Meeting health and wellbeing obligations

Here 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 established by the NHVR.

Glyn Castanelli is an NHVR-approved auditor from Transport Health and Safety. Image: Hubfleet

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 National Heavy Vehicle Law (NHVL).

In this article, we will focus on fatigue management standard Part 2: Health and wellbeing for performed duty.

The standard

This standard requires drivers to be in a fit state to safely perform their duties and to meet specified medical requirements. Operators must also have a system in place for this.

Operators must also ensure that time off is provided for drivers to recover from or to prepare for the fatigue effects of work.

Drivers must ensure that they consider the impact of recreational activities and their personal life on their wellbeing and capacity to work safely, and use time off responsibly to prepare for, or to recover from, the fatigue effects of work.

What to do

Operators must also have a system in place that records a driver’s fitness for duty, which addresses the driver health, use of drugs/alcohol, medical conditions, wellbeing, and state of fatigue.

In adhering to the NHVR fatigue management standards, Part 2 emphasises the crucial aspect of health and wellbeing for drivers undertaking their duties.

The standard underscores the necessity for drivers to be physically and mentally fit to safely perform their tasks and to comply with specific medical requirements. Simultaneously, operators are mandated to implement a robust system that guarantees drivers are in an optimal state to execute their responsibilities and meet the stipulated medical criteria.

Documented procedures should exist for the drivers to notify the operator if they are unfit for duty due to any lifestyle, health or medical issue both before and during work.

An integral element of this standard is the obligation for operators to facilitate adequate time off for drivers, allowing them to recuperate from the strains of work-induced fatigue or prepare for upcoming challenges.

This encompasses a holistic approach to driver wellbeing, recognising the impact of both work-related and personal factors on their capacity to operate heavy vehicles safely.

To operationalise these standards, drivers are required to undergo certification by a medical practitioner in accordance with Austroads’ Assessing Fitness to Drive guidelines or an equivalent document sanctioned by the NHVR.

The comprehensive examination includes an assessment to identify drivers at high risk for sleep disorders. The frequency of these examinations is prescribed, occurring once every three years for drivers aged 49 or under and annually for those aged 50 or over.

Operators play a pivotal role in ensuring compliance with these health and wellbeing standards.

They are obligated to establish a systematic approach for storing and updating driver medical records, guaranteeing that all pertinent information is current.

Additionally, operators must implement a comprehensive system that meticulously records a driver’s fitness for duty. This system should encompass aspects such as driver health, the use of drugs and alcohol, existing medical conditions, general wellbeing, and the driver’s state of fatigue.

By embedding these practices into their operational framework, operators contribute to fostering a culture of safety, responsibility, and conscientiousness.

This not only aligns with regulatory requirements but also underscores a commitment to the overall welfare of drivers, ultimately promoting safer and more sustainable heavy vehicle operations.

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

Glyn is also president of the National Road Freighters Association.

Glyn notes: “Having fatigue accreditation is good business practice, everything you must do for fatigue management you should already be doing under Heavy Vehicle National Law.

“Using Hubfleet to manage driver health and wellbeing gives your business easy access to driver records and fit for duty declarations without all the mountains of paperwork to sort through.”

The Hubfleet digital compliance system

The Hubfleet heavy vehicle compliance system can help companies meet their obligation under the health and wellbeing for performed duty standards by allowing businesses to implement custom fit for duty questions for drivers to complete when they start a shift.

These are automatically stored with each completed shift record on the web portal. Medical records can also be stored on the system with reminders for both drivers and fleet managers about certificate expiry dates. 

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.

• For the first part of this seven-part series, on scheduling and rostering, click here.

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