Chain of responsibility training and the law
If you work in road freight you may be required to complete chain of responsibility training. Chain of Responsibility(CoR) legislation extends the general liability for offences to road freight consignors, receivers, packers and loaders. Rather than pursue the ‘soft target’ on the roadside – truck drivers and operators – authorities can investigate along the supply chain and up and down the corporate chain of command. The days of ‘all care and no responsibility’ are over.
Chain of responsibility training is designed to make you familiar with the Road Transport Reform (Compliance and Enforcement) Bill. This is intended to improve compliance with and enforcement of the heavy vehicle laws relating to registration, licensing, mass and loading, speeding and driving hours and will help the States and Territories give legislative effect to the chain of responsibility principle.
Chain of responsibility training covers major elements of the model Bill including:
• general liability provisions reflecting the chain of responsibility principle;
• improved enforcement powers to ensure greater accountability right along the transport chain and to enable effective chain of responsibility investigations and proceedings; and
• the extension of chain of responsibility to duties and offences for heavy vehicle mass, dimension and load restraint.
Australian Transport Ministers approved the model Bill in November 2003. As a result, the jurisdictions developed their own legislation to apply the model provisions.
Generally the essence of the legislation applies across Australia. Each State and territory will have some variance so you must make sure that you are familiar with the laws applicable in each area that you operate: another reason chain of responsibility training is so important.
An important chain of responsibility initiative in the Bill is the ‘responsible person’ concept. A responsible person is defined very widely in the Bill as any person who has a role or responsibilities associated with road transport.
A responsible person has specific duties to ensure that other parties in the transport chain are not misled by false information about any aspect of a consignment or the journey.
This person is also required to provide information about the load and about the identity of other parties in the chain when requested to do so by authorities, and the premises of a responsible person may be inspected or searched in limited, but appropriate circumstances. Complete your chain of responsibility training to ensure you are aware of your responsibilities.
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