Fatigue reform a response to industry demand: Petroccitto

Petroccitto spruiks fatigue law overhaul as tech gets nod

Fatigue reform a response to industry demand: Petroccitto
Sal Petroccitto


The National Heavy Vehicle Regulator (NHVR) used the backdrop of the Victorian Transport Association (VTA) Annual Conference to unveil a discussion paper on fatigue law reform as part of a broader fatigue safety strategy, which it says is a direct response to demand from industry.

Specifically, NHVR CEO Sal Petroccitto notes that many operators are keen to make an overhaul to fatigue legislation a major focus of the current review of the Heavy Vehicle National Law (HVNL), with the regulator also releasing a summary of outcomes from its Fatigue Safety Forum in 2018.

"In many of our day-to-day interactions with operators, whether we’re at the roadside or at an industry conference … we hear that the reform of fatigue laws should be a priority," Petroccitto says.

"In particular, operators are looking for more flexibility, rather than more driving hours.

"This push was started by the diverse cross section of operators and industry who attended our Fatigue Safety Forum in October last year, urging the NHVR to push forward with work and rest hour reforms.

Fatigue was also revealed as one of the biggest complaints made by operators to NHVR's Heavy Vehicle Confidential Reporting Line (HVCRL).

Read more about the findings from the reporting line, here

"Today we’re releasing a summary of outcomes from that forum that looks at the current challenges, some key principles and the NHVR's response."

Petroccitto admits current fatigue provisions are too complex and one of the tenets of the reform and subsequent new legislation will be around encouraging technology uptake.

"A lot of the fatigue provisions are older than other provisions that sit in the HVNL. The challenge for us is how to how to improve the frameworks while the review of the HVNL is going on.

"Can technology provide a better solution than 245 pages of fatigue provisions within the HNVL? One would suggest probably yes … and they would be better adopted than wading through 245 pages of law, which often contradicts itself.

"… no one size fits all, but a regulatory framework needs to be relevant to the task or the risk that needs to be mitigated.

"That’s easier said than done when you need to put it into practice so 50,000 businesses in the supply chain can comprehend that.

"But it’s something we need to keep working on to achieve a better outcome for industry."

As part of the fatigue reform process, NHVR has invested in a $250,000 study into fatigue monitoring technology.

"I’ve also committed to developing and implementing a fatigue safety strategy to promote industry adoption of a strong safety culture and improved fatigue risk management," Petroccitto adds.

"We will release a Discussion Paper on our position in relation to reform of fatigue laws, in the next couple of months."

For the full Summary of Outcomes is available here.


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