In September 2015, the first operator was accredited under the National Heavy Vehicle Regulator’s (NHVR) livestock transport fatigue management scheme (LTFMS) to provide flexible work arrangements that save time, lives and money.

Goondiwindi owner driver Pat Mulligan currently subcontracts to a large livestock transport business and welcomes the flexibility that the scheme provides his operations.

“The scheme will be of great benefit during busy work periods as the livestock industry continues to function outside of a traditional working week.

“The majority of my work involves travelling long distances in outback regions over a variety of road surfaces. This flexibility helps me transport the livestock to their destination in one trip, rather than pull up short to have a seven hour break with the cattle on board, which can affect the welfare of the animals”, Mr Mulligan said.

The NHVR launched the Livestock Transport Fatigue Management Scheme on 1 July 2015 to provide new opportunities for operators and drivers who become accredited with the NHVR.
NHVR says the scheme is a response to the growing need to marry safety with job flexibility.

Among other things, 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.

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

NHVR says the main causes of fatigue are not enough sleep, driving at night (when you should be asleep) and working or being awake for a long time, it says.

National heavy vehicle driver fatigue laws apply to fatigue-regulated heavy vehicles.

A fatigue-regulated heavy vehicle is:
• a vehicle with a Gross Vehicle Mass (GVM) of over 12t
• a combination when the total of the GVM is over 12t
• buses with a GVM over 4.5t fitted to carry more than 12 adults (including the driver)
• a truck, or a combination including a truck, with a GVM of over 12t with a machine or implement attached.

Some heavy vehicles are not classed as fatigue-regulated heavy vehicles. These include trams, motor vehicles modified to primarily operate as a machine or implement (plant such as agricultural machinery, bulldozers, tractors, etc.) and motor homes specifically modified for residential purposes (not just built with a sleeper berth).

The laws cover all aspects of work and rest relating to heavy vehicles including:
• work and rest hours
• recording work and rest times
• fatigue management exemptions
• Chain of responsibility obligations.

At the heart of the laws for fatigue management is a primary duty – a driver must not drive a fatigue-regulated heavy vehicle on a road while impaired by fatigue. Drivers may be impaired by fatigue even when complying with work and rest limits.

Chain of responsibility
Under existing transport legislation, If you consign, pack, load or receive goods as part of your business, you could be held legally liable for breaches of road transport laws even though you do not drive a heavy vehicle. In addition, corporate entities, directors, partners and managers are accountable for the actions of people under their control. This is the ‘chain of responsibility’ (COR).

Each person in the COR must take all reasonable steps to ensure that the driver of a fatigue-regulated heavy vehicle does not drive on a road while impaired by fatigue or breach road transport laws relating to fatigue.

In addition to this, each person in the COR must take all reasonable steps to ensure a heavy vehicle driver can perform his or her duties without breaching road transport laws.
See the Chain of responsiblity for more information.

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AlertForce is a leader in fatigue management training. If you are in trucking, freight management, mining, manufacturing or rail, AlertForce has customised courses that can help your business (see http://alertforce.com.au/ohs-training-courses/fatigue-management/#course-content).

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