Chain of Responsibility Legislation
The new Chain of Responsibility (CoR) legislation comes into effect 1 October 2018 (excluding Western Australia and the Northern Territory), bringing with it a number of significant changes nationally for any person or company doing business with the transport sector.
The reform process began with the Heavy Vehicle National Law 2014 (the HVNL), which was first introduced in Queensland (as the host jurisdiction) then adopted in New South Wales, Victoria, South Australia and Tasmania.
Under COR laws if you are named as a party in the chain of responsibility and you exercise (or have the capability of exercising) control or influence over any transport task, you have a responsibility to ensure the HVNL is complied with.”
The new law will mimic the provisions of Australia’s current harmonised work health and safety (WHS) law and require every party in the transport supply chain to undertake reasonably practicable steps to ensure the safety of their transport activities (even if they are not the transport company or driver).
Primary duty breach penalties will be similar to those under WHS laws, which include a fine of up to $3 million for a corporation and $300,000 or five years’ imprisonment, or both, for an individual. Enforceable undertakings will also be introduced as an intervention option.
If you answer “yes” to any of the following:
- consign, pack, load or receive goods as part of your business
- require goods to be delivered via a heavy vehicle (being any vehicle more than 4.5 tonnes)
- use heavy vehicles or employ contractors who use heavy vehicles to transport your product to customers or elsewhere
then you could be held legally liable for breaches of the Heavy Vehicle National Law even though you have no direct role in driving or operating a heavy vehicle.
In addition, corporate entities, directors, partners and managers are accountable for the actions of people under their control.