Amendments to the Chain of Responsibility laws are coming in mid 2018

  • 32 Liability provisions[i] for offences under the revised Heavy Vehicle National Law (HVNL), if an Executive Officer does not “exercise reasonable diligence” to prevent their corporation’s offence[ii].
  • A total of 148 extended Executive Officer liabilities (including the above)[iii], where an executive officer “knowingly authorised or permitted the conduct” that constituted their corporation’s offence. Many of these provisions are considered CoR (key safety) offences[iv].

Under the amended HVNL, Executive Officers have a proactive duty to exercise due diligence and take reasonable steps in relation to the safety of transport activities relating to heavy vehicles in the (supply) chain of responsibility[v]. Executive Officers cannot delegate this duty.

Are you a “CoR” Executive Officer?

  1. Firstly, if your business consigns, packs, loads or receive goods, even though you may not have a direct role in driving or operating a heavy vehicle (>4.5 tonnes), your business is a party in the chain of responsibility[vi].
  2. Secondly, if you are classified as an Executive Officer under Work Health Safety (WHS) legislation in effect you will be considered an Executive Officer under the HVNL (per the section 9 of the Corporations Act 2001 of the Commonwealth).

Your CoR due diligence obligations and where to find them

The amendments are enshrined in the Heavy Vehicle National Law and Other Legislation Amendment Bill 2016 on the Office of the Queensland Parliamentary Counsel website (in particular refer Sections 26C, 26D, 636(2) and (3), and Schedule 4).

These changes align CoR laws more closely with national safety laws including:

  • Primary duties for CoR (Section 26C)
  • Executive Officer Due Diligence obligations (Section 26D)
  • Executive Officer Liability (Section 636 and Schedule 4), to name a few[vii].

The good news is for Executive Officers who are already compliant and doing the right thing under the under the current HVNL and WHS laws, there should not be significant impacts. The changes are focused on safety but they remove some of the existing prescriptive requirements, and encourage a risk based approach, which will give Executive Officers more flexibility to determine how they exercise due diligence[viii].

If your business requires assistance with the following:

  • Conducting a gap analysis against the amended CoR laws
  • Integrating CoR compliance frameworks with safety management systems
  • Proactively managing Logistics and Supply Chain critical safety risks.

Please contact Supply Chain Safety Excellence to see how we can work together to achieve excellence in safe business practices and promote public safety.

References

[i] Office of the Queensland Parliamentary Counsel website – Queensland Legislation – Heavy Vehicle National Law and Other Legislation Amendment Bill 2016, Clause 113, Schedule 4, Column 3, pp62-67. https://www.legislation.qld.gov.au/LEGISLTN/ACTS/2016/16AC065.pdf

[ii] Office of the Queensland Parliamentary Counsel website – Queensland Legislation – Heavy Vehicle National Law and Other Legislation Amendment Bill 2016, Clause 103, Section 636(2), pp56. https://www.legislation.qld.gov.au/LEGISLTN/ACTS/2016/16AC065.pdf

[iii] Office of the Queensland Parliamentary Counsel website – Queensland Legislation – Heavy Vehicle National Law and Other Legislation Amendment Bill 2016, Clause 113, Schedule 4, Column 2, pp62-67. https://www.legislation.qld.gov.au/LEGISLTN/ACTS/2016/16AC065.pdf

[iv] NTC (National Transport Commission) – Primary Duties for Chain of Responsibility Parties and Executive Officer Liability – Discussion Paper, July 2015, pp40-42: http://www.ntc.gov.au/Media/Reports/(92D39859-6953-4531-BAD5-410C77532AA0).pdf

[v] Ramaswamy, D. ‘Executive officer liability set to increase following amendments to the HVNL’, 29 March 2017, Holding Redlich https://www.holdingredlich.com/transport-logistics-road/february-2017-executi-ve-officer-liability-set-to-increase-executive-officer-liability-set-to-increase-following-amendments-to-the-hvnl

[vi] NHVR (National Heavy Vehicle Regulator) website – About the Chain of Responsibility: https://www.nhvr.gov.au/safety-accreditation-compliance/chain-of-responsibility

[vii] NTC (National Transport Commission) website – Primary duties for Chain of Responsibility and Executive Officer Liability: https://www.ntc.gov.au/Media/Reports/(30691D69-BE62-47D3-ACB4-ED02EF21F512).pdf

[viii] NTC (National Transport Commission) – 2016 Heavy Vehicle National Law Chain of Responsibility & Executive Officer Liability Reforms Frequently Asked Questions, pp4: http://www.ntc.gov.au/Media/Reports/(6BE46B90-6741-96E1-3AB2-2F4266A2A775).pdf

Further Information

Heavy Vehicle National Law and Other Legislation Amendment Bill 2016 Explanatory Notes: https://www.legislation.qld.gov.au/Bills/55PDF/2016/B15_0378_Heavy_Vehicle_National_Law_and_Other_Legislation_Amendment_Bill_2016E.pdf

NHVR – Changes to CoR: https://www.nhvr.gov.au/safety-accreditation-compliance/chain-of-responsibility/changes-to-cor

NHVR – CoR Executive Officers Fact Sheet: https://www.nhvr.gov.au/files/201705-0520-cor-executive-officers.pdf

NHVR – Heavy Vehicle National Law and Regulations: (currently in force) https://www.nhvr.gov.au/law-policies/heavy-vehicle-national-law-and-regulations

Disclaimer: The information provided in this article is designed to provide helpful information on the subjects discussed. I am not a lawyer and this should not be considered legal advice and I cannot be held liable for any inaccuracies or omissions in this article. You should seek appropriate legal advice from an appropriately qualified legal professional for your own situation.