The National Heavy Vehicle Regulator (NHVR) has a somewhat intimidating name. After all, in many cases, a regulator is in direct confrontation with the entities that they … well … regulate. These regulators are largely responsible for creating and enforcing policies that affect the way their wards do business, and whether the issue is matching uniforms or truck spare parts, punitive measures can be harsh. This makes industry stakeholders wary of regulators.
Fortunately, this doesn’t have to be the case. When a regulator does their job well, they give you recommendations and mandatories, and the consequences of not following their requirements. However, they can also give you the resources you need to observe the laid down regulations. This is the approach taken by Sal Petroccitto, the CEO of NHVR.
He believes safety is a system, not just a set of laws and penalties. In his own words, ‘A Safety Management System is an effective tool for organisational compliance.’ In the coming months, there will be new laws covering the Chain of Responsibility in heavy vehicle safety, and getting an early start in safety management will keep industry stakeholders within legal boundaries.
Preparing for Chain of Responsibility Regulation
In anticipation of these new laws and approaches to safety, the NHVR has launched a set of safety tools for industry members. Mr. Petroccitto admits that this kind of undertaking doesn’t lend itself to a one-size-fits-all approach. Instead, the regulator has designed a set of guidelines and templates that can be tailored to individual truck and bus companies. He affirms, ‘The tools are scalable and adaptable to any size and type of business.’
The difference in this approach is that NHVR is no longer restricted to a ‘policing’ role. They are now offering truck and bus industry members resources that can help them colour within the lines of heavy vehicle safety. Plus, all these tools are free and easily available. All you need is access to the internet.
The tools take the form of an information book and a series of ten templates, guides, and fact sheets. They are all available on the NHVR website, and the archive will be progressively expanded to provide further tools for owners, buyers, drivers, managers, and manufacturers. The downloads themselves are free, and the advice they offer is fairly low-cost, so it’s easy to apply and implement at the business level.
Free resources and practical steps
These resources offer specific steps to follow, but they also offer a framework that businesses can use to develop in-house policies for safety and roadworthiness. They offer tips for correctly reporting incidents and employing risk management measures. Rather than being theoretical and abstract, the suggestions include hands-on initiatives like individual and group safety training for business employees.
Such programmes are easy to begin, since they can be based on the information contained in the free safety resources that recommend them. The business just has to tailor the freely available content to their own brand and needs. The content is describes as ‘comprehensive, systematic, and pro-active’ in terms of managing safety risks. Luke Donnellan is the Minister for Victorian Roads and Road Safety. He spoke at the launch of the Mega Trans 2018 Launch.
Essential tools for safety
Mr. Donnellan pointed out that last year, 211 people died in bus and truck accidents. 44 of those people died in Victoria. He therefore supports the Safety Management System and sees a big need for it. “If this initiative is successful we can replicate it for rail, maritime, and aviation needs, but at the moment, heavy vehicle safety is a priority for all Australians.”
The free resources on offer are just a small portion of the Safety Management System which continues to be developed. The system is practicable for all stages of the heavy vehicle supply chain. Mr. Donnellan believes it will drastically reduce incidences related to safety. It will do so in a simple, implementable, cost-effective manner that is agreeable to all stakeholders.