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What you need to know about NHVAS changes

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The NHVR is today reminding operators that the revised Business Rules and Standards — under the National Heavy Vehicle Accreditation Scheme (NHVAS) — will take effect from this coming Monday, February 22.

Chief Regulatory Standards and Policy Officer Don Hogben said the November 2019 meeting of the Transport Infrastructure Council endorsed changes to the scheme’s Business Rules and Standards to further align with Safety Management System principles and provide clarity for common scheme misinterpretations.

“Through our review of the NHVAS and talking to industry we have been able to identify areas where we can make things better and simpler,” Hogben said.

“NHVAS participants are regularly shown to be safer, with fewer compliance breaches, while also benefiting from the productivity benefits offered by the scheme.”

Hogben said that through these changes, NHVAS will be more closely aligned to Safety Management Systems and help members meet their requirements under Chain of Responsibility laws.

“New scheme participants will need to comply with the revised rules and standards when lodging their application, while existing participants will be allowed up to one accreditation cycle to implement the revised rules and standards,” he added.

“The time allowed for existing participants to transition means that there is no need for any operator to feel panicked into making changes.

“By reviewing your system and completing any required updates, operators are adding an additional level of confidence in addressing some of their primary safety duties, helping make our roads safer for everyone.”

Among the changes, the duplication between the Advanced Fatigue Management and Basic Fatigue Management modules has been reduced to allow both to operate under a single set of seven standards.

Other safety-related improvements include a requirement to notify the NHVR of any significant or major safety incident involving a NHVAS-nominated vehicle or driver operating under a fatigue module, a requirement to keep a register for infringement and defective vehicle notices related to the scheme, and revised requirements for loading and weighing.

Morgan O’Rance, industry compliance expert from Serene Workplace Safety, told us that some changes are quite simple and inexpensive such 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 berth, as well as having an ADR 42 compliant sleeper,” he said.

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

While he welcomes the changes, O’Rance he did wonder why it had taken the 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 each when amendments could be made within current manuals and business structures to align with the new requirements for a fraction of the cost.”

The revised Business Rules and Standards, including fact sheets and videos to help NHVAS auditors and operators transition to the new requirements, are now available on the NHVR website.

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