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Roles and Responsibilities

Put simply, Chain of Responsibility refers to the need for all parties in the supply chain to take responsibility to ensure safe operations.

Chain of Responsibility is a concept that

Outlines the legal obligations and responsibilities of all parties involved in the transport supply chain

This is to ensure safe operation of heavy vehicles, particularly in terms of accountability in driver fatigue management, speed, overloading and load restraints.

In 2014, the Heavy Vehicle National Law (HVNL) was introduced in Australia as a single set of laws for heavy vehicles on the principle that ‘anyone who has influence over transport activity is responsible for safety on the road’.

The legislation particularly targets those owner/operators who seek to gain unfair competitive advantage by breaking the law, and imposes accountabilities on all parties who have responsibility for the parts of the supply chain where actions, inaction or demands can or will increase risk.

What are your responsibilities?

Regardless of your role in the supply chain, it is important to understand that under the Heavy Vehicle National Law (HVNL), all parties have an obligation to ensure that breaches of road transport laws do not occur, and that your actions – or inactions – do not contribute to unsafe and unlawful practices or operations.

It is also important to note, that under HVNL, you can be held legally accountable if your actions, inactions or demands cause or contribute to an offence. As the National Heavy Vehicle Regulator states: ‘put simply: influence = responsibility = legal liability’.

The NHVR website – – outlines the different responsibilities for different roles involved in the supply chain.

  • Operator/manager/scheduler responsibilities

    As an operator, manager, or scheduler of a business involved in road transport, you are responsible for ensuring that:

    • Rosters and schedules do not require drivers to exceed driving hours regulations or speed limits
    • You keep records of your drivers’ activities, including work and rest times
    • You take all reasonable steps to ensure your drivers do not work while impaired by fatigue, or drive in breach of their work or rest options
    • Vehicles are regularly maintained, and if speed limiters are fitted, they are functioning properly
    • Vehicles are not loaded in a way which exceeds mass or dimension limits
    • Drivers moving freight containers have a valid Container Weight Declaration, and that loads are correctly restrained with appropriate restraint equipment.
  • Consignor/consignee responsibilities

    As consignor or consignee, you are responsible for ensuring that:

    • Loads do not exceed vehicle mass or dimension limits
    • Goods carried on your behalf are able to be appropriately secured
    • Operators carrying freight containers have a valid Container Weight Declaration
    • Your delivery requirements do not require or encourage drivers to:
      • Exceed the speed limits
      • Exceed regulated driving hours
      • Fail to meet the minimum rest requirements
      • Drive while impaired by fatigue
  • Loading manager/loader/packer responsibilities

    If you are a loading manager, or loader and packer, you must ensure that loading a heavy vehicle will not cause or contribute to the driver driving whilst they are impaired by fatigue or in contravention of state and national road transport laws.

    Loading manager responsibilities include:

    • Working with other off-road parties to make reasonable arrangements to manage loading/unloading time slots
    • Ensuring vehicles are loaded/unloaded as quickly and efficiently as possible
    • Ensuring vehicles are loaded/unloaded as quickly and efficiently as possible
  • Loader responsibilities

    If you are responsible for loading vehicles as part of the chain of responsibility, you must ensure that each vehicle’s load:

    • Does not exceed vehicle mass or dimension limits
    • Does not cause the vehicle to exceed mass limits
    • Is placed in a way so it does not become unstable, move or fall off the vehicle
  • Packer responsibilities

    If you are a packer, you must:

    • Ensure that all documentation about the vehicle’s load is not false or misleading – as unreliable weight information makes it difficult for drivers to comply with the law.
  • Driver responsibilities

    As a heavy vehicle driver, you must be given sufficient opportunities to rest and sleep to avoid fatigue, and to avoid speeding to meet deadlines.

    In return, you have an obligation to drive safely at all times, obey all state and national road rules, and not breach NHVL through your actions or inaction.

    You are responsible for ensuring that:

    • You do not exceed the speed limit
    • Your vehicle does not exceed mass limits
    • Your vehicle and load do not exceed dimension limits
    • You do not modify any equipment required to be fitted to the vehicle
    • You comply with regulated work/rest hours
    • You keep detailed records of your work and rest hours
    • You do not drive while impaired by fatigue
    • You carry and complete your work diary, if required.

    What do you need to do to ensure you are meeting your responsibilities in the supply chain?

    To make sure that you are contributing to a safe working environment and are meeting your responsibilities and obligations to the heavy vehicle supply chain, you need to:

    • Find out what your role is in the Chain of Responsibility and make sure that you know what your responsibilities are. (Keep in mind that you may hold more than one role in the supply chain). If you don’t know what your role is, or your legal responsibilities, ask your supervisor or manager immediately, as you may be held legally accountable if something goes wrong and you haven’t discharged your duty appropriately.
    • Undertake Chain of Responsibility Training. If you or your team/company require training to better understand the Chain of Responsibility roles, obligations and responsibilities, contact Jodie Hamilton on 0427 860 226 or email for your FREE no obligation chat to ensure your business needs are met.
    • If you identify a gap in the chain of responsibility, address it immediately. Depending on your role in the supply chain, you may need to prepare and implement a management plan – or provide feedback into its development – to ensure appropriate controls and systems are improved and maintained.
    • Implement changes, in consultation with your team and/or manager or supervisor. If you need to implement changes in your processes to help mee chain of responsibility obligations, make sure you do this through the appropriate channels for your business.
    • Communicate with your team and customers. Any changes to the chain of responsibility that may impact on your scheduling, or your customer’s service expectations need to be communicated to your team, third parties and your customers, and advised of what the changes may mean for them.
    • Set a review cycle. Embrace a culture of continuous improvement, and ensure all members of your team or business regularly review their roles and responsibilities in the supply chain. This will ensure that you can minimise the risks around future potential breaches of NHVL and mitigate any actions or inactions that may cause a person to contravene the law before they become a problem.

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