate fee) industry or other providers who establish accreditation schemes which meet these requirements
  • ensuring accreditation providers have strong systems in place and demonstrate proven experience, capacity and integrity to conduct an accreditation scheme
  • overseeing accreditation providers through robust reporting and assurance processes

The full Analysis of Heavy Vehicle Accreditation Schemes in Australia can be found here.

 

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