Survey reveals improvements across industry

nhvr report

Earlier this month the NHVR released its Heavy Vehicle Industry Safety Survey 2022 Report and I’m pleased to announce that since our last survey in 2020, there has been a noticeable increase in safer practices across the heavy vehicle industry.

With 5750 industry participants taking part this year, it’s clear that improving safety is not only the NHVR’s number one priority but also a key focus for the heavy vehicle industry.

The Safety Survey allows the NHVR to collect information and analyse key insights on how industry manages and improves the safety of their transport activities, as well as how they access and digest safety information from the NHVR. It also gives us an opportunity to see how safety technologies are being understood and applied across the industry.

By comparing the results from survey to survey, it is excellent to see that more industry participants are taking steps to improve the safety of their operations.

In terms of participation for 2022, those who undertook the survey were typically:

  • Managers (43 per cent)
  • Drivers (41 per cent)
  • Employed in a business based in Victoria (49 per cent), New South Wales (20per cent) or Queensland (15per cent)
  • Delivering loads that comprised general freight (20 per cent) or primary production/farming (20per cent)
  • Transporting their goods locally (59 per cent)
  • Employed in a business that has 2-10 staff (60 per cent)
  • Have been in the industry for 20 years or more (53 per cent)

Compared to the 2020 survey results, owner-drivers informed us that they are now better at managing safety in their business, with approximately 90 per cent of owner-drivers:

  • Understanding what is required to fulfil their safety responsibilities
  • Stating that safety is an important part of all business activity and decision-making
  • Actively considering safety risks
  • Providing new staff safety training at induction
  • Communicating safety information to staff
  • Feeling safe at work, and
  • Able to say ‘no’ to an activity if they consider it unsafe.

The NHVR is also greatly encouraged by the increase in safety management across the industry since 2020, with notable improvements identified in the uptake of a basic Safety Management System (SMS). Sixty-five per cent of those who undertook the survey now have an SMS for their business, and 98 per cent of people found the SMS materials provided on the NHVR’s website (including the SMS roadmap) to be very helpful.

The NHVR will leverage these great results and increase our work in the SMS education space to increase the current industry percentage with tailored programs. It is vital for us to have industry continue to contribute to this program and we hope this will be reflected in our next survey in 2024.

The survey also looked at industry’s awareness of heavy vehicle safety technologies, with owner-drivers informing us that when upgrading their heavy vehicle, Antilock Braking Systems (ABS) and features that reduce blind spots were the most important to them. Overall, owner-drivers with a Performance Based Standards (PBS) vehicle were more likely to seek a wider range of heavy vehicle safety features when considering a new vehicle purchase, compared to those without a PBS vehicle.

With uptake in the PBS scheme increasing steadily over recent years, we are seeing a greater understanding and uptake of safety technologies across the industry in general. To hear that PBS owner-drivers are prioritising safety when managing their transport business is highly encouraging as we continue to see a massive uptake in PBS vehicles.

Thank you to everyone who participated in the survey. Let’s continue to make safety our priority.

The full Safety Survey 2022 report can be viewed on the NHVR website: https://www.nhvr.gov.au/safety-survey

  • David Hourigan is the NHVR’s chief regulatory policy and standards officer.

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