Chain of responsibility failings ruin reputations

More than 200 WA companies have been prosecuted under the WA chain of responsibility laws, highlighting the need for more awareness about the legislation that came into effect in April 2015.

Chain of responsibility legislation and regulations place obligations on those involved at all steps in the transport chain, including consignors, packers, loaders, drivers, managers, receivers and even extending to company directors.

These laws mean that you may be deemed liable in the event of a breach of the road laws if you have failed to take reasonable steps to manage any risk and ensure that road safety has not been compromised in any way.

About 90 prosecutions were heard in WA Last year alone, with fines issued for offences ranging from overloaded vehicles to using unauthorised routes with fines issued between $300 and $12,000.

Western Roads and CCI will co-host a Chain of Responsibility briefing on February 28 to learn more about the risks associated with breaching the laws.

Executive Project Manager for DB Schenker Australia Brian Hodge will offer tips on how his company – a global logistics company operating from 2000 locations – is leading the way when it comes to ensuring contractors are compliant.

“It is critical to us that they comply with chain of responsibility laws,” he says.

“We are trying to get them to understand that by saying ‘oh we told them what to do’ does not mean they are compliant with the legislation, which says you must demonstrate you’ve done all you can to ensure compliance.

“If it’s coming from overseas for example, they may not be offay with Australian requirements, so it’s about getting in front of clients and saying you have a responsibility that you cannot dissolve by saying it was done overseas, you are still responsible for it.

“We have used our stop work authority on numerous occasions to say ‘we’re not moving that, it’s inappropriately packed’ or ‘we’re not going to accept that cargo’.

“We’ve done that and we’ve been applauded by the big tier one oil and gas companies.”

Hodge says failing to meet the requirements will result in a loss of trust and loss of business.

“It’s all about trust, integrity, reliability, predictability and having all those together,” he says.

“The one thing in this business, once you lose trust and you have issues it is very difficult for you to get that back.

“If we have chain of responsibility and there’s a cargo incident and someone gets hurt, then it is not about self-protection, it’s about doing the right thing.”


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