Trucking operators need to remain vigilant about staying safe during the crisis and are being urged to ensure their operations remain safe as unprecedented demand puts pressure on freight supply chains.
In a statement this week, National Heavy Vehicle Regulator CEO, Sal Petroccitto, reminded operators of their Chain of Responsibility obligations and to avoid putting drivers under undue pressure.
“We’re concerned by reports that drivers are under increased pressure to meet deadlines,” said Sal. “We need to avoid situations where drivers are being forced to exceed their work and rest hours or ignore poor load restraint practices.”
South Australian Police Assistant Commissioner, Ian Parrott, said police had already taken action against some operators caught breaking the law.
“While most drivers are doing the right thing, we are still seeing a number of examples where drivers are taking unnecessary risks,” said the Assistant Commissioner. “Recent spot checks of drivers showed a driver operating under standard hours, i.e. a maximum work time of 12 hours in 24, at 16-and-a-half hours and other drivers committing critical risk fatigue breaches working through required rest breaks.”
NSW Traffic and Highway Patrol Commander Assistant Commissioner Michael Corboy has warned operators that safety still needed to be front and centre.
“In these unprecedented times there are thousands of heavy vehicle movements a day and the NSW Police are still actively enforcing rules around fatigue and compliance,” said Corby in a statement. “The last thing anyone wants is a catastrophic heavy vehicle incident which takes away from the hard work the industry is doing right now for the people of Australia.”
Transport for NSW Director Compliance Roger Weeks said compliance teams remained on duty to ensure the continued safety of heavy vehicle movements at a time when there was a huge focus on freight delivering essential goods to communities.
“Our inspectors have introduced safe work methods to ensure social distancing and hygiene measures are adopted to protect drivers and inspectors,” said Weeks.
The NHVR says it has undertaken a number of recent changes to assist drivers during the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, including waiving amenity restriction on all curfew permits, extending the time limit drivers may use a supplementary work diary record and temporary changes to the National Heavy Vehicle Accreditation Scheme (NHVAS) medical and face-to-face audit requirements.