Chain of responsibility – about ‘extended liability’
The Road Transport Reform (Compliance and Enforcement) Bill includes enhanced general extended liability offences.Chain of responsibility is a simple process of ensuring that everyone does their bit in managing fatigue risks in the road transport sector. Any person who aids, abets, counsels or procures the commission of an offence by another person will be taken to have committed the offence and may be found guilty, even if the principal offender is not found guilty or even prosecuted. Those who work in the transport industry may need to complete their chain of responsibility training.
Any person who causes or permits the commission of an offence or coerces, induces or offers an incentive to a person to commit an offence will be guilty of an offence.
It will also be an offence to discriminate against a person who has reported or raised concerns about road law breaches, for example, by dismissing an employee who raises concerns about breaches of driving hours requirements.
The chain of responsibility for each of the parties in dangerous goods transport is defined by drawing a distinction between the primary liability of the person responsible for ensuring that a particular requirement is met, and the secondary liability of a person who is responsible only to the extent that he or she knew, or reasonably ought to have known, that the obligation was not fulfilled.
Under these laws, packers, loaders, manufacturers, consignors, schedulers, prime contractors and drivers have defined legal responsibilities that correspond to their respective duties in the loading and transport of dangerous goods. The extent of their liability (primary or secondary) reflects the extent of their control over these duties.
When one of the parties in the chain of responsibility is a body corporate, there is also potential for a director, company secretary and senior manager to be held personally liable for a breach committed by that body corporate unless the person was not in a position to influence or control the body corporate in relation to that breach, or, if the person was in such a position, took reasonable steps to prevent the breach.
Chain of responsibility training covers extended liability and all other aspects of chain of responsibility necessary to ensure workers are compliant with the Health and Safety legislation.
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