During the past 10 years as Australia’s heavy vehicle regulator, we’ve learnt a lot about driver fatigue, and one thing in particular that stands out is the need to better recognise individual driver needs.
The prescriptive (or standard hours) approach to fatigue will always be available for those in industry who want to use it, and it’s long been an accepted community standard.
However, just like all other aspects of your business, fatigue is an area where you can invest in tailoring a solution to better suit your business and individual driver needs.
Advanced Fatigue Management (AFM) can provide operators with a tailored approach to work and rest hours, provided they put in place additional controls and offsets to manage fatigue safety risks.
Effectively managing fatigue – and underpinning AFM – is a business’s genuine commitment to work with its drivers to better understand their needs and to put safety first.
Under tailored fatigue options, drivers can have better quality rest periods, are working when they’re most alert, and can take more rest in a shift if they need to.
Indeed, from our data, we know that AFM is typically used to get drivers to somewhere where they can get better quality rest at the end of their shift.
Even though AFM has been around for a long time, we’re aware that some operators may be put off by the amount of paperwork and process involved in seeking accreditation.
To help address this, we’ve launched a dedicated project to remove unnecessary administrative barriers and make the process more user-friendly for businesses of all sizes.
Through this AFM improvement project, we’ll be sharing examples of the types of tailored options that other companies are currently using, so operators can decide whether there’s a pre-made example of hours that would suit their business.
We’ll also be sharing the types of controls and offsets operators can use to manage fatigue risks. There’ll be a library to choose from, and we’ll provide guidance on which best manages a particular risk.
We’ll be providing a collection of templates and tools for operations manuals, and other required safety systems, that operators can implement in their business – just like with our approach to Safety Management Systems.
In addition, the AFM application form will move to the NHVR Portal, and there’ll be a built-in risk calculator, into which applicants will simply have to enter what hours they need to work.
Importantly, we’ll have a dedicated AFM case manager to step applicants though the process.
Over the coming months, we’ll release more information about how industry can get involved in AFM using the new process.
I also recommend reading our Regulatory Advice – Fitness to drive: Fatigue , which provides guidance to all parties in the Chain of Responsibility on managing fatigue in the heavy vehicle transport industry and outlines their obligations under the HVNL.
Our free Safety Management System guidance material also provides tools and templates to help operators assess their fatigue safety risks and communicate effectively with their employees about their fitness for duty.
I look forward to keeping you up to date with the progress of our AFM improvement project, and contributing to safer drivers on safer roads.
- Sal Petroccitto is CEO, National Heavy Vehicle Regulator (NHVR)