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Flexible fatigue management accreditation first

Livestock transporter receives approval to introduce fatigue management initiative


An owner-driver in rural Queensland has become the first person to begin using a flexible fatigue management module designed to help livestock transporters.

Goondiwindi-based owner-driver Pat Mulligan has gained accreditation under the National Heavy Vehicle Regulator’s (NHVR) livestock transport fatigue management scheme (LTFMS).

It was introduced on July 1 to recognise the distinct nature of livestock transport and provide operators with greater flexibility to carry out their jobs.

It allows accredited drivers to work up to 14-hour days for 11 days straight.

Basic fatigue management (BFM), on the other hand, requires a driver to rest for 24 hours after working six 14-hour days.

Mulligan says the LTFMS will benefit him during busy work periods.

“The majority of my work involves travelling long distances in outback regions over a variety of road surfaces,” he says.

“This flexibility helps me transport the livestock to their destination safely and decreases the likelihood I will need to stop for a seven hour rest break during the trip, which can affect the welfare of the animals.”

The LTFMS was introduced to improve the advanced fatigue management (AFM) process which, while allowing operators to introduce fatigue management procedures suited to their business, was expensive, complex and time consuming.

NHVR executive director of productivity and safety Geoff Casey says the LTFMS provides all the relevant tools for operators and owners to gain AFM accreditation and effectively manage their fatigue and safety concerns.

“The LTFMS allows operators to apply for AFM accreditation to work up to 14 hours on a day, as part of a fortnightly cycle with ‘risk off-setting’ restrictions around driving between midnight and 4am and more frequent stops for welfare checking,” he says.

“The scheme provides livestock transport operators with a template to manage their work and rest hours in a way which is suitable to the unique demands they face.

“The template approach reduces the red tape needed to gain accreditation while providing operators with fatigue management practices and policies that balances efficiency with safety.”

The Australian Livestock and Rural Transporters Association (ALRTA) has welcomed news of the first successful LTFMS application and says the template-based system is faster and cheaper than the previous AFM module.

“It is exactly the result that industry had hoped for and I would encourage all interested operators to seriously consider this AFM option,” ALRTA national president Grant Robins says.

Livestock and Rural Transporters Association of Queensland (LRTAQ) president David Scott says the template is a great option for livestock carriers in Queensland, who usually cover considerable distances.

“Queensland is a big state. The scheme provides operators with the flexibility needed to get drivers home safely from long trips so they can have better quality rest with improved access to amenities,” Scott says.

He says the ALRTA and the LRTAQ worked closely with the NHVR to develop a safe AFM scheme that would be attractive to livestock transporters.


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