The National Heavy Vehicle Regulator (NHVR) has established seven stringent fatigue management standards to ensure the safety of road transport operations.
Compliance with these standards is not only a legal requirement but also crucial for safeguarding the well-being of drivers and the general public.
Meeting NHVR fatigue management standards requires a proactive approach combining a deep understanding of the Heavy Vehicle National Law (HVNL), rigorous record-keeping, training, and a commitment to best practices.
Very large transport companies may have teams of expert staff to manage much of this. However smaller operators often struggle to find and fund resources for these types of roles.
For these businesses, hiring an expert consultant to help set up and implement an efficient digital system and then provide ongoing review and support is often the most practical and cost-effective option.
At Hubfleet, we’ve partnered with Glyn Castanelli, who is an NHVR-approved auditor from Transport Health and Safety, to delve into the seven fatigue management standards below established by the NHVR.
1. Scheduling and rostering
2. Health and well-being for performed duties
3. Training and education
4. Responsibilities and management practices
5. Internal reviews
6. Record-keeping and documentation
7. Workplace conditions
Our goal is to provide insight into what these standards mean and how transport companies can implement practical systems to fulfill their obligations under the Heavy Vehicle National Law (HVNL).
We will also explore the role of auditors like Transport Health and Safety and digital systems, such as Hubfleet, to assist transport companies meet NHVR standards and maintain a high level of safety in their operations.
It’s important to note that the specific requirements and details of the NHVR fatigue management standards may have evolved or changed since this article was written.
To ensure compliance and stay current with the latest regulations, it’s essential to consult the NHVR’s official documentation, or contact the NHVR directly for the most up-to-date information.
Part one: scheduling and rostering
The NHVR scheduling and rostering standard requires transport companies to create schedules and rosters that take into consideration the driver’s recent work history, ability, welfare, and preference (where appropriate). They must allow the driver adequate time for the transport task to be completed safely and ensure that the task can be done within the approved operating hours.
What to do to meet the standard
To meet the scheduling and rostering standard, transport businesses must develop clearly documented procedures for how rosters are planned, monitored, and reviewed. To comply, businesses must be able to demonstrate that they implement these procedures. Importantly, this means businesses must have procedures that are consistent with the nature of their operation and with the systems they have in place to manage their operation.
The problem most businesses face
Some transport businesses lend themselves to having fixed schedule over a long period of time. This makes scheduling and rostering relatively straightforward. However, these types of businesses are the exception rather than the rule. Many transport businesses face the challenges of schedules changing regularly, sometimes daily. Unless an allocator has up to date information on a drivers work and rest records and can rapidly assess these against the operating limits, it is impossible to know if adjusting a schedule will cause a driver to breach their operating limits.
Glyn Castanelli has spent the best part of 30 years in the heavy vehicle transport industry in many roles, including as a driver, trainer and as a NHVR accredited auditor at Transport Health and Safety. Castanelli is also vice president of the National Road Freighters Association and has seen many operators struggle to meet their obligation under the scheduling and rostering standard.
“Many operators rely on tradition paper logbooks,” Castanelli notes.
“They often receive yellow sheets from their drivers several days late and because they are labour intensive to process in the back office, many allocators are flying blind. It’s not uncommon for an allocator to assign a driver a job and assume they can do it unless the driver notifies them otherwise. This puts a lot of pressure onto the driver.
“If they make a mistake counting their hours, they are at risk of a significant fine and it causes a real safety issue. Drivers might also feel that if they don’t accept the task, it might be seen unfavourably, and they may be overlooked for future work.
“For business owners, this situation creates a primary duty risk that they are not managing drivers fatigue as far as reasonably practicable.”
Under the HVNL, operators must put in place safety systems and controls to prevent breaches of the HVNL, manage risk and maintain a safe work environment.
“Operators must be able to demonstrate that the systems they have enables them to implement their scheduling and rostering procedures for the business they are running,” Castanelli says.
“This means if they revise schedules at short notice, they must have up- to-date records on hand. For many businesses, having a digital system in place makes a lot of sense as it will give them a lot more flexibility with their schedules. An EWD is often extremely helpful as they minimise the manual labour in keeping records up-to-date.”
The Hubfleet digital compliance system
Hubfleet is one of the most popular digital compliance systems in the Australian heavy vehicle market. The Hubfleet EWD app is easy for drivers to use and fast and accurate even when drivers are out of range. The driver’s records are sent real-time to the management portal, and it is very easy for an allocator to see exactly when a driver’s major breaks are due. Hubfleet has recently updated their system to include a simple to use scheduling tool.
“Now within the Hubfleet portal, fleet managers can create a list of shifts drivers commonly do,” explains James Doherty, from Hubfleet.
“These shifts can be grouped together to form a schedule over a several days or weeks. The schedule can then be added to a driver’s actual work and rest records and the system automatically checks for any potential future breaches of fatigue laws days before they happen. This is extremely useful for checking if schedules can be legally completed, or for finding a driver with available hours to complete a task”.
Put simply, Hubfleet takes the guess work out of scheduling and significantly reduces the primary duty risk for a business owner. It also allows businesses more flexibly when it comes to adjusting schedules to meet customer demand and all this leads to a safer, more efficient, and more profitable transport businesses.
Seek compliance advice
It’s important to note that the specific requirements and details of the NHVR fatigue management standards may have evolved or changed since this article was written. To ensure compliance and stay current with the latest regulations, it’s essential to consult the NHVR’s official documentation or contact the NHVR directly for the most up-to-date information.
If in doubt about specific requirements or interpretations of NHVR standards, consult with legal experts or compliance advisors who are well-versed in Australian transport regulations.
• If you would like more information on Hubfleet’s digital management system, or to speak to an NHVR-approved auditor, visit hubfleet.com.au.