Australia, Transport News

NHVR taskforce commits to safety focus with company conviction

Following the 2020 incident, the NHVR’s taskforce has worked hard to make a statement when it comes to the chain of responsibility and heavy vehicle safety

The National Heavy Vehicle Regulator (NHVR), through its Taskforce Paragon, has continued to emphasise chain of responsibility as a key pillar of safety in the transport industry through its latest conviction.

Back in September 2021, the NHVR, through Taskforce Paragon, investigated and laid charges on a transport company following a chain of responsibility breach.

Now, the company has been convicted of a category one Heavy Vehicle National Law (HVNL) offence, with its managing director convicted of failing to comply with his due diligence obligations, signalling a major moment for the NHVR’s safety focus.

Taskforce Paragon was established back in 2020 following an incident on the Eastern Freeway in Melbourne that resulted in four police officers being hit and killed, with NHVR director of prosecutions Belinda Hughes saying this conviction will be the first time a local court has issued a fine of this magnitude, reflecting the severity of the breach and the importance of the chain of responsibility when it comes to heavy vehicle safety.

“This case demonstrates the national reach of the HVNL, with the company and managing director based in NSW, but the incident occurring in Victoria,” Hughes says.

“This outcome sends a strong message to those taking the risk of breaching their primary duty.

“Executives need to ensure they have effective systems in place to support fatigue management across their business and to empower all levels of their organisation to take fatigue management seriously.

“As we heard in court ‘no one should have to worry that they or their loved one will not come home from work’.”

NHVR CEO Sal Petroccitto says the organisation remains committed to ensuring the safety of all road users, with this result set to influence safety outcomes into the future.

“Chain of responsibility requirements form part of the HVNL primary safety duty and executives are required to exercise due diligence to ensure a company complies with this duty,” Petroccitto says. 

“This tragedy is a sobering reminder of the consequences that can occur when there is a failure to ensure safe transport activities.

“Fatigue is one of the leading factors that affects safety and heavy vehicle crashes, and this catastrophic incident exemplifies what can happen when fatigue management requirements are blatantly ignored.

“Our thoughts are with the families of the four officers involved.”

Previous ArticleNext Article
Send this to a friend