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OHara pitches RFNSWs industry safety message

Chain of responsibility conference hears of major issues on its agenda


Road Freight NSW’s (RFNSW’s) general manager, Simon O’Hara, told conference delegates at the Chain of Responsibility & Heavy Vehicle Safety Conference in Sydney recently that safety and compliance was a pivotal principle of working with members.

The organisation reports that this was an early action item of his term,” O’Hara says.

“My first safety program was to engage with a legal partner with expertise and specialisation in road transport law and chain of responsibility.

“Road Freight NSWs’ partnership with the Ai Group was a strategic and purposeful move in order to provide NSW road freight users and members with effective legal advice for litigation, general inquiries and other matters.

RFNSW works closely with the NHVR and the Australian Trucking Association (ATA) on COR amendments and compliance.

The ATA and RFNSW have pressed for the national heavy vehicle laws to be simplified, without reducing safety.  

Following consultation with members, and from issues raised in the past, a COR amendments submission was put before a Queensland state government committee. 

The Queensland Parliament is expected to pass the legislation before the end of this year.

The reforms championed include:

  • a primary safety duty that will apply to all parties in the chain of responsibility, including consignors and consignees 
  • the extension of chain of responsibility to truck maintenance and repairs
  • a dramatic reduction in red tape 
  • higher maximum penalties 
  • a new due diligence obligation on company directors and executives, but with a requirement that the prosecution prove its case.

“Road Freight NSW is the peak body representing NSW trucking operators. Safety wins and compliance can only be successful in the longer term when we make representations to government around the issues of chain of responsibility,” O’Hara says.

He notes that RFNSW also works closely with Roads and Maritime Services over a range of policies and concerns regarding compliance, and with safety remaining a key factor, to improve freight movement, discussions are ongoing for an A-double trial on the Hume Highway.

It teams up with TruckSafe; a safety accreditation program aimed at improving the safety and professionalism of trucking operators nationwide.

“Working with TruckSafe gives Road Freight NSW a competitive edge on the issue of safety and delivers competitive advantages to accredited operators,” O’Hara says.

The organisation has established an active sub-committee network that focuses on the ecometrics of each group respectively.

Dangerous Goods, OSOM and Container sub-committees were amongst the range of matters discussed at the Road Freight NSW Forum in September 2016 and the network meets regularly to ensure that issues around policy, safety and compliance are discussed and strategies are put in place.

O’Hara emphasises that public education and the adoption of technology plays a big role in enhancing safety.

The voluntary installation of GPS into 25,000 heavy vehicles across Australia in 2014 is seen as a big win, and TFNSW “encourages the adoption of technologies that provide safety, environmental and commercial benefits for members and the community”.

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