22 August 2018

Chain of Responsibility reforms commence on 1 October. Is your transport business ready?

National changes to Chain of Responsibility (CoR) liability under the Australian Heavy Vehicle National Law (HVNL) come into effect on 1 October, introducing new offences and penalties up to $3 million.

Don’t make the mistake of thinking that this won’t apply to you. If you are involved in the transport industry at any level you could be liable. Penalties apply across three different categories of risk and responsibility, and range from $300,000 or 5 years’ imprisonment, or both, for an individual to $3 million for corporates.  

The amendments are aimed at improving work safety and make it an offence to

  • ask
  • direct
  • require
  • or enter into a contract with

the driver of the vehicle, or any person in the transport operation’s chain of responsibility, to

  • exceed a speed limit
  • drive while impaired by fatigue or in breach of work and rest hours.

Why you need to know about the changes

Under the amendments the primary duty obligation, as defined by Section 26C of the HVNL, has been extended to potentially include anyone who

  • consigns
  • loads
  • or receives

transportable goods as part of their business operations.


Corporates, directors, partners and managers are all accountable for the actions of the people under their control – and they can be prosecuted for breach of duties in operations without a safety incident occurring.

Check your liability

The CoR check list on the National Heavy Vehicle Regulator website at www.nhvr.gov.au lists various transport industry roles and functions with a tick-box system to help identify at a glance if you are legally liable under the new conditions.

How to manage safety risks

Determining what is reasonably practicable is a step-by-step process that is consistent with risk management procedures.

  1. Identify what could go wrong: Ascertain the hazards that could cause harm or damage when using a heavy vehicle.
  2. Assess the risks: Determine the likelihood and degree of harm or damage each hazard may cause.
  3. Control the risks: Implement control measures to eliminate or minimise the risks.
  4. Monitor and review: Regularly check control measures to ensure they are working and determine whether there are new risks that need to be controlled.

Need help?

For assistance with your own specific CoR implementation, Gallagher’s specialised heavy vehicle team has developed a Heavy Vehicle Transport Safety offering, which includes CoR systems development as well as access to a wide range of comprehensive training modules.

Speak to one of our specialist transport and logistics advisors to discuss a tailored solution for your business, or fill out the form here to arrange a time for us to call you.

Connect with an expert


Further reading

Transport and logistics insurance

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