Transport News

New fatigue exemption notice removes red tape for emergency services

The NHVR is working with AFAC to deliver fatigue notices that allow emergency services to prepare for emergencies more effectively

The National Heavy Vehicle Regulator (NHVR) says it has partnered with the Australasian Fire and Emergency Service Authorities Council (AFAC) to deliver a fatigue exemption notice enabling emergency service agencies to manage vehicle operations more effectively while preparing for emergencies.

NHVR CEO Sal Petroccitto says the National Heavy Vehicle Volunteer Emergency Services Work Diary and Record Keeping Exemption Notice 2023 (No.1) – which comes into effect on February 1 – will exempt drivers of fatigue-regulated vehicles from Heavy Vehicle National Law (HVNL) work diary and record-keeper requirements when they are performing an emergency management activity for emergency services.

“Recent events have clearly demonstrated the importance of preparing for emergencies, and this notice will help by cutting administrative red tape for drivers of these vehicles, who are often volunteers,” Petroccitto says.

“The exemption provides efficiency benefits in non-emergency situations, such as relocating fatigue-regulated heavy vehicles pending deployment to an emergency event, or for training and maintenance.

“AFAC members already implement fatigue management policies and controls that replicate or are more restrictive than standard hours under the HVNL, so the exemption does not pose any additional safety risks.”

RELATED ARTICLE: NHVR issues reminder for HVSI participation

AFAC director of standards and strategic procurement Russell Shephard welcomed the exemption to support emergency service operations.

“AFAC facilitates resource sharing of emergency service personnel, fleet and equipment, enabling a national and international response to large-scale emergency events,” Shephard says.

“A consistent, nationally agreed vehicle-issued management log, in place of individual issue work diaries, has been developed alongside this exemption, which captures required information to satisfy the exemption.

“This will be beneficial when using other emergency services vehicles during interstate deployments.”

AFAC fleet technical group chair Tim Smith (manager of fleet operations for the Country Fire Authority, Victoria) supported the move and the associated safety measures.

“The new exemption notice helps improve efficiency for all emergency service operations, without compromising safety,” Smith says.

“AFAC members have rigorous systems in place that manage and mitigate risks to public safety related to the use of fatigue-regulated heavy vehicles.”

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