Getting its trucks in a row


A Brisbane transport company has ordered an audit of its operation, as NHVR prepares to take over COR enforcement

Getting its trucks in a row
Getting its trucks in a line

By Sean Muir | November 29, 2012

Mention of the word audit is enough to send the skin of most small transport operators crawling.

But not Brisbane-based Blacks Transport.

In a bid to further improve operations, Blacks Transport Director Bruce Black recently ordered an independent audit of his own business.

The company, which has a fleet of 15 trucks, employed consultancy firm Chain of Responsibility Management Systems Australia (CRMSA) to review the company’s processes and ensure they were compliant with legislation.

"We want to implement a chain of responsibility compliance system because at the end of the day it creates a better workplace," Black says.

"We don’t want to be one of the cowboy companies that are out their pushing drivers and trying to get things done the wrong way."

The audit comes as the National Heavy Vehicle Regulator (NHVR)
prepares to take over
COR enforcement around July 2013.

It is anticipated the new government body will apply greater resources and focus to enforcing COR.

Recently appointed NHVR CEO Richard Hancock says the regulator will have a dedicated team of investigators and prosecutors looking at COR nationally, working across state borders with the cooperation of the states and territories and police.

But despite the push for more enforcement of the laws, industry fears mount that the introduction of the NHVR will actually come with a wind-back of the legislation.

In response, a campaign has been funded by the South Australian Road Transport Association (SARTA) and the Australian Livestock and Rural Transporters Association (ALRTA) opposing any proposed weakening of the laws.

According to the lobby group, Don’t Break the Chain, in August state transport ministers agreed to remove about 140 legal accountabilities from the COR provisions in the law that will set up the national regulator.

The lobby group has compiled a petition calling on Queensland Premier Campbell Newman to: ‘ensure that the new national regulator has enough resources, staff and expertise to educate freight customers and the logistics industry about their obligations, and to enforce COR laws properly’.

Blacks Transport Workplace Health and Safety Officer Daniel Black says it’s beneficial for companies to take a proactive approach to COR management before worrying about enforcement.

"We clearly know what we can and can’t do legally, and you know what your responsibility is," he says.

"If we have issues with someone who is saying I need it there now, we can just send them a copy of our plan. It’s about teaching your customer base what their part in the chain is — we are only one link. Everyone has a part to play."

Black says prior to employing CRMSA, the company was left with no alternative but to search the internet for information on COR compliance.

"I don’t think we are of the scale that government are going to send stuff to us," he says.

"I think the reason they consult the bigger mobs is that they think it will filter down to the smaller operators."

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