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What you need to know about scheme changes

The National Heavy Vehicle Regulator (NHVR) has released changes to the National Heavy Vehicle Accreditation Scheme (NHVAS) coming into effect on February 22.  So, what does this mean, who is affected and how?

In November 2019, the Transport Infrastructure Council met and endorsed changes to the NHVAS Business Rules and Standards.

However, companies within the NHVAS will be given a full cycle of accreditation before these changes will be required.

Organisations have been in the firing line of late, with the NHVR recently handing out prohibition notices and suspending multiple organisations from operating due to not having the correct systems and adequate documentation in place.

This puts all companies at risk if they do not have reasonable steps in place to understand and enforce the new changes.

So, what are these changes? Well, the main changes being implanted by the NHVR are implementing are:

• Advanced and Basic Fatigue Management (ABFM) will now use the same seven standards.

• Turntable and tow couplings are to be checked daily ensuring, that the vehicle is meeting the workplace safety legislation.

• Vehicles are to be inspected by a qualified mechanic annually.

• Operators will now be required to report any significant incidents as a notifiable occurrence.

• A register of infringements and defects is also required to be kept.

Sounds simple right? However, this is only five of the 17 changes that are going to be implemented in the updated scheme. So, what can be done to avoid trouble with the NHVR?

Some changes are quite simple and inexpensive such as, as including inspection of tow couplings into pre-start check lists/books or existing systems or creating a system for infringements and defects. 

While other changes are slightly more complex such as ensuring the vehicle is meeting the workplace safety legislations.

This could be done by having an air conditioning system (reducing fatigue) in the sleeper birth as well as having an ADR 42 compliant sleeper.

If the company does not have these things, they will need to provide documentation to explain how these requirements will be met.

Whilst we welcome these changes that are making our industry safer, it raises the question. Why has it has taken NHVR over 15 months for these changes to be implemented? Will organisations understand the new requirements and amendments needed before the changeover date?

The one thing we would hate to see is organisations purchasing Fatigue, Mass and Maintenance manuals, which could be upwards of $1,000.00 per manual, when amendments could be made within current manuals and business structures to align with the new requirements for a fraction of the cost.

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