As those in the transport and logistics industry would know, changes to the chain of responsibility provisions in the Heavy Vehicle National Law are now expected to commence later this year.
That means transport operators have limited time left to be ready.
This week we are up to the fifth of ten tips to help with your last-minute preparations.
Tip #5 – CoR and subcontracting agreements
As part of the new CoR regime, you should ensure you have contracts with your subcontractors that document 'who is responsible for what'. If your engagement of subcontractors is undocumented and undertaken without regard to how safety risks will be managed, you are unlikely to fulfil your primary duty to 'ensure, so far as is reasonably practicable, the safety of your transport activities'.
Your subcontracting agreements should cover issues such as:
- Whose responsibility is it to ensure your subcontractor's drivers and other personnel are aware of their CoR obligations?
- What licences and accreditations must your subcontractor and its drivers hold?
- Do you have the right to conduct drug and alcohol testing of your subcontractor's drivers?
- Does your subcontractor need to notify you if the subcontractor or a driver receives a warning, fine, infringement notice, court appearance notice or summons in relation to the performance of the services?
- What does the subcontractor need to do if it considers that any of your requests, directions or practices will or may result in the subcontractor or its drivers breaching the Heavy Vehicle National Law?
- Do you have the right to audit and inspect the subcontractor's books and records for CoR compliance?
- Do you have the right to terminate the agreement if the subcontractor contravenes the Heavy Vehicle National Law?
You must also ensure that your subcontracting agreements do not contain any provisions that provide your subcontractor with an incentive to breach the Heavy Vehicle National Law.
Cooper Grace Ward is a leading Australian law firm based in Brisbane.
This publication is for information only and is not legal advice. You should obtain advice that is specific to your circumstances and not rely on this publication as legal advice. If there are any issues you would like us to advise you on arising from this publication, please contact Cooper Grace Ward Lawyers.